Estes Express Lines is a trucking company based in Richmond, Virginia. Estes Express is one of the largest privately owned trucking transportation carrier in the U.S. today. Like many of today’s large commercial trucking companies, Estes Express Lines started from the humblest beginnings, with one man and a truck. At the start of the Great Depression in the 1930s, a man in rural Virginia named W.W. Estes bought a used Chevy truck and starting transporting livestock for local farmers. In 1937 he opened an office, hired 2 drivers and official named the business Estes Express Lines.
Today Estes Express Lines has over 18,000 employees and a large fleet of 7,000 tractors and 29,000 trailers. The company is still owned and controlled by the Estes family and the grandson of W.W. Estes (Rob Estes) is the current CEO.
Estes Express is a less than truckload (LTL) carrier. In the trucking industry, LTL carriers like Estes occupy a middle ground between full truckload carriers on one end and parcel carriers on the other. Full truckload (FTL) carriers only transport entire trailers or shipping containers. At the opposite end of the spectrum are parcel companies (like UPS) who ship smaller individual parcels. LTL carriers like Estes transport cargo that is bigger than parcel size but less than a full trailer or container.Estes Express Truck Accidents
LTL carriers tend to make shorter trips with more stops so they get involved in more accidents compared to FTL carriers, but less than parcel carriers like UPS. Estes Express drivers average about 500,000,000 miles traveled each year. With this type of mileage accidents are going to happen on a regular basis.
According to FMSCA data, Between May 2018 and May 2020, Estes Express Lines trucks were involved in a total of 517 reported accidents. That is a rate of approximately 1 Estes truck accident per 994,000 miles traveled. 30% of these accidents (159) resulted in some type of serious injury and 2% (15) resulted in one or more fatalities.
Employer review data on indeed.com, indicates that Estes Express is at the higher end of the pay scale for commercial truck drivers. Drivers for Estes are paid above the national average and 75% report being satisfied with their compensation level, a very high score for the trucking industry. However, Estes drivers appear to be under a lot of pressure to meet performance deadlines and have a very negative view toward management.
Estes Express primarily uses company drivers, which means that their truck drivers are actual employees of the company as opposed to independent contractors. When the driver is a company employee, it means that the trucking company has direct liability for their accidents.
Accident cases against big trucking companies, like Estes Express, have a higher average settlement value than normal auto accident cases. There are several reasons for this. First, Estes Express trucks are bigger and much heavier than a typical vehicle. As a result, Estes trucks tend to cause a lot more damage when they hit things on the road. This means that claims adjusters for Estes are more accustomed to dealing in large dollar amounts when they resolve claims.
Another reason that Estes Express truck accident cases have a higher settlement value is that big trucking companies, like Estes, do not get the advantage of jury sympathy. The identity of the defendant is not supposed to impact the value of a case, but in reality who the defendant is makes a big difference on how much juries are willing to award in damages.
When the defendant in an auto accident case is an individual person, jurors tend to have a lot of sympathy and concern for them. This sympathy makes juries reluctant to award big dollar verdicts. However, when the defendant is a big trucking company with deep pockets, juries have little or no sympathy and are far more willing to award more damages to the plaintiff. The end result is that trial verdicts against Estes and other big trucking companies tend to be much higher, which forces them into higher settlement offers.
If you have claim against Estes Express Lines, hiring a good truck accident lawyer is very important. Personal injury lawsuits against big trucking companies like Estes are a lot different than a regular auto tort case. Big truck cases are more complex to litigate and settle compared to normal car accident cases. For starters, big trucks are subject to a complex web of federal and state regulations. Many personal injury attorneys may be entirely unfamiliar with these laws and regulations.
Another major distinction with big rig cases is the complexity of discoverable information that can be used if liability is disputed. Most Estes Express trucks have “black box” systems that can provide key information about the accident. Driver employment histories or safety and compliance records can also be used to establish fault. These can be very valuable weapons for a plaintiff in litigation, but only if your attorney knows how to get them in discovery and how to effectively use them.
Miller & Zois has a track record of success in big truck accident cases. We have recovered millions on behalf of clients in truck accident cases. If you have a potential case against Estes Express Lines call us today for a free consultation.