How Motor Carriers Protect Themselves from Liability
Tractor-trailers are essential to our daily lives and our economy as we rely upon them to transport, well, everything. Due to their size and weight, they are also capable of causing catastrophe in the event of a tractor-trailer wreck. Due to the vast risk involved with the ownership and operation of tractor-trailers, trucking enterprises are often set up in a way to confuse and shield the motor carrier from liability arising from a truck accident.
Tactics Related to Hiring and Vehicle Ownership
There are many ways a motor carrier may attempt to protect themselves. For example, a carrier may insist on only hiring “owner operators” as “independent contractors” and requiring that these drivers carry and maintain their own liability coverage. They may also own the trucks and trailers under separate companies that lease the rolling assets to the motor carrier or the owner operators. Even a retail company large enough to operate its own fleet may set up their enterprise through several shell companies to protect the larger company from liability.
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The Importance of the Discovery Process
In the event of a tractor-trailer crash, locating coverage and getting to the motor carrier is like pulling a tangled thread. It involves lengthy discovery including review of employment agreements, lease agreements, safety records, drivers’ logs, etc., as well as depositions of drivers, dispatchers, HR employees, company owners, warehouse workers, the list goes on. Due to the almost inevitable necessity of this discovery process, the default rule in any crash involving a tractor-trailer and significant harms and losses should be to file suit right away.
Contact Our Skilled Lawyers Today
Having an attorney who understands how to navigate the motor carrier shell game is critical to maximizing the value of any truck accident. If you have been involved in a tractor-trailer wreck, contact Schiller & Hamilton right away for a free consultation.