Trucking Company and Employer Liability for Maryland Truck Accidents
Truck accidents make up just a small percentage of the total number of traffic crashes in Maryland, but they are devastating in terms of the injuries and destruction they cause. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are 4,180 collisions involving 18-wheelers, semis, tractor-trailers, and other big rigs every year statewide. These truck accidents cause around 60 fatalities and almost 2,100 injuries to victims annually. Fortunately, Maryland law provides you with legal remedies if you were hurt or lost a loved one.
The most logical person to pursue for a truck accident claim is the driver, but keep in mind the employer could be another potential party. It is often wise to pursue a trucking company because of the extreme losses you suffer as an injured victim. The employer plays a prominent role in putting the truck and its operator on the road, so it makes sense to hold them accountable. There are different theories of liability that may apply, so an Owings Mills truck accident attorney can explain details about:
Negligence: A truck driver may be negligent by speeding, failure to yield, or running red lights, but a trucking company can also engage in careless acts. Though negligence by an employer may occur miles away from the truck accident, it still increases the potential for serious crashes. Some examples include:
- Not vetting and conducting background checks on employees;
- Encouraging truck operating to violate Hours of Service (HOS) rules intended to prevent fatigued driving;
- Failing to properly manage the fleet of trucks through maintenance, inspections, and repairs; and,
- Neglecting to take drivers out of service after an alcohol or drug violation.
Vicarious Liability: This theory of liability holds the trucking company accountable because of the relationship between the employer and employee. With vicarious liability, the employer is liable when negligence by its employees causes injuries and losses for victims. It is not necessary to show that the company was negligent separately, because it is the employment relationship that gives rise to liability.
You will need to prove the elements of negligence by the truck driver, and you must show that the accident occurred while the employee was performing tasks within the scope of employment – i.e., driving the truck.
Logo Liability: This type of liability arises when carriers and trucking companies use independent contractors to operate their fleets via leasing agreements. There is no vicarious liability because of the lack of an employment relationship. However, a carrier is still accountable for truck accidents because of logo liability. Federal regulations require the carrier to take responsibility for the equipment throughout the duration of the lease, so a victim can pursue the company after a truck crash.
Discuss Remedies with a Maryland Truck Accident Lawyer
It is helpful to know the different theories of liability for an employer after a truck crash, but you can count on Furman | Honick Law to handle the details. To learn more about our services, please call 410-844-6000 or go online to schedule a no-cost case review.