United Van Lines was founded as Return Loads Service, Inc. in 1928, in Cleveland Ohio. Its original business focused on return cargo shipments for other independent moving companies that were transporting goods between cities. As other moving companies providing the same services appeared across the nation, the Cleveland-based company adopted “United Van Service” as their new name.
When it comes to accidents involving United Van Lines trucks, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is committed to providing the most effective representation for people injured in these accidents. Our law firm is experienced in handling truck crash cases and is ready to help you. Contact our office for a free review of your claim and legal options.
The Birth of a National Moving Company
The company struggled through the Great Depression and by 1933, dissolved United Van Service. Soon afterward, the original owners incorporated a new entity called United Van Lines and moved their headquarters in 1941 to St. Louis, Missouri. Today, the company holds the leading moving van lines market share and generates billions in revenue every year.
As of February 2014, United Van Lines controls 3243 moving trucks and 5539 drivers. The company's primary business is focused on transporting domestic household goods and commercial/office products across northern America.
High Accident Rates Involving United Van Lines Trucks
Unfortunately, due to the excessive number of miles traveled each year by its thousands of trucks, many drivers working for the company have been involved in a United Van Lines truck accident. Within the last 24 months, the company and drivers have been involved in 116 collisions with victims suffering 26 injuries, and a single fatality.
As a way to maximize safety on the nation's highways, the U.S. DOT through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) performs routine inspections on vehicles and drivers. Out of the total number of trucks in the United Van Lines' fleet, 430 out of the over 3200 have been removed from service after inspection. Also, 219 of the more than 5500 drivers have also been removed from driving the nation's roads.
These numbers represent lower than national averages. In fact, the 430 vehicles removed from service represent 13.3 percent of the total fleet, compared the national average of 20.72 percent. Also, only 4.0 percent of all of their drivers (219 out of 5539) no longer operate United Van Lines trucks, compared to 5.51 percent of the national average of truckers taken off the roadway during the same period.
Severe Accident Causes Associated With United Van Lines Collisions
While United Van Lines is recognized for their safe driving and well-maintained vehicle fleet, accidents still occur. The company's moving van drivers are often subjected to demanding delivery constraints, where pickup and deliveries are held to a tight schedule. These constraints often result in extended workdays, causing many drivers and crews to work long hours loading/unloading cargo and driving within the regulated “hours of service.” Truckers easily become stressed, tired and fatigued, leading to catastrophic accidents with severe injuries and fatalities. Other causes of severe accidents include:
- Distracted Driving – Moving van truckers can easily become distracted driving the long heavy rigs on side roads, roadways, and highways. Distractions can come from passengers in the cab, texting, talking on the phone or eating behind the wheel.
- Improperly Loaded Cargo – It is essential to load the truck correctly to avoid shifting cargo during the transport and position heavier items evenly across the entire load. Shifting loads can make it more difficult to stop a heavy truck on downhill slopes, or handle safe maneuvering on winding roads or when changing lanes.
- Improper Driving Habits – Truckers who fail to obey traffic rules, perform erratic lane changes, turn without signaling, or pass inappropriately can cause serious accidents.
- Driving Too Fast – Speeding in a truck weighing tens of thousands of pounds can make it nearly impossible to stop in time when necessary. Also, excessive speed makes the vehicle unmanageable, where the trucker can quickly lose control.
Legal Remedies Available to People Injured in Accidents With United Van Lines Vehicles
Commercial moving company accidents are often the result of hidden violations or inadequate training where the motor carrier neglected to follow safety rules. As a result, delayed maintenance, defective parts, improper repair, negligent driving and inadequate supervision can cause accidents involving injuries and fatalities. Often, victims will hire a United Van Lines truck accident attorney to handle a claim for financial recompense.
Sample Settlements and Verdicts
$10,900,000 ILLINOIS SETTLEMENT.
This tragic tale took place just north of Chicago. It was on a tollway in north suburban town. A state trooper was recently assigned to road duties. Before that, he was working as a pilot for the police. One dark night he pulled over to the side of the road. Just at that time, a trucker for United Van Lines came barreling into him. The crash ignited a bang and then a fire. The incident eventually took the cop's life. He was survived by a young wife. They were recently married and just starting their lives together. She brought a wrongful death suit against the driver and United Van Lines. It stated he was negligent and that caused the victim's death. The suit listed some of his failures. For instance, he was driving too long. Also, he didn't take correct action to avoid the crash. As this happened in the line of work, the woman thought the employer was responsible too. United didn't have a great comeback to this point. The fault in this case was clearly on the trucker and the company. All parties involved quickly worked to settle. The whole suit wrapped about one year after the incident. That's indicative of the blamelessness of the state trooper. Note too, the trucker faced criminal charges for these same events. It's possible for both a civil and criminal case to proceed simultaneously. That's what was happening here.
$4,500,000 MISSOURI SETTLEMENT.
The events of this case arose in Kansas. It was filed and settled in Missouri though. A man was driving to see his son at college. The child went to Kansas State University. As he exited a construction zone, a United Van Lines truck entered it. Except, the trucker came in too hot. He slammed his breaks but that only made matters worse. The truck tilted and fell on the dad's car. He died right away. The trucker had minor wounds. The victim was survived by a wife and kids. They brought a wrongful death action. Since United was based in Missouri, they filed there. The action damages for lost companionship, support, pain, and expenses. The decedent left behind a successful career as an electrician. Also, he left behind a number of responsibilities including child care. The parties settled out of court for the amount listed. The settlement came after mediation. During that process, they conducted a mock trial. These allowed both sides to glimpse what might come of a real jury. Then, they can take steps to avert or speed up the process. Plus, it saves money and time. There was no real issue of contributory negligence here. Thus, the need for trial seemed moot.
$858,000 OHIO AWARD.
This lawsuit emerged after a construction zone crash. These areas are so dangerous because of the limited space. Large trucks don't have lots of room to operate. Little mistakes can produce big harms. That's what happened on this Ohio road. It took place on Route 30. That's located within Ashland County. The victim was sitting in a dump truck. It was nestled just off the road. The construction zone was clearly marked. That day he decided to help his friend. He was sitting there waiting for instructions. Unfortunately, he never got the chance to work that day. A United Van Lines truck slammed into his. He died from injuries sustained in the crash. His estate brought a wrongful death case against the trucking business. It said the business' negligent acts caused his death. They sought compensation for tangible and other harms. The defendants dismissed these contentions. They rebuked any notion of guilt. They wanted their day in court. Things didn't go as planned for them. After trial, a jury awarded the estate $858,000. Nearly all of that amount was for compensatory damages. A little bit of the total was for funeral costs. Some of it was reduced by the amount the defendants had already given. The defendants appealed on technical grounds. That appeal was rejected. The plaintiffs' award stood.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have been highly successful in obtaining significant financial awards and out-of-court settlements on behalf of our clients suffering injuries in a moving truck accident. Our attorneys handle all personal injury cases on contingency, meaning clients filing a claim or lawsuit are only charged attorney fees when our law firm is successful in obtaining monetary compensation for the victim. Contact us at (888) 424-5757 for a free initial consultation.