In many cases, it is not the truck driver alone who should be held responsible for a truck accident. The trucking company that owns the truck and employs the driver and others in its operations may be at fault and held liable as well.
The truck accident lawyers of Techmeier Law Firm will thoroughly investigate your case if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a crash caused by the driver of a tractor-trailer or other commercial motor vehicle (CMV). If the company that put the truck on the road shares responsibility, we can help you to pursue the compensation you deserve.
To learn more, contact us today by calling us or submitting our online form. Our firm serves truck accident victims and their families throughout Milwaukee and Wisconsin.
Holding Trucking Companies Liable for the Negligence of Employees
A trucking company can be held liable based on the negligent acts of its employees if those acts were committed within the course and scope of their employment. This is also called vicarious liability or respondeat superior liability.
Liability is based on the concept that an employer such as a trucking company has the ability and the duty to assert control over its employees and should be held responsible when its failure to do so causes harm to others.
Examples of this type of liability include:
- A truck driver causing an accident because he was speeding, fatigued, distracted or impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash
- A maintenance worker failing to perform required inspection and repairs to the tractor-trailer, which leads to an accident that is caused by tire blowouts, brake failure or other defects
- A warehouse worker carelessly loading the trailer, which results in a cargo spill that harms others on the road.
A trucking company may deny liability by asserting that its driver or employee was not acting within the course and scope of his or her employment. It is important to work with an attorney who will know how to counter those defenses and aggressively seek to establish one’s right to just compensation.
Holding Trucking Companies Liable for Their Own Negligence
Trucking companies can also be sued for their own negligent acts. Examples would include:
- Negligent hiring – Trucking companies may hire drivers who are either unqualified or should be disqualified from operating a tractor-trailer due to their history of drug and alcohol use, serious health issues, traffic violations or criminal charges. The carrier’s liability may be based on its lack of adequate hiring policies and procedures, which in turn allowed a dangerous driver who harmed others to be on the road.
- Negligent training and supervision – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truckers and trucking companies to comply with extensive regulations that are designed to protect the public. A trucking company may be liable for its lax oversight of its employees’ compliance with these regulations, including those that limit the number of hours that drivers may be on the road.
- Negligent inspection and maintenance – The failure to require that drivers and maintenance workers perform routine pre- and post-trip inspections of tractor-trailers within a company’s fleet can be grounds for a lawsuit if a truck lacking repairs causes a crash. In some instances, a trucking company may have a history of safety violations.
- Encouraging misconduct – A company may actually encourage drivers to violate FMCSA rules by setting delivery deadlines that can only be met if the driver speeds or violates the FMCSA’s hours-of-service regulations. A company may also allow its truckers to falsify logbooks and other documents that are required to show compliance with FMCSA rules.
Trucking companies may go to extreme lengths to evade liability. This is why it is crucial to investigate a truck accident immediately and ensure that important evidence of the company’s responsibility is not lost or destroyed.
Contact a Wisconsin Truck Accident Attorney Today
At Techmeier Law Firm, we have the skill, experience and resources necessary to thoroughly investigate your truck accident and determine the compensation you may deserve for your injuries, including compensation from the carrier itself. Contact us today to receive a timely and free review of your case.