In almost every case, yes, you can file a lawsuit against a trucking company. Depending on the circumstances of your truck accident, we can go after the trucking company in the following ways:
Liability for Driver Error
Trucking companies are almost always responsible for accidents their drivers cause. This is due to a legal concept known as vicarious liability. This law stipulates that companies are responsible for their driver’s actions when the driver is acting within the scope of his employment.
However, many trucking companies hire their drivers as independent contractors, which absolves them of any responsibility if the driver causes an accident. For this reason, you can expect the trucking company to claim that the driver was not an employee. We can gather evidence to show that the driver was an employee, making the trucking company liable for any accident costs.
Liability for Hours of Service Violations
Truck drivers are subject to strict laws governing how many hours per day they can drive. They are also subject to strict laws governing how many hours they must rest between driving intervals.
Unfortunately, countless truck drivers operate their rigs on too little sleep and cause catastrophic accidents. When this occurs, a trucking company can be directly or vicariously liable for an hours of service violation.
Because the company is vicariously liable for any actions its employees take, it can be responsible for any accidents a driver causes after deciding to drive fatigued.
However, a trucking company can also be directly liable if it encouraged or forced its drivers to operate their rigs beyond the legal limit.
We can subpoena the driver's log book and examine it for incomplete or inconsistent information, or evidence that the driver exceeded his maximum driving hours.
When S. Burke Law takes up your case, one of the first things we investigate is the background, specifically the driving history, of the driver who caused the accident. Did the driver have a history of accidents, reckless driving, or DUIs? Did the driver pose a danger behind the wheel?
If so, we can demonstrate that the trucking company exhibited negligence by hiring the driver in the first place. Moreover, some trucking companies rely on their insurance companies to screen potential drivers. If the insurance company reports back that the driver is insurable, the trucking company conducts no further research and considers the applicant eligible to drive. In such situations, we may be able to hold both the trucking company and the insurer liable.
Trucking companies can also be directly negligent for failing to fire a driver who caused too many accidents, failed a drug or alcohol test, or received citations for reckless driving.
If we discover that mechanical failure or a faulty truck component caused or contributed to the accident, we take a close look at the trucking company's maintenance records. By law, trucking companies must keep detailed logs of all maintenance — including the nature of work done and the due date to have the truck serviced again.
If the company's maintenance logs are incomplete or they show that the truck has not received service as it should, we have a strong case for negligence.
Improperly Loaded Cargo
The trucking company might also be liable for an accident that results from improperly loaded freight. For instance, a semi-truck is hauling new cars from the manufacturer to the dealership, and one of the vehicles the company’s cargo loaders did not properly secure slides from its carriage and causes an accident on the interstate.
Involved in an Accident with a Semi-Truck? Call S. Burke Law Today
When it comes to recovering damages, trucking companies usually have more financial resources than individual drivers. This is a good thing for you, as the company is in a much better position to actually pay you the damages awarded in a lawsuit or the settlement.
However, this also means you will likely be fighting both an insurance company and a legal team. This is where Sheryl Burke comes in. With experience as both an insurance adjuster and personal injury attorney, she knows how to tackle these cases and hold trucking companies liable for the injuries you suffered.
To set up a free consultation with the S. Burke Law team, call us today at 404-842-7838.