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Suing Trucking Companies

Interested in suing a trucking company? To be sure, trucking companies are fair game for a wide variety of lawsuits.

Trucking company owners and operators have unique safety responsibilities and regulations that govern their activities.

In 1935, Congress enacted laws to enhance health and safety for the American public by regulating what was then an unregulated trucking industry. Those laws, amended over time, and numerous new laws are on the books today. Trucking companies and their drivers must comply or risk being sued.

You can sue a particular truck driver or sue the trucking company he drives for if he caused an accident. Here are just a couple of trucking company lawsuit headlines in the news recently:

The parents of a Missouri man are suing a Texas trucking company, alleging it should have better supervised the truck driver who caused a wreck that killed their son.

A Staunton-based company that specializes in hazardous waste disposal is suing a trucking company over last month's chemical spill on Interstate 81.

A family that is suing a trucking company say the trucking company demanded an unrealistic arrival time, forcing the truck driver to exceed the safety standard rules for amount of time spent driving versus sleeping on a particular run.

The trucking industry regulations are voluminous. There are too many to discuss in this article. However, maximum driving time is an important regulation that you should know about. Every trucker must keep daily logs of their driving time. If a tired trucker falls asleep at the wheel and crashes into a house, the trucker's log will play a critical role in the lawsuit against the trucking company and/or the driver. In a recent trucking industry survey, 20% of tractor-trailer truck drivers admitted to falling asleep at the wheel within just one month's time!

In addition, a driver must be 21 years old, must read and speak English, know how to safely operate the vehicle, determine whether cargo is securely loaded, be physically qualified to handle a commercial motor vehicle, and of course hold a valid commercial drivers license. They have to have completed an application for employment, passed a written and driving test in the type of vehicle expected to operate, and have no criminal history. Finally, no driver is allowed to report to duty with an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater.

It's tough to be a trucker, and it should be. More than 5,000 deaths occurr due to fatal tractor-trailer truck accidents each year.

If you are considering suing trucking companies or want to sue a truck driver, talk to a qualified attorney. You should also know that the Federal Highway Administration's Safety and Fitness Electronic Records System (SAFER) web site link,, lets you obtain a free profile of any federally licensed motor carrier, including complete background about the company and its insurance coverage.


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