Truck drivers have a tough job, with long work hours, tight delivery schedules, and often nothing but a lonely road ahead. Many drivers face strict deadlines, and this constant pressure to perform sometimes leads to serious collisions.
When a trucking company pressures a driver to sacrifice safety in the name of profits, his employer is responsible for the damage he causes. Trucking companies may be held liable for the wrongful actions of their drivers under the principle of vicarious liability.
One way to establish liability is to demonstrate that the driver or the trucking company broke the law, since this can automatically prove negligence. Another way to prove that the trucking company is liable is to show that it negligently hired an incompetent or irresponsible driver.
Courts consider a number of other factors in determining liability, including:
- The nature, time, and place of the driver’s conduct.
- The intent of the driver.
- The degree of flexibility permitted in the performance of the driver’s duties.
- Any incidental acts the trucking company expects the driver to perform.
The Surface Transportation Assistance Act
If a trucking company is attempting to fire or otherwise discipline a driver due to his refusal to operate his truck under unsafe conditions, he can seek legal protection. The Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) protects truck drivers from retaliation when they report safety violations committed by their employer. The STAA also protects drivers when they refuse to drive in unsafe conditions, such as:
- When the driver is impaired due to illness or fatigue.
- When the truck exceeds highway weight restrictions.
- When the driver refuses to violate hours-of-service regulations.
- When the driver refuses to speed or drive in dangerous weather.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, your attorney may be able to hold both the driver and his employer responsible for the harm you have suffered. To learn more about what the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., can do for you, visit us on Facebook.
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