Injured While Driving for a Trucking Company? Here’s What Motor Carriers May Do to Protect Themselves against a Future ClaimMay 3, 2018
Commercial truck drivers are about three times more likely to suffer job-related injuries, when compared to other workers in the private sector.1 When these injuries occur in the course of driving, truckers should be aware that their employers will likely take certain steps to immediately start protecting themselves against a potential lawsuit.
Knowing what steps these motor carriers typically take can be crucial to helping injured truckers protect and assert their rights to financial recovery when it’s time to pursue a truck accident claim.
To this end, the following reveals some common things trucking companies will do after their truckers are injured in wrecks. While this information is generally helpful, we invite you to contact the experienced 18 wheeler accident lawyers at the Amaro Law Firm for specific advice regarding your rights and legal options if you or a loved one is a trucker who has sustained an on-the-job injury.
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6 Things Motor Carriers May Do to Defend Themselves against a Future Truck Accident Case
- Immediately dispatch investigators to the accident scene – Electronic onboard recorders (EOBRs) on trucks may immediately notify motor carriers of crashes involving those trucks. When they do, the motor carrier may promptly send its own investigators to the accident scene to take pictures, collect information from witnesses (while their memories are fresh), record video footage of the police investigation and gather other evidence.
- The reason: This gives trucking companies immediate access to the accident scene, allowing them to collect their own evidence to try to dodge or minimize liability.
- Conduct alcohol and/or drug testing on the truck driver – Federal regulations2 require motor carriers to administer alcohol and drug tests on truckers involved in crashes causing injury or death. While these tests should be conducted “as soon as practicable” after a crash, regulations state that, “if an alcohol test is not administered within 8 hours following the accident, or if a controlled substance test is not administered within 32 hours following the accident, the employer must cease attempts to administer that test.” In these situations, the employer must also “prepare and maintain a record stating the reason(s) the test(s) were not promptly administered.”
- The reason: While motor carriers take this step to comply with federal trucking regulations, this can also be a way for them to try to pin some liability on drivers, attempting to find “evidence” of driver impairment that could minimize the motor carrier’s potential fault for the crash.
- Surveil the injured trucker – A trucking company or its insurance provider may also conduct surveillance on truckers after accidents. This surveillance, which can last for a few days at a time, can involve recording video footage and/or taking photographs of injured truckers during their day-to-day routines.
- The reason: This is typically done to try to catch injured truckers engaging in activities that may not be deemed “appropriate” for them, given the nature of their injuries. In particular, this surveillance will be focused on gathering evidence that can be used to argue that the trucker is not that badly injured or that (s)he has faked the injuries because (s)he is doing strenuous activities, activities that violate doctors’ orders, etc.
- Destroy records – This can include electronic and/or physical records, such as records from EOBRs, records from employment or hiring files, trucker training records, truck maintenance records, cargo records and more. While federal regulations require motor carriers to retain certain records for a distinct period of time, it’s not uncommon for these companies to destroy records related to trucking wrecks as soon as the federal recordkeeping requirements have expired.
- The reason: Getting rid of these records can make it difficult for truckers to later prove that motor carriers’ negligence contributed to wrecks. For instance, if a failure to maintain a truck was a contributing factor, destroying vehicle maintenance records is one way a motor carrier may try to dodge liability for this form of negligence.
- Get rid of the damaged truck – Trucking companies may have little to no incentive to keep trucks damaged in wrecks, especially those that cannot be repaired and returned to their fleet. This can mean that motor carriers scrap trucks involved in wrecks, eliminating any evidence these vehicles may hold regarding motor carrier negligence.
- The reason: This is yet another way for trucking companies to eliminate evidence that could be damaging to them, thereby further insulating themselves from liability in the aftermath of truck crashes.
- Lawyer up – When the possibility of being sued for truck crashes may arise, motor carriers will likely retain defense attorneys to protect their rights and interests and fight any claims that may be filed in the weeks or months that follow.
- The reason: Ultimately, trucking companies will be looking to shift liability to any party other than themselves in order to avoid paying injured truckers compensation. Skilled defense lawyers usually have the knowledge and strategies to do this on behalf of motor carriers.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to the actions motor carriers take after truck wrecks, the bottom line is that these companies:
- Are NOT necessarily looking out for injured truckers
- Will typically do whatever they can to protect their profits, dodge liability and avoid having to pay injured truckers compensation.
Given these facts, it’s crucial that injured truck drivers also have experienced lawyers in their corner, protecting their rights and claims so they are able to obtain the full compensation they deserve for their accident-related injuries and losses.
Get Effective Help Protecting Your Rights to Recovery: Contact an 18 Wheeler Accident Attorney at the Amaro Law Firm
An experienced truck accident attorney at the Amaro Law Firm is ready to help you get on the path to justice and compensation if you or a loved one is a trucker who has been injured while working.
Call (713) 352-7975, text (281) 612-8024 or email our firm for your FREE, no obligations consultation.
Known for our diligence and devotion to our clients, our attorneys can help you seek financial recovery following any type of truck accident. While the impacts of these crashes may never be erased by compensation, these recoveries can be essential to restoring lives.
The Amaro Law Firm’s record of exceptional representation and success in truck accident claims is affirmed by glowing testimonials from former clients, as well as our 5-star ratings on Google and Facebook.
1: According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
2: More on post-accident testing for truckers, from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)