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A Poorly Maintained Semi Changes a Family Forever: Michael and Jill P.’s Story

Michael was a devoted husband and father. He had chosen to work on South Texas’ oil fields because the job offered a tantalizing opportunity: earning enough money to fund a college education for both his young daughters. Michael never had the opportunity to go to college, and he wanted his daughters to achieve this goal.

After a long shift, Michael was anxious to get home to his family. He left work and immediately started the long, seven-hour drive home, but he never arrived.

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A Tractor-Trailer Breaks Down and Blocks the Highway

That same morning, a frac-sand hauler’s truck broke down on Interstate 35. The tractor-trailer’s brake had suddenly lost pneumatic pressure, causing a serious malfunction that engaged the vehicle’s emergency brake system. The trucker pulled on to the right shoulder, but his semi-truck partially blocked a highway entrance ramp.

About an hour later, Michael approached the broken-down semi. Suddenly, his vehicle swerved, veering across the right lane and the partially obstructed entrance ramp. Michael’s vehicle smashed into the back of the semi-truck, and he likely died on impact.

During their investigation, the police found a CPAP machine (a device that helps treat sleep apnea) and sleep medications in Michael’s vehicle. These discoveries led to suspicions that Michael was sleep-deprived and groggy after a long shift on the oil fields. The authorities initially blamed the wreck on both driver fatigue and the big truck’s location on the road. However, the state troopers later added another factor, blaming Michael for an unsafe lane change.

Crosley Law Helps the Family Find Closure and Peace of Mind

Michael’s family — his wife Jill and the couple’s two daughters — were devastated, and they also immediately needed financial help. The insurance company denied the family’s claims, arguing that Michael caused the wreck.

When Jill contacted Crosley Law, our team listened to her story, gathered the facts, and gave her a clear picture: the case wouldn’t be easy, and we would need to work closely with multiple experts. However, Jill placed her family’s trust in our team, and we immediately went to work.

Our injury lawyers worked with a team of experts, including specialists who focus on accident reconstruction, the mechanics and maintenance of tractor-trailer brakes, and fleet safety. Our detailed and comprehensive investigation convinced us that the big rig’s brake failure had been preventable.

First, our inspection showed that the air-braking system’s gladhands, which are an interlocking hose-coupling system that connects pressurized air from the tractor to the air brakes of the trailer, did not have a tight seal. Second, we discovered that a hex nut near the brake hosing was loose, suggesting that the truck was poorly maintained. Finally, we were convinced that the truck driver had ignored the problem because he didn’t want to work outside on a cold morning.

Some law firms may not have put so much effort in, but our team knew the work was essential to help Jill and her daughters find justice. Tom Crosley notes, “Our firm’s aggressive approach, willingness to hire qualified experts, expertise in trucking litigation, and our relentless pursuit of justice in the civil arena led to a very favorable settlement for Jill and her daughters.”


“Our firm’s aggressive approach, willingness to hire qualified experts, expertise in trucking litigation, and our relentless pursuit of justice in the civil arena led to a very favorable settlement for Jill and her daughters.”


While nothing can replace a husband and father, we were honored to fulfill Michael’s dream. His family’s settlement will help provide funding for the girls’ college educations.

Crosley Law: Fighting for Truck Accident Victims and Their Families

If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in a truck wreck, Crosley Law can listen to your story and help you understand your legal options, all at no cost. Our injury lawyers focus on catastrophic motor vehicle claims and combine aggressive legal tactics with compassionate service. To schedule your free, no-risk consultation, call  210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or complete our quick and easy online contact form.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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