Zach Elsner, Sandra Hagen, and Brian Caplan received an arbitration award for our client of $1,960,226.00 against U-Haul for renting a trailer that far exceeded the towing capacity for the client’s vehicle. It was U-Haul’s general practice to ignore any vehicle manufacturer’s towing capacity. In this case, the vehicle’s towing capacity was only 1,500 pounds, and U-Haul approved and rented our client a trailer weighing 1,800 pounds empty. Then U-Haul made her sign a contract informing her not to put more than 2,480 pounds inside the trailer for a total trailer weight of 4,280 pounds, nearly three times her vehicle’s towing capacity.
After loading up her trailer, our client drove only a few miles before the trailer began swinging wildly and causing her to lose control and roll over. She suffering a traumatic brain injury and serious injuries to her neck and back requiring surgery, injections, and radiofrequency ablations.
U-Haul’s defense in this case was that they had done their own research and testing, and determined that vehicle manufacturers do not set their towing capacities on ability to safely tow, but rather on considerations of durability (excessive wear and tear on the vehicle) and marketing (by setting towing capacities low, they can then encourage buyers to purchase their more expensive SUVs with a higher towing capacity). U-Haul was very sloppy in their paperwork throughout the rental transaction and they conveniently lost documents that purportedly supported their case. It was a very long and complex case, but in the end justice prevailed. If you have been in an accident involving a U-Haul trailer, you should consult with our attorneys who have first-hand experience fighting for justice against U-Haul.