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When is a Trucking Company Liable for a Truck Accident?

According to a report published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA),1 truck driver error is the cause of the majority of truck accidents that occur. You may assume, then, that truck drivers are the parties who are held liable for any losses incurred by truck accident victims. However, truck accident cases can be more complex than regular car accident claims and, in most situations, the trucking company can also be held liable for a victim’s losses.

Liability for Employees

There is a legal doctrine called respondeat superior2 that holds employers liable for the negligence of their employees while on the job. If a truck driver is on the clock when they negligently cause a crash, victims generally may file a claim against both the driver and the trucking company that employs the driver. This is important because trucking companies can have significantly greater assets than individual drivers and are required to have sizeable insurance policies, so the chances of having extensive losses covered can be increased.

Trucking Company Negligence

In addition to liability for a driver’s negligence, a trucking company can also be held responsible for its own acts of negligence. Negligent acts of a company that may lead to a truck crash include:

  • Hiring drivers with a history of impaired or reckless driving
  • Allowing unlicensed individuals to operate commercial vehicles
  • Not conducting required inspections or maintenance on all trucks
  • Not properly supervising employees
  • Failing to administer random alcohol and drug tests to drivers as required by the FMCSA
  • Failing to discipline or suspend drivers for failing alcohol or drug tests or for other violations of FMCSA regulations
  • Encouraging drivers to engage in unlawful or dangerous behaviors, such as hours of service violations

Contact our Chicago Truck Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation

The truck accident attorneys at the Chicago office of Abels & Annes, P.C. know how to recognize when a trucking company can be held accountable for your losses in order to maximize the compensation you may receive. If you have been injured, please call us today at (312) 924-7575 to discuss your situation.



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