Accidents involving trucks tend to get somewhat complicated, especially when determining fault – particularly when the trucker involved is classified as an independent contractor.
Usually, trucking companies are responsible for the actions of drivers who are employees. However, there are instances where the trucking company can still be liable even if the driver was an independent contractor, as discussed below.
The driver may be an independent contractor who should be answerable for their actions. However, the trucking company could be responsible if it was negligent when hiring them. Trucking companies must conduct background checks on potential drivers and ensure they have no prior safety violation records such as drunk driving or drug abuse.
Lack of maintenance
By law, trucking companies should ensure regular maintenance of the trucks. If they fail to routinely inspect and maintain a truck in their fleet which ends up causing an accident, they could be held responsible for the damages sustained.
Violation of the hours of service
Truck drivers are supposed to operate for a maximum number of hours before taking a break. However, if a trucking company has policies that do not allow drivers to take deserving breaks, or if it pushes its drivers to the limits, it could share in the responsibility of a crash caused by a fatigued driver.
Pursuing a claim against the trucking company
In most cases, trucking companies have deep pockets and a lot of legal resources – but you deserve adequate compensation for the injuries you suffered from a trucking accident. However, it will only come your way if your case is handled with the knowledge and expertise needed when navigating such claims.