Detroit Truck Employer Negligence / Liability Lawyers
Many automatically jump to the conclusion that liability in an accident involving an 18-wheeler lies with the truck driver. Although this is true in some cases, the fault might lie with the truck driver’s employer. Employer negligence makes up a number of truck accident cases in Detroit each year, but the attorneys of Detroit Personal Injury Attorneys, can help victims of employer negligence fight back and possibly win financial compensation in a personal injury case.
What is Vicarious Liability?
If you have been hurt in an accident with a large truck, you may be able to hold the trucking company responsible. The legal reason for this is something called vicarious liability. Under that legal standard, an employer can be held responsible for their employee’s actions when they occur within the confines of their job. In other words, if a professional truck driver causes a crash while they are an employee, their employer may be found liable for the driver’s actions.
Sometimes, companies will try to argue that their employees are actually independent contractors. To hold the trucking company responsible, the lawyers at Detroit Personal Injury Attorneys will prove the driver’s employment and that the collision happened during the course of the driver’s work duties. Once our attorneys have established the employer’s relationship with the truck driver, we’ll investigate the ways in which the company was negligent. From there, we can work to secure your fair compensation from the company.
Examples of Employer Negligence/Liability
There are numerous ways that an employer at a trucking company might be negligent. Cases where the truck company may be liable for a tractor-trailer truck accident include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Hours of Service Violations
- Negligent Hiring and Retention
- Failure to Train / Inadequate Training
- Failure to Inspect Vehicles
You can find explanations of all of these types of negligence further on this page. If it is found that a trucking company has violated any safety standard, then he or she may owe victims of truck accidents financial compensation. Learn more about your options by talking with an experienced Detroit personal injury lawyer today.
Hours of Service Violations
One of the most important safety regulations in the trucking industry is called the “Hours of Service Regulation.” The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration limits the number of hours a truck driver can be behind the wheel within a certain period of time. The longer truck drivers are on the road, the more likely they are to fall asleep and cause a crash.
Sometimes, trucking companies pressure their drivers to make nearly impossible deadlines. In our incredibly fast economy, some trucking companies value speed over competent driving. Letting their drivers take breaks to sleep undercuts their bottom line. Trucking companies should not put their profits above safe highways for everyone. If their employee has broken the hours of service regulations, the trucking company may be held liable for the resulting collision.
If the truck driver had a history of negligent driving, the trucking company may be held responsible for negligent entrustment. Under Michigan state law, the trucking company should have been aware of their employee’s “propensities and criminal record.” It was the trucking company’s mistake to trust a truck driver with a bad track record, and other drivers should not be put in danger because of it.
Similarly, the trucking company may be held liable for hiring or retaining a truck driver with a drug or alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, recent research has found that the rate of drug use among truck drivers is high. The long hours and difficult working conditions can encourage addictions.
Proper trucking company management practices include monitoring employees to be sure they can be trusted with a tractor-trailer truck. The trucking company should have been aware of their employee’s behavior that put other cars on the road in danger.
Failure to Train/Inadequate Training
Operating a tractor-trailer truck is a difficult job, and operation requires a commercial driver’s license. Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that their employee has, in fact, obtained that license. If a trucking company hired a truck driver without the right credentials, they could be responsible for negligence. In addition to the education required to acquire a commercial driver’s license, the trucking company should also provide adequate training to their employees.
Ideally, a new truck driver should have plenty of on-the-job experience before they are allowed to drive alone. Unfortunately, new truck drivers are often on the highway with very little, if any, training beyond what they got to obtain their license. If a truck driver’s training is insufficient to operate their vehicle safely, the trucking company may be responsible for the mistakes they made.
Failure to Inspect Vehicles
The trucking company should maintain and inspect their vehicles properly. The brakes should be checked out, the fluids should be topped off, and the vehicle should be in good working order. Given the many hours that tractor-trailer trucks spend on the road during long hauls, this maintenance needs to be regular and thorough.
Unfortunately, sometimes trucking companies decide to put off regular tune-ups on their trucks to save time and money. Deferred maintenance can make a vehicle unsafe. If a trucking company failed to keep the trucks in their fleet safe, the trucking company may be held legally responsible for negligent maintenance.
What Are Next Steps?
After you are in an accident where the trucking company was negligent, your first priority should be your health and safety. Get checked as soon as possible by a doctor, even if you don’t think you’re injured or your injuries are serious.
Next, you need to get experienced legal counsel. If you were in a crash with a tractor-trailer truck and were injured, you may be able to hold the company the driver works for accountable. They may be held vicariously liable. Contact our lawyers as soon as you can so we can help you gather the necessary information to build a successful case against the company at fault for your accident. If the trucking company is liable for your injury, you deserve full compensation for your medical expenses, the work you missed, and your pain and suffering.
Contact an Employer Negligence/Liability Attorney in Detroit
A negligent employer might be held responsible for your accident and subsequent damages. Truck accidents can be extremely damaging and costly, but you might be entitled to financial compensation to help cover your costs if a truck company is liable. Talk with an experienced Detroit employer negligence lawyer at Detroit Personal Injury Attorneys today by calling our offices at (248) 948-9696 to learn more about your legal options.