When a traffic accident involves a semi-truck, in certain circumstances you may be able to file a lawsuit against the trucking company thanks to a legal doctrine known as “respondeat superior,” which is Latin for “let the master answer.” Under this doctrine, trucking companies can be held legally responsible for the actions of their employees.
Some trucking companies cut corners to save money at the expense of their employees’ safety and the safety of the other drivers on the roads. Sometimes this is done because the trucking company is smaller and doesn’t have a huge budget, and sometimes it’s done simply because the company is all about profits and doesn’t care about safety.
If you or a loved one was involved in an accident with a semi-truck, it may have been caused by the trucking company’s negligence. Keep reading to find out which circumstances can result in a lawsuit against a trucking company.
When the Trucking Company Is at Fault
In some accidents, the negligence of the truck’s driver may be the cause. Others may be caused by negligence on the part of the trucking company. It is also possible that both the driver and the company share fault. These are some of the ways the negligence of a trucking company can cause a wreck.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Violations
The FMCSA sets safety standards for commercial motor vehicle drivers that are meant to prevent injuries and fatalities. They achieve this through the targeting of high-risk carriers and the enforcement of safety regulations. When trucking companies fail to ensure that FMCSA’s safety standards are adhered to, it can result in a serious accident.
Negligent Hiring Practices
When unqualified drivers are hired, it puts everyone on the road at risk. The FMCSA’s regulations include extensive regulations for hiring. They require that trucking companies look at driver’s licenses, experience, accidents, tickets, license suspensions, and previous employers before hiring drivers. If they fail to do this, an accident can occur.
Failure to Drug Test Drivers
Another thing the FMCSA requires is random drug testing of drivers. Some truckers cope with the job’s long hours and other pressures by abusing methamphetamines and other drugs. This is incredibly dangerous, and that’s why it’s so important to screen for drug abuse. When trucking companies don’t perform adequate testing, a drug-using driver can become a deadly driver.
Failure to Inspect and Maintain Vehicles
When semi-trucks aren’t routinely inspected and maintained, they can malfunction while they are on the road. These trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, so you can imagine how much damage they can do if the brakes failed. When an accident is caused by faulty truck parts, the trucking company is legally liable.
How the Value of Your Claim is Determined
The first question on most people’s minds when they are deciding whether or not to file a claim against a trucking company is, “How much is my claim worth?” The value of your claim will be determined by the amount of your damages and the seriousness of your injuries. How seriously you are injured can directly impact the amount you get for pain and suffering.
If you’re ready to file a claim, you can visit Atlanta trucking accident attorneys to learn more about the process of filing a lawsuit after a truck accident. Some of the damages you can claim in a lawsuit include the cost of your medical bills and future medical treatment, funeral and burial expenses, the loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.
In some cases, punitive damages will also be awarded to the victims of semi-truck accidents or their survivors. These damages are meant to punish the trucking company. They are also meant to discourage them from engaging in unsafe practices again in the future.