Trucking companies often set unrealistic deadlines when delivering cargo in the hopes of increasing profits and beating out the competition for jobs. These deadlines may result in truck driver negligence in the form of speeding or driving while fatigued or taking drugs. Many truck accidents in East Tennessee result from negligence by both the driver and their employer. If you are seeking to hold a trucking company accountable for your crash, you should contact Knoxville truck accident lawyer Mark Hartsoe. He has an accident reconstruction team on 24-hour standby that he can send to a truck crash scene. It is crucial to investigate the cause of a truck accident right away.Corporate Responsibilities of a Trucking Company
In addition to setting unrealistic deadlines for employees, trucking companies may try to get around their corporate responsibilities by hiring truck drivers as independent contractors whom they pay by the mile. There’s a common trucker expression that “if these wheels aren’t rolling, I’m not getting paid.” This practice incentivizes negligent driving, especially driving while fatigued. A driver may feel tremendous pressure to violate hours of service and rest rules so that they can make a decent living as a truck driver. When a truck driver violates federal or state laws, they may not be the only party that is responsible. The trucking company should also be held accountable for catastrophic injuries and deaths.
A trucking company may be held responsible for an employee’s actions through the doctrine of vicarious liability. This rule applies to hold an employer responsible for the negligent acts of an employee in the course and scope of employment. However, it is a derivative form of liability, meaning that the trucking company is only responsible to the extent that the driver is responsible and to the extent that the driver is an employee or agent.
A trucking company may also be held independently liable for a truck accident. Trucking companies, like their drivers, must follow federal and Tennessee safety laws. Among other things, this means that they must conduct adequate background checks before entrusting their trucks to a driver. In Tennessee, a trucking company may be held responsible under a theory of negligent hiring if it fails to conduct a background check or ignores red flags in a driver's background, such as a DUI or a drug dependency problem.
A trucking company may also be liable under a theory of negligent supervision. Trucking companies need to make sure that their drivers continue to be responsible and follow safety laws while they are employed. This includes reviewing a truck driver's log book to make sure that they are following hours of service laws. If a trucking company learns that a driver is falsifying records, as some truck drivers do, it needs to take steps to make sure that the driver keeps accurate records and follows the law. A failure to properly supervise a driver whom the corporation knows or should know is breaking safety laws may make a trucking company liable for any resulting accidents.
Sometimes trucking companies are negligent in other ways, such as failing to keep a truck properly maintained or allowing vehicles to be overloaded. Improperly loaded vehicles are more likely to be difficult to stop. The braking system may fail due to excess weight. The truck may be more susceptible to tipping over if the truck is heavy. A trucking company may be held accountable if it breaches its duty to maintain the truck properly, or an employee fails to load cargo properly.Call Knoxville Lawyer Mark Hartsoe After a Truck Accident
At the Hartsoe Law Firm, we can bring a claim against a trucking company and any other parties that were responsible for the crash in which you were hurt. Call Knoxville truck accident attorney Mark Hartsoe at (865) 524-5657 or contact us via our online form to set up your free consultation. Mark Hartsoe represents victims who need a motor vehicle collision attorney across East Tennessee, including in Knox, Blount, Monroe, Loudon, Jefferson, Grainger, Cocke, Campbell, Hamblen, Greene, Anderson, Cumberland, and Fentress Counties.