Let’s say you experience injuries as a result of a truck driver’s negligence. What do think the trucking company is going to try and do?
They know the injured victim is going to demand compensation – likely significant compensation from them – in damages. Their insurance company is likely going to tell them that they’re going to have to pay much higher premiums as a result.
Trucking companies certainly don’t want to see money disappear from their bottom line. The natural response – obviously – is to figure out how to delay, deny or outright shift liability for the loss.
Of course, this leaves all ethical questions and concerns aside. If their truck driver was negligent, they should have to pay the victim’s damages right?
Unfortunately, companies look at it as a logistical issue more often than one of integrity. That’s just what you’re up against.
So, what do our personal injury lawyers typically do to fight back on your behalf?
There are too many ins and outs to discuss here. But, you can check out some of the top tactics we use to help make sure you don’t get the shaft.
“Vicarious Liability” vs. Independent Contractor
“Vicarious liability” imposes liability on the trucking company for the negligence of a driver operating in the course and scope of his or her employment. This is also known as the doctrine of respondeat superior.
Sounds easy enough right?
Unfortunately, trucking companies will often try to argue that the negligence occurred while the driver was not in the course and scope of his or her employment – possibly on a “detour” from the assigned job. Often times they will argue that the driver was not an employee but, rather, an independent contractor.
Our attorneys will argue that the driver’s services were controlled by the trucking company. We will argue that the company told the driver what to do and how he or she was to do it. The attorneys will perform a detailed evaluation of the driver’s status as an employee vs. independent contractor under both case law and IRS guidelines.
Exposing Flaws in Trucking Records and Evaluating Driver Logs
Trucking companies often put intense pressure on their drivers to make lots of deliveries in short periods of time. It’s one of the ways they can increase profits.
So, even honest truckers can succumb to the temptation to falsify records. After all, poor performance means they could be fired.
If litigation is necessary our lawyers will review these records carefully for errors and inconsistencies. In addition, the attorneys will evaluate driver logs to make sure they are stopping to rest as required by law.
What if the Trucking Company Destroys or Alters Evidence?
Trucking companies may deliberately try to destroy evidence or conveniently “lose” evidence. The minute they know about the accident, they’re acting. They may try to manipulate evidence to reduce or eliminate their liability.
To counter this, we will immediately send a demand to preserve evidence letter to the trucking company requesting that they preserve all relevant evidence to your case and warning them we will seek a spoliation instruction in the even they fail to do so. We’ll also have our experts investigate the vehicles and associated vehicle data i(f necessary) to establish liability.
Trucking companies know the stakes that are involved and so should you. Our car accident injury lawyers will help you level the playing field and protect your legal rights.