Trucking Company Liability

Dedicated Truck Accident Attorneys Serving Cleveland and Surrounding Areas

Truck accident lawsuits are often more complex and more dangerous than lawsuits arising from car accidents. Commercial trucks may include something as small as a pick up or a box truck and vehicles as large as semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, semi-trailers, or tractor-trailers. They are much heavier and larger than passenger cars, and when there is a crash between a semi and a car, the people in the smaller vehicle may suffer catastrophic injuries or even deaths. Our Cleveland truck accident lawyers vigorously advocate for victims and their families, aiming to establish truck driver and trucking company liability.

When a truck driver causes a crash, there are many documents and other pieces of evidence, such as accident scene and vehicle photos as well as the truck's black box, that must be obtained and reviewed in order to prove the truck driver’s liability. A truck driver may be liable under many different circumstances, such as if they were speeding, failed to properly control their truck due to fatigue, resulting in a jackknifing situation were drunk driving, or took a wide turn improperly. But then establishing her trucking company employer’s liability often requires a whole different investigation in which time is of the essence, which is why you should retain the experienced truck accident lawyers at Rubin Guttman & Associates to handle this matter on your behalf.

Establishing Trucking Company Liability

After a truck accident, a comprehensive investigation can uncover facts to determine which parties are responsible for the accident. In some cases, gross negligence is uncovered which may even make it possible to demand and receive punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. Often it is necessary to hire investigators and an accident reconstruction expert to visit the accident scene and examine the truck and other evidence to determine the causes of the accident. Computer simulations and video reconstructions of what happened are often created to prove your case.

While most people realize that they may be able to hold a truck driver liable for causing a truck accident, they don’t realize that the trucking company may also be liable for an accident caused by their employee. A trucking company can be an important source of recovery. A truck driver's individual insurance policy may not have enough coverage to address the losses of multiple victims and very serious injuries. A trucking company is likely to have more insurance coverage to provide compensation for catastrophic injuries and deaths caused by their driver’s negligence.

Recordkeeping

Interstate trucking companies need to maintain records under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. The FMCSA regulations require trucking companies to keep logbooks that reflect a driver's compliance with maximum driving time and break restrictions and records that document that a driver had a legitimate commercial driving license at the time of the accident. The employer also must maintain drug and alcohol testing records and personnel files. Violations of the FMCSA regulations may include requiring or even just allowing drivers to drive more than the FMCSA hours of service rules mandate, overloading trucks, or failing to conduct background checks and drug and alcohol testing.

The regulations require trucking companies to inspect, maintain, and repair their trucks so that they are safe to operate on the road. Trucking companies need to maintain safety inspection records and records of the repairs that are performed on the trucks in their fleet.

Indirect or Vicarious Liability

Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, a trucking company can be held liable for an employee's negligent actions while in the course and scope of employment. To be within the course and scope of employment, an employee's actions must be within what the employer authorizes. There are several factors that go into this evaluation, such as the time, place, and purpose of the trip, whether the trip was for the employer’s business or the employee’s outside or personal activity, and the extent to which the driver departed from the employer’s policies or instructions.

A trucking company may also be held directly liable for its own negligence. For example, when a trucking company knows or reasonably should have known about its employee's negligently fails to supervise its employee driver, it may be held liable under a theory of negligent supervision. A deviation from the FMCSA regulations may be strong evidence of negligence by an interstate trucking company. For example, if a trucking company failed to perform alcohol and drug testing, review logbooks and inspection reports, train a driver as needed, or discipline a driver for perpetrating safety violations, it may be held liable.

Contact a Knowledgeable Trucking Injury Lawyer in Cleveland

Truck accidents can be devastating. At Rubin Guttman & Associates, our experienced Cleveland attorneys can investigate whether there may be trucking company liability for an override accident or another type of truck crash and hold the company responsible for your injuries. Call us at (216) 696-4006 or (888) 488-8529, or contact us online to arrange a free initial consultation today. We will arrange a time and place to meet that is convenient for you. Russian, Hebrew, and Spanish language services are available by appointment. We represent victims in cities such as Cleveland, Parma, Lakewood, Euclid, Cleveland Heights, Strongsville, Akron, Columbus, Chardon, Toledo, Youngstown, Ravenna, Lorain, Mentor, Beachwood, and Elyria.

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