Injuries resulting from truck accidents can be devastating. However, many times injured victims are unable to recover enough money to cover the damages. It is obvious to look to the negligence of the truck driver and motor carrier as the cause of the accident, but the shipper of the load cannot be forgotten as another possible liable party. Motor carriers of nonhazardous materials are required to carry only $750,000 in single limit coverage, however, many times injuries sustained in a truck accident far exceed that amount. Therefore, it is important to seek recovery from all who are involved including the truck driver, the motor carrier, and the shipper of the load. Keep in mind though, that the shipper will not always be liable in a truck accident, but should always be considered.
The shipper is the company that hires the motor carrier to haul its goods. One way to impose liability against a shipper is for negligent selection, which means that an employer can be subject to liability for its failure to exercise reasonable care in selecting a competent and careful contractor. When liability is being brought against a shipper, courts will look to the type of shipper that was used. As a result, courts will place a higher duty on a more experienced and prevalent shipper with frequent shipments and large shipments to choose a safe and competent motor carrier to haul its goods.
Once it is proven that the shipper has a high duty of care to hire competent carriers, it needs to be proven that the carrier was incompetent. Then, once incompetence has been proven, it must be established that the shipper knew or should have known of the incompetence. Finally, in order to prevail under negligent selection, it must be proven that the deficient characteristics that rendered the carrier incompetent proximately caused the accident. This means that if it is established that the carrier has a history of failing to properly maintain its fleet of vehicles and the cause of the accident is due to the driver falling asleep behind the wheel, there is no proximate cause between the incompetence and the cause of the accident.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a tractor trailer accident or sustained an injury as a result of a truck accident in Silver Spring, and would like more information, please call us at (301) 854-9000 for a free case evaluation or visit us online at: http://www.portnerandshure.com/Auto-Accidents/Truck-Accidents