How a Trucking Company Can be Liable for Truck Accidents

How a Trucking Company Can be Liable for Truck Accidents
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The liability question can get complicated when a commercial truck is involved in an accident. Trucking companies are not just liable for the cost of repairs to their vehicle but also for any damages caused to other drivers and their vehicles. Several factors will determine if a trucking company can be held liable for an accident involving its employee. There are two types of commercial trucking: directly employed and independent contractor. Each has different implications when it comes to determining liability after an accident. Read on to learn more about who is responsible in various scenarios involving commercial trucks and truckers.

What is an Independent Contractor?

An independent contractor is a truck driver who works for a trucking company but is not considered an employee. This could include a trucker who owns their company and contracts with the trucking company. The truck driver could be an individual hired as an independent contractor by the trucking company. For a truck driver to be considered an employee rather than an independent contractor, the trucking company must control the working agreement of the driver.

Commercial Trucks and Trucking Company Liability

When an accident occurs, the first thing investigators will look at is the cause. If a commercial truck caused the accident, the trucking companies could be liable for the damages. Commercial trucks are large vehicles with a higher risk of causing damage to other vehicles. If the trucking company was negligent in their hiring or training practices, or the truck driver fell asleep at the wheel, the company could be liable for damages. Trucks include any commercial motor vehicles that are used for commercial purposes. Motor vehicles include cars, motorcycles, and any other vehicle propelled by any power. Also, commercial motor vehicles are usually large trucks or vehicles that transport at least ten passengers.

Determining Company Liability in a Commercial Trucking Accident

After an accident involving a commercial truck, the next question is who should be responsible for the damages caused. There are a few factors that will determine the liability of a trucking company in an accident. The first factor is whether the truck driver is an employee or an independent contractor. If a trucking company hires an individual as an employee, the company will be responsible for the employee’s actions during their work hours. In this case, they can hire a commercial truck accident attorney. In contrast, when the truck driver is an independent contractor, it may not be the liability of the company to cover any damages. There are regulations on who can be considered an independent contractor; if a trucking company misclassified its employees, the company could be liable for damages.

Many factors determine liability in a commercial trucking accident. If a trucking company hires an employee directly, the company will be responsible for the employee’s actions. If a trucking company hires an independent contractor, the company may not be liable for damages. Keep these factors in mind when reading about different commercial trucking accidents.