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Andrea Tschannerl headed out to the gym nearly every day at 4:00 a.m. On the morning of January 6, 2017, while driving on US-1, a truck without the required retro-reflective tape and lamps, carrying an oversized load of logs, pulled in front of her and she could not see it. The load of logs crashed through Tschannerl’s windshield and sent the logs slamming into her face, her chest, and ripped off the roof of her Hyundai Elantra. Tschannerl was catastrophically injured. To make matters worse, she was cited for careless driving and the truck company’s insurance denied any responsibility for the crash.
Investigation Finds A History of Safety Violations
After an investigation by attorneys at Coker Law, it was discovered that it wasn’t until after the crash that the trucking company installed retro-reflective tape and rear lamps on the trailer. Coker Law investigators also uncovered a long history of violations showing poor maintenance and upkeep of their trailers. Tschannerl’s case settled for approximately $1,000,000.00.
Coker Law trucking attorney Stefano D. Portigliatti believes a few affordable safety features would have helped make the truck’s load visible to Tschannerl. “There are products from simple reflective tape to higher-tech detection systems that can truly save lives and, in many cases, save the trucking company money,” insists Portigliatti. “Unfortunately, because some are not required by law, the trucking companies and drivers don’t invest in them.”
Retro-Reflective Tape takes just a few minutes to apply and costs about $78.00 a roll. Retro-reflective tape reflects headlights and can help drivers see the outline of a truck and the length of a load more efficiently than regular reflective tape. A report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), says that reflective tape can effectively reduce impacts into trailers by 29%.
Portigliatti says, for less than approximately $5,000, trucks fitted with this life saving equipment can make our roads safer and provide fuel efficiency, which is a positive for the companies and the environment. “It’s very disappointing to see trucking companies put in safety features after an incident,” said Portigliatti. “They risk lives by not taking these proactive, simple steps.” According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, up to 63,000 truck-related crashes and serious traffic accidents can be prevented each year by equipping large trucks with advanced safety technologies.
IF YOU’RE INVOLVED IN A CRASH, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Coker Law cautions drivers to be careful and, if you are injured by a negligent driver, speak with an experienced accident attorney. You may qualify to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other expenses related to your injuries. To speak with Coker Law trucking attorney Stefano D. Portigliatti, or for more information, call (904) 356-6071 or click here to schedule a free consultation.
Case Title: Tschannerl v. H. Jones Timber LLC
Attorneys/staff involved in case: Stefano D. Portigliatti, Christiana Bachman
Date of Settlement: March 16, 2018
Amount of Settlement: $1,000,000.00