If you were injured in a truck accident, the truck driver’s negligence may not have been the only cause. You may have a separate claim against the trucking company for its own negligent actions that caused or contributed to your crash. This is important because it is another way that you can hold the trucking company responsible for compensating you for your injuries and can lead to a higher settlement.
Common Claims Against Trucking Companies
In Virginia, a trucking company may have vicarious liability for the actions of its truck driver if he was operating in the course of his employment—often the case when a truck accident occurs. In addition, trucking companies engage in their own negligent practices, some which involve violations of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules, which cause or contribute to a truck accident. Possible claims include:
- Negligent hiring. You may have a negligent hiring claim against the company if it failed to use reasonable care in ensuring that the driver was qualified to drive a truck. The FMCSA has many requirements that must be met, such as running a criminal background check, checking the individual’s employment history, conducting a pre-employment drug test, and much more, before he can be hired.
- Negligent maintenance. Under FMCSA regulations, trucking companies have a duty to inspect, maintain, and repair their fleet of trucks and are not permitted to use a truck that is likely to break down or cause an accident. Unfortunately, this duty is commonly violated when the focus is on profits instead of safety. Tire blowouts, brake failures, and other maintenance issues can lead to many catastrophic wrecks.
- Violation of hours of service regulations. FMCSA rules limit the number of hours a truck driver can drive without taking a break and require a written log to be completed during a trip to ensure compliance with these rest break requirements. The purpose of these rules is to avoid tragic collisions caused by fatigued truck drivers. Trucking companies often pressure truckers to violate these rules and may fail to review trucker log books or may alter them to make it appear that these hours of service rules were complied with.
An experienced truck accident attorney can help determine if you have a separate claim of negligence against the trucking company and negotiate your settlement with their insurance company. To learn about our decades of experience dealing with these cases and to learn about the legal options for compensation for your injuries, call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation today.