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Can Trucking Companies Avoid Liability?

Trucks are larger and heavier than other vehicles on the road, meaning that truck drivers are often held to stricter driving standards than others. However, even with the rules and regulations on trucking, it is all too common for accidents to occur. Since these are usually serious accidents involving major damage or injuries, it is common for trucking companies to try to avoid liability for the accident. There are many methods and tactics that can be used to prove liability, even when a trucking company attempts to deny a claim.

What are some regulations concerning liability?

The average number of trucking accidents has increased over the past years, resulting in thousands of car drivers and passengers suffering serious injuries. Because of the high probability for injury, federal law mandates that truck drivers abide by a strict set of rules. These rules also help clear up who may and may not be held liable in the event of an accident.

Liability for a trucking accident can be attributed to the:

  • Truck driver
  • Owner of the truck
  • Trucking company
  • Truck manufacturer
  • Shipper of cargo

Since trucking companies do not directly own or drive the vehicle themselves, they can attempt to skirt liability for these accidents. Companies often get permits to operate the truck, rent the truck from an owner, and hire the drivers as independent contractors. Doing so would mean that the company is not liable, since the driver was not employed by the company nor did the company own the truck that caused the injury.

However, regulations quickly caught up to this practice. Current law mandates that a company can be held liable for accidents that occur under their operating permit, no matter if the driver is an independent contractor or not. This means that if the truck driver was acting on behalf of the company, the company is liable for any accidents that occur during this time.