Responsibility and liability vary from accident to accident. Oftentimes, drivers in truck accidents are direct employees of a shipping or trucking company. In these cases, the company is financially and legally liable for your injuries.
However, there are many independent truck drivers out on the road as well. These “self-employed contractors” technically do not work for a specific company. In the United States, companies often use this as a tactic to avoid liability. For instance, Amazon’s logistics department utilizes a similar tactic across their distribution network.
Still, as Houston truck accident attorneys, we have the ability to hold the liable responsible for their actions. As your advocates, we work to prove that the trucking contractor was leasing their truck from the shipping company. When we discover this, it often means the driver has little control over how they work.
This points to an employer-employee relationship, which allows us to hold the company liable.
Carrier Liability with Independent Truckers
When a driver is an independent contractor, you have the option to hold the carrier liable in certain cases. Typically, this occurs when the company was negligent in a way that led to the direct or proximate cause of your accident.
This happens when a company hires, retains, or supervises an unfit or incompetent driver. For instance, a company might hire someone with a history of DUI/DWI convictions and license suspensions. If they work with them after learning of this, we have the option to hold them liable for subsequent accidents.
Additionally, the court may find them liable when they negligently supervise a driver. An example of this is when to company fails to enforce driving regulations. For instance, if the driver exceeds allowed hours of service and the company does not stop them, that points to negligent supervision.
Lastly, carriers are responsible for the maintenance and repairs of their own vehicles. When they fail to maintain, inspect, or repair their trucks, we can hold them accountable for accidents resulting from this failure. For example, when a tire that might have been replaced after proper inspection blows out and causes an accident, they may be liable for their negligence.