Holding Trucking Companies Accountable
When a professional truck driver is involved in an auto accident, liability becomes a challenge to assign. The driver may be an employee or an independent subcontractor. If the driver is an employee, is he using his vehicle or a company vehicle? Is the driver acting within the scope of his employment or not? Was the action intentional, negligent, unavoidable or the proverbial “act of God”?
Liability — Who’s on First?
The simplest cases involve a company truck operated by an employee. For example, when a driver fails to take rest breaks, as required by law and causes an accident due to drowsy driving, he or she is certainly at fault. The employer is required to oversee their drivers’ actions, to train them and have a plan to ensure compliance with regulations. The company didn’t, therefore, the company is also at fault. The driver’s personal assets and the employer’s corporate assets are at stake to pay any claims.
It can be far more complex. When a driver arrives at a warehouse, somebody has to load the truck, typically, that’ll be the warehouse employees. If it’s done wrong and the truck tips over on a curve or windy day, the warehouse can be held liable for faulty work and the trucking company can be liable for failing to be sure their load is safe.
Now, add more layers: The driver is an independent and owns the tractor, Company 1 owns the trailer, Company 2 contracted the job, Company 3 services the tractor, Company 4 services the trailer, and, of course, Company 5 loaded the goods being hauled.
Identifying and assigning liability could be as confusing as the old Abbott and Costello routine, “Who’s on first. What’s on second. I-Don’t-Know’s on third.” Watching old comedy gags is a great way to relieve stress, but no way to get you the compensation you need when you’ve been hurt or suffered property damage in an accident.
We’re Here If You Need Us
Regardless of how many companies are involved, every one of them will have legal representation watching out for their interests. You need representation as well — someone who knows the details of liability law, federal regulations and state law.
The Morgan Law Firm specializes in trucking-related accidents. We hope you never need us, but, if you do, we’ll help you navigate the complexities of legal traps surrounding your accident. With six offices in and around Idaho and Utah, we are in your corner.