When it comes to motor vehicle accidents and the issue of negligence, we generally think that it is the driver of the vehicle that is responsible whenever there is a crash. And for many car accidents, that may indeed be the case.
But when it comes to trucking accidents—crashes involving 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, or other big, commercial vehicles—things are never quite so simple.
While the truck driver can be at fault for an accident certainly, sometimes it’s not just the truck driver who failed to comply with his duty of care. Oftentimes trucking companies are responsible as well...
The Trucking Industry is Highly Regulated.
Trucking companies can be responsible for a crash when they fail to have safety procedures, ignore the procedures they do have or don’t enforce them. The trucking industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the United States.
Commercial trucks and truckers must abide by federal law (the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (“FMCSRs”), as well as state traffic laws. The federal regulations govern all aspects of the trucking industry. For example, among other things, the FMCSRs govern:
- Truck driver licensing requirements
- Required documentation
- Driver’s work hour limitations
- Weight, size and route limitations, and
- Trucking insurance minimums.
But not all companies abide by the rules set by the federal government.
Some of the ways in which trucking companies can contribute to an accident include doing things like:
- Not Hiring Qualified Truckers. –The federal law sets out specific requirements regarding the qualifications a truck driver must have and detailed procedures that trucking companies must follow to verify that its drivers are fit and qualified to drive. However, many trucking companies skip doing the required background checking on employees or potential employees. Result: drivers who may have a history of reckless driving or a medical condition that could prevent them from safely operating a truck get hired and are on the road.
- Proper Maintenance of Vehicles. – Another area where trucking companies can be negligent is in the failure to properly maintain their fleet. Motor carriers are responsible for inspecting their vehicles and making all necessary repairs. They are also responsible for responding to any safety recalls. When trucking companies skip inspections, don’t make required repairs, and don’t follow-up with recalls, they can be held liable for accidents that arise from these failures.
- Setting Impossible Delivery Schedules. -Truck driver fatigue is a prevalent and serious situation that imperils the lives of everyone on the road. It is no secret that many sleep-deprived truck drivers take drugs to stay awake. Although one cause of a truck wreck may the driver’s sleepiness, trucking companies that incentivize drivers to take risks or that set impossible delivery schedules thereby compelling truckers to push through without sleep can be held liable when a fatigue-impaired accident results.
The litigation that often follows a trucking accident is complex and requires a thorough understanding of the industry and the laws that govern it.
Get the Advocacy You Need. Call us ToDay.
At the Day Law Group, we are experienced truck accident attorneys. We work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured in a trucking accident, call us. We offer free consultations, and in most cases, we don’t get paid unless you win. Contact us ToDay or call (225) 465-1232.