Truckers may work directly for the company they are delivering for, or they may be an independent contractor, simply hauling the goods for the company that owns the cargo. If the driver works directly for the trucking or shipping company, that company may be liable for any negligence that led to the truck accident. To prove this, the victim’s attorney would need to confirm the accident occurred while the driver was driving for that company.
When a truck driver works independently–meaning they own their truck and accept short-term contracts to haul a set amount of cargo from one destination to another–the victim’s attorney would need to investigate how much oversight the contracting company exercised over the driver. This would establish how much responsibility they have for the accident and injuries. Determining which parties share blame in the situation is essential because these entities likely will carry separate insurance policies that could potentially pay out different amounts.
Semi – Trucks Driver Fatigue Contributes to Accidents
The most common act of negligence in truck crashes is when a commercial driver is driving while tired. Driver fatigue causes thousands of unfortunate and senseless accidents each year. Federal trucking laws, known as Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, govern:
The amount of time a driver can be on the road for a single stretch
How much time must be taken off between shifts
How many hours they can log during a specific week
It’s not uncommon for drivers to falsify their driving logs to be able to drive for more time than they should, and many trucking companies imply or expressly request their drivers to falsify records. Sadly, many trucking outfits place unrealistic scheduling demands on their drivers, and sleep deprivation is often the result. Other factors that can result in truck driver fatigue include:
Long stretches of night driving
Irregular schedules with little routine
Unhealthy eating on the go
Loading and unloading cargo in between trips
The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) estimates that fatigue plays a role in excess of 30% of truck crashes. If you have questions or believe that truck driver fatigue may have caused your accident, we can help. Call our big rig accident attorneys today to learn more about your legal options.
Exposure of the Broker or Carrier
A broker is an entity that arranges cargo transportation and movement by a motor carrier such as a semi-truck. The broker brings the truckers and the company attempting to ship goods together. Brokers utilize computer tracking software and data to monitor the movement of goods and the trucks they have brought in to handle the task.
In analyzing the liability of a broker, the tractor-trailer accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA look at:[quads id=5]
Whether the broker did their duty– We check whether the broker has acted in accordance with their commitment to inspect the motor carrier/truck, examined the safety history of the truck, and the drivers with whom they have contracted. We determine if the broker is the fault party.
Whether the broker was in control– We analyze how much control the broker exercised over the truck and the driver by inspecting dispatch records and whether the broker monitored and reviewed trip records or notes. Did the broker approve the receipts and bill of lading changes?
Negligent Maintenance and Hiring Claims
Truck Accident Attorney
Trucking cases are generally complex based on state and federal laws that can conflict with one another. We often retain experts to determine whether the trucking company utilized faulty equipment or was negligent in maintaining the truck itself. Other things we examine include:
Was the tire defective, retread, or unevenly worn?
Were the brakes, axles, hitches, and other parts working and checked routinely?
Was the driver involved in previous auto accidents?
Were the maintenance logs updated and in accordance with both state and federal statutes?
Regarding negligent hiring and retention claims, we examine the driver’s employment history and determine whether the driver was properly trained and experienced in operating a semi-truck or commercial vehicle. There are federal and state provisions concerning the due diligence that the trucking company must apply in examining the driver’s safety history and criminal record. Trucking outfits can face massive liability for failing to adhere to such safety provisions.
What to Do Following a Truck Accident?
The first thing you should do after a truck accident is call 911. If you don’t know what to do, ask someone else who does. Next, make sure everyone is okay. Ask if anyone needs medical care. You can also take photos of any injuries. Finally, contact the police. They will need information from witnesses and will want to speak with you regarding the incident.