Leased Truck Collisions
While a transportation carrier is required to maintain permits to operate its trucks, the carrier isn’t necessarily the truck owner. The leasing options available in the transportation industry can make determining liability difficult when a truck driver causes a collision.
Truck Leasing Options
There are a couple of different ways drivers typically lease their trucks:
- Lease purchase programs. A truck driver may lease his vehicle with the option to buy. This approach appeals to drivers who don’t want to invest their own money upfront, as well as those who can’t obtain financing. These lease purchase programs typically require little or no money down, and lack a credit score requirement.
- Lease program. A driver may lease a truck in a similar fashion to a car lease, making fixed monthly payments for the term of the agreement. In some cases, these programs don’t require a down payment or good credit.
The Graves Amendment
Regardless of whether a truck driver chooses to simply lease, or lease with the option to buy, the Graves Amendment applies.
This federal statute grants immunity to vehicle leasing companies when the driver causes a collision. The Graves Amendment overrides any state laws that hold truck owners vicariously liable for damages. However, this limitation on liability doesn’t protect truck leasing companies under all circumstances.
For instance, if the leasing company is independently negligent due to a lack of proper vehicle maintenance, or is guilty of negligent entrustment, it may still be held partially liable for the collision. A skilled attorney can determine whether or not these conditions apply.
Leased Truck Accidents
Leasing a truck can be an economical option for a driver who lacks the funds for a down payment or who has poor credit. Unfortunately, a trucker who needs to cut costs may skimp on insurance as well.
If you’ve been injured in a collision with a leased truck, you need professional representation by an experienced attorney. To learn more about what the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., can do for you, visit us on Facebook.