In a passenger vehicle accident, who you can sue is usually straightforward. If the other driver was at fault, you file the claim with his or her insurance company and collect damages. If you can prove negligence, then you can normally sue the driver. When it comes to truckers, on the other hand, it isn’t always as simple. You may be surprised to learn that you might have a case with the company that employed the trucker. Under the following circumstances, you can file a claim against the trucking company.
Failed Maintenance Schedules
If the trucker’s company is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of vehicles and cargo, then it may be the company’s fault that there was an accident at all. For instance, if a company is who helps attach the trailer and the trailer winds up disconnecting or causing an accident, then it is not the trucker’s fault necessarily. The fault may be on the company itself for not enforcing safety regulations. When employed, the company has more control than the trucker him or herself. In some situations, when you are dealing with independent contractor truckers, you do not have a company to sue.
Forced Unsafe Working Conditions
A lot of trucking companies are interested in their bottom line, rather than the safety of their truckers. There are federal regulations in place to keep truckers from being overworked. For instance, truckers can only drive a certain number of hours within a week and there has to be scheduled breaks throughout the drive. The law does its best to regulate truckers and to ensure that drowsy driving and burn out do not happen on the road.
Unfortunately, there are trucking companies that may incentivize breaking the rules. For instance, a company may offer bonuses to truckers who break the hours of service rules. The company may not outright tell the trucker to break the rules, but they may give the trucker a deadline that he or she cannot meet without breaking the rules. If the trucker receives extra compensation or has to risk being fired, then it is the company’s negligence.
When it comes to a trucking accident, it may be difficult to figure out who is at fault. Whether it was the negligence of the company, the trucker or a mixture of both, you have to establish who you’re going to name in your lawsuit. Consult with a truck accident lawyer in Virginia today to find out how to move forward with your case.
Thanks to MartinWren, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and reasons to sue a trucker’s company.