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Is a Trucking Company Responsible for Damages in an Accident?

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Accidents involving large commercial trucks often result in catastrophic injuries and complicate litigation. Because of the size of these massive vehicles, accident victims are likely to incur significant medical bills while missing a substantial amount of time at work. Additionally, because of the relationship between the driver and their trucking company, there are usually multiple liable parties. In many truck accident cases, it is possible to hold the trucking company liable for your injuries.

Our experienced Fort Smith, AR truck accident lawyers understand the challenges facing truck accident victims. From the federal and state laws that govern the industry to the complicated business arrangements between the drivers and trucking companies, there are many difficulties and hurdles in the way of receiving the compensation you deserve. You need a law firm that will aggressively represent your interests.

Severe injuries result in costly medical care, hospitalization, and physical therapy. By holding a trucking company liable, you could help ensure that the compensation you receive is sufficient to cover your damages. Contact our GKD Law at (479) 316-0438 to schedule a free legal consultation.

Factors That Contribute to a Trucking Company’s Liability for an Accident

Accidents involving large commercial trucks are complicated affairs. It is often challenging determining liability. While, in many cases, operator error is the primary cause of an accident, a trucking company could still be held responsible. Through a thorough investigation, our Arkansas truck accident attorneys will work to establish what party or parties were to blame.

Many different factors will be evaluated to determine liability. Some of these will focus on the truck driver, while others will be used to build a case against the trucking company. In many situations, the same set of circumstances could be used to hold both the driver and the trucking company accountable.

For example, federal regulations limit the hours a truck driver is permitted to operate their vehicle. If the trucking company imposes policies or deadlines that are impossible to meet without neglecting these restrictions, it could be held liable.

Our Bella Vista truck accident lawyers will have to thoroughly investigate a truck accident, including examining the crash scene, questioning witnesses, and reviewing driving logs and maintenance records. While a driver’s conduct could play a critical role in an accident, if they were not adequately trained or their vehicle was in a state of disrepair, the trucking company could also be held responsible.

Holding Trucking Companies Liable

Depending on the circumstances, there are numerous ways to hold a trucking company liable for the damages and injuries resulting from a truck accident.

Vicarious Liability

In many cases, it is possible to hold employers liable for accidents and injuries caused by their employees. Therefore, if the available evidence shows that a truck driver was at fault in an accident, any injured parties could file a personal injury claim against the company.

Negligent Business Practices

While a truck company could be held accountable for damages if their employee caused an accident, certain business practices could open up the company to liability despite the driver’s conduct.

Federal and state laws regulate how and when a trucking company is required to maintain its vehicles. If a truck malfunctions, there might be nothing a driver can do to avoid an accident. When a commercial truck experiences a steering problem or brake failure, the trucking company could be held liable if it failed to inspect and repair the vehicle.

In addition to maintaining its fleet of trucks, a trucking company has a legal responsibility to ensure that the drivers hired are trained to perform their job. If a trucking company hires a driver with a record of accidents or fails to train a novice driver, an injured truck accident victim could file a lawsuit against the company.

One of the primary causes of truck accidents is driver fatigue. Sometimes, a driver will push themselves without the knowledge of the trucking company. However, when a trucking company permits or promotes driving beyond the federal and state restrictions, it could be held accountable for any damages. One way in which a trucking company allows this behavior to continue is by falsifying driving logs.

The Independent Contractor Defense

To avoid liability based on their driver’s conduct, many trucking companies have labeled truck drivers “independent contractors” instead of employees. This practice provides a defense against the vicarious liability theory. The trucking company will allege that the driver is the sole proprietor of their independent trucking company is only contracting to haul goods. The trucking company is merely the middleman in the transaction.

Under the law, this type of business relationship is permitted. In addition to the protection it affords the trucking company, there are usually tax benefits for both parties. However, the independent contractor defense is not absolute. There are often ways to demonstrate that the trucking company should be held liable despite the employment relationship.

For example, if a trucking company was aware that the contracting driver had a poor driving history, it could still be held accountable. While the independent contractor must maintain their truck, the trucking company could still be responsible for the trailer and the loading of the cargo. Our Benton County truck accident lawyers will carefully investigate your accident, especially if the truck driver was an independent contractor.

You Should Not Hesitate Taking Legal Action if You Were Injured in a Truck Accident

Truck accident cases are complicated and challenging. If you want to prevail in a personal injury claim, especially if you want to hold the trucking company liable, you should not delay contacting our experienced Arkansas truck accident attorneys.

Holding a trucking company accountable through a civil lawsuit requires evidence. In many cases, the necessary evidence is in possession of the trucking company, such as maintenance and driving logs. It is crucial to file discovery motions to compel the trucking company to turn over the evidence before it is misplaced or destroyed.

Some of the evidence our office will demand include data from the truck’s onboard computer, the driver’s service log, dashcam video, maintenance logs, the driver’s employee file, and permission to examine the damage to the truck and trailer.

The chances of success in any personal injury case increase if you act quickly. This is especially true when you are involved in a complex truck accident claim.

Contact Our Experienced Truck Accident Attorneys for a Free Consultation

You should not be liable for the medical costs and other damages if you were hurt in an accident caused by a truck driver. To help ensure your compensation covers your costs, it is often necessary to hold the trucking company liable. Our Bentonville truck accident lawyers have the experience and resources to fight for your rights. Call our law offices at (479) 316-0438 to discuss your legal rights and options.

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