The Role of Trucking Companies in Preventing Accidents

Tractor trailers play a vital role in the livelihood of our country. Thousands of commercial trucks travel on routes throughout the country daily, delivering important goods and products needed to sustain our lifestyles.

However, sometimes tragedy strikes, and a commercial vehicle accident occurs on a street or highway. According to the National Safety Council, approximately 155,000 people were injured in nationwide truck accidents in 2021. Perhaps surprisingly, truck accidents are most likely to occur during the daytime hours and in a non-interstate location. In 2021, 64% of truck accidents happened during the day, and nearly 75% occurred off of the interstate.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a truck accident, it is likely that you suffered injuries as a result. Due to their size and weight, commercial trucks are more dangerous than other types of vehicles when a collision occurs. The sheer size and force of the truck make a crash more dangerous for both the trucker and the other motorist.

When a truck accident occurs, the next step is to determine responsibility for the collision. It is important in these cases to decide what role the truck company may have played in the crash.

Vicarious Liability for Trucking Companies

All commercial vehicle accidents will be carefully investigated by a trained police officer. Truck crashes can happen due to a variety of reasons, including:

  • Negligence
  • Careless driving
  • Distraction
  • Drowsy driving
  • Failing to yield the right of way.
  • Inexperienced driving

When a truck driver is individually responsible for an accident, their employer can also be held accountable. Under a legal theory known as respondeat superior, a trucking company is vicariously liable for the negligent actions of its employees. There is generally no limitation on these claims. Even if the trucking company had no reason to believe that a crash could occur, it can be held legally responsible for the full extent of the damages suffered by the victim.

It is generally helpful and mandatory to include trucking companies as defendants in truck accident litigation. After all, the company is usually the one who holds the insurance policy covering the accident at issue. Further, many individual truck drivers may not have sufficient assets to pay an injury claim. The trucking company is normally in a far better position to negotiate and pay for a settlement.

Negligent Hiring

In addition to vicarious liability, there is another basis under which a trucking company may be liable for a crash. By law, companies have a duty to perform some level of due diligence when they hire employees. This duty especially applies to potentially hazardous industries such as trucking.

Commercial trucks weigh in excess of 26,000 pounds, and a crash can lead to catastrophic injuries. It is, therefore, important for companies to closely examine the background of the drivers that they hire. This includes a thorough driving record and criminal history check. Trucking companies should avoid hiring drivers who have a history of careless driving or have otherwise displayed some evidence of irresponsibility.

Sometimes an employer fails to heed obvious warning signals. For instance, the trucking company may hire a driver who has a history of driving under the influence. If the driver then causes a truck crash while impaired, the employer could be legally liable by virtue of a negligent hiring and training claim.

Negligent hiring claims require a thorough investigation into the individual trucker and the hiring practices of their company. It is important to have an experienced national truck accident attorney working for you if you believe that you may have a negligent hiring case against the trucking company.

Failure to Follow Safety Regulations  The Role of Trucking Companies in Preventing Accidents

The trucking industry is regulated by a mix of federal and state laws. Most of the safety standards for truckers are set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA makes rules on the following subjects, among others:

  • Driving hours
  • Drug testing
  • Transportation of  hazardous materials
  • Truck safety inspection standards

A responsible trucking company will adhere closely to all of the FMCSA standards. After all, these laws were made with safety in mind. However, not all trucking companies operate above the board. Sometimes, a company will cut corners in order to save profit. They may not conduct proper testing of a truck driver due to a shortage of available drivers or a need to transport products immediately. When standards are not strictly followed, the chances of a serious accident drastically increase.

Whether you have been injured by a drowsy driver or an impaired driver, or you suspect that mechanical fault may have led to your crash, you should speak with an attorney who can help. At Burg Simpson, our nationwide truck accident lawyers will look into the actions of the trucking company to see if all federal and state safety regulations were followed in the days and weeks leading up to your crash. Contact us for help with your poor truck maintenance claim. 

National Truck Accident Attorneys

If you have been affected by a truck accident in the United States, you may feel overwhelmed and confused about where to turn next. Truck accidents can leave victims with serious, permanent, and even fatal injuries. The crash results in high medical costs that result in financial hardship. To make matters worse, you may be unable to work at your normal job while you are in recovery. This means a loss of income for yourself and your family.

Although this is certainly a stressful time, there is help available. Under the truck accident laws of all states, a negligent truck driver and a truck company can be held accountable for their actions. However, a trucking company’s first instinct is often to deny liability and fight the claim as vigorously as possible. In this scenario, it is essential to hire a skilled truck accident lawyer so that you can fully recover your damages.

At Burg Simpson, we represent victims of nationwide trucking accidents. Our firm always provides free consultations for all potential clients. To speak with a national truck accident lawyer, please reach out to us using our online contact form or give us a call at (888) 895-2080.

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