Trucking Accidents: Who Is To Blame?

Some recent high-profile accidents, including the one involving actor and comedian Tracey Morgan, have highlighted the issue of trucking accident liability. In some instances, the employer of the truck driver is held at least partially accountable when an accident occurs. If you have been in an accident involving a truck, an attorney can help determine if the company is liable for the accident.

Hiring Practices

To avoid liability, the company must be diligent during the hiring process. They must hire only drivers who are properly licensed and who demonstrate the ability to safely operate a big truck. The driver's background must be checked by the human resources department.  Even if the driver passes federal regulations, the company risks liability if the employee has been involved in several serious accidents or violations.

Driver Training

Although drivers are responsible for safely operating their large trucks and obtaining the appropriate CDL licenses, the company that employs them is responsible for providing adequate training for any special loads they may be hauling. For instance, if they are carrying hazardous materials that require special accommodations, then the company must equip the driver to safely transport the goods. Trucking companies are also responsible for keeping driving records on their truckers for the duration of their employment and for three years after the employment has terminated.

Hours of Service

Trucking companies also must enforce federal regulations on how many hours their drivers can be on the road. Currently, the hours of service are limited to eleven hours after ten hours off duty for property-carrying truck drivers. Rest breaks are also mandated. The driver can only drive for eight hours or less after their last break of thirty minutes or more although there are some exceptions to this rule. Drivers must also not drive after "60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days." Because the federal rules can be confusing, the trucking company needs to closely monitor its drivers to make certain they are following the rules.

If you have been involved in an accident with a large truck, you need to hire a personal injury attorney who specializes in trucking accidents. This trucking accident attorney can determine who is at fault: the driver, the company, or both. Determining fault in these situations can be a difficult and time-consuming matter, something that is best handled by someone with a great deal of experience in the area. If you are a victim of this type of accident, get the appropriate medical attention and then hire a good lawyer.