If you are in a road accident with a commercial truck, you should be aware of the issues that may arise when you try to get compensation for your injuries. Insurance rules, regulatory requirements and liability standards are unique for commercial truck drivers. Below are matters to consider in the event of litigation with a trucker or a trucking company.
Commercial truck drivers must comply with federal and state highway safety rules. When an injury resulting from an accident is proximately caused by a failure to adhere to these regulations, it is considered “negligence per se.” Negligence per se refers to conduct that is considered negligent on the basis of violating a statute or regulation. For this reason, the facts of the accident must be investigated in light of whether the applicable regulations were followed. These standards are set forth under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the National Highway Safety Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Interstate Commerce Commission. The regulations pertain to various standards for driver conduct and qualifications, such as licensing, drug and alcohol tests, and insurance and equipment maintenance.
Third Party Liability
Third party liability is a complex topic. Issues of liability depend on the conduct of the driver and the relationship between the truck owner and truck driver. For drivers who are deemed unqualified or not adequately trained, the owner of the trucking company could be help liable for the truck driver’s conduct thorough the theory of negligent entrustment. In other cases where the driver’s competency is not in question, federal law provides that a carrier whose name and license number is displayed on the commercial truck is vicariously liable for injuries that result from an accident. The carrier is regarded as being in sole control of the truck.
A carrier may designate an employee as an independent contractor to attempt to avoid vicarious liability for injuries, but this designation can be disputed with evidence that the trucker operated as an employee rather than an independent contractor. This is an evolving area of the law; certain actions are regarded as outside the scope of employment, such as criminal activity, which would mean that the employer is not liable for the trucker’s actions.
Commercial vehicles have specific insurance requirements. Trucks with a gross weight exceeding 10,000 pounds are obligated to carry at least $750,000 in insurance coverage. Most trucking companies have standard policies, but the specific limitations should be reviewed as they significantly affect the terms of coverage.
If you or a member of your family was injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, contact Alexander Law Group, LLC. Our exceptional personal injury lawyers will be sure you get the maximum compensation possible. Call 888.777.1776, or contact us online.