When it comes to truck accidents, victims often hold truck drivers or trucking companies liable for their injuries. While these two parties should be held to account for their roles in truck accidents, there are other parties that can be held liable for a victim’s injuries. Brokers and shippers in particular are two parties whose negligence can play a crucial role in a truck accident.
When these two parties fail to meet their safety obligations to help ensure that a truck driver is competent enough to transport cargo nationwide, a truck accident is prone to happen. If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a truck accident due to another party’s negligence, contact a Maryland truck accident attorney from our firm.
What are the responsibilities of a broker?
In terms of trucking, brokers are third party companies that offer logistics services in shipping operations. Brokers serve as the middleman between trucking companies and shippers; they connect shippers to truck drivers in order for cargo to be transported. When hiring a truck driver, brokers are responsible for investigating a truck driver’s safety record, insurance coverage, and truck condition requirements. Brokers who fail to properly vet their truck drivers can also be held liable for the truck driver’s negligent actions.
What are the responsibilities of a shipper?
Even though the broker serves as the middleman, the shipper also bears responsibility for the truck driver’s actions. Shippers are responsible for reviewing the trucking company’s licensing, registration, and safety records, as well as ensuring that all cargo stored on the truck is properly secured. Even if a truck driver receives cargo that is already sealed, the shipper must ensure that the cargo remains properly secured and that the truck is not overloaded.
Brokers, shippers, and vicarious liability for truck drivers
Brokers and shippers can be held liable for a truck driver’s reckless actions through vicarious liability. Vicarious liability is a legal standard that helps to hold third parties liable for the mistakes or actions of another party.
When are brokers liable for truck accidents?
One of the ways that brokers can be held liable for truck accidents is through negligent hiring. Brokers must ensure that the trucking company they have selected has a good safety record and a history of little to no truck accidents. If it has been discovered that the trucking company contains a history of truck accidents or a poor safety record, the broker can be held liable for a truck driver’s actions.
When are shippers liable for truck accidents?
Shippers can be held liable for truck accidents if it has been discovered that the shipper failed to properly inspect the trucking company’s licensing, registration, and safety records. Shippers can also be held liable for truck accidents if they have failed to abide by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The FMCSR are safety regulations that all motor carriers and drivers must follow. Some of the FMCSR regulations that shippers are in jeopardy of violating involve overloading trucks and setting tight delivery schedules. These violations can happen when shippers fail to properly secure the accurate amount of cargo on a truck or schedule cargo to be transported at an unrealistic deadline.
Shippers can also be held liable for negligent hiring if they fail to conduct the proper investigation into the trucking company’s background and safety records. Like many companies, shippers usually decide to cut corners when selecting the right trucking company for a shipping project. Instead of actively investigating a trucking company’s safety records and truck accidents, shippers will select the cheapest trucking company in an effort to save money. However, no matter how small or unknown the trucking company is, shippers will be responsible for any injuries the truck driver causes through their negligent actions.
When are brokers and shippers not held liable for truck accidents?
The only occasion where brokers and shippers cannot be held liable for a truck driver’s irresponsible actions are when the truck driver is an independent contractor. An independent contractor is a worker who contains full control over the manner in which he or she works. An independent contractor has certain privileges that an employee does not, mainly the ability to control the manner in which they work. Because brokers and shippers do not possess the ability to control the manner in which the independent contractor works, brokers and shippers cannot be held liable for the negligent actions of truckers who are independent contractors.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, you deserve to hold every negligent party responsible. At Plaxen Adler Muncy, PA, our accomplished Maryland truck accident attorneys can help you or your loved one receive the compensation that you deserve. Please call 410-730-7737, or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation.