Truck accidents are very serious and common incidences in California. Due to the state’s large latitudinal range, connection to Mexico and the presence of Los Angeles metro area, trucks barrel up and down California highways at higher rates than many other states. The nature of a trucker’s schedule, as well as the size and weight of semis, make them very dangerous in the case of a collision. When individuals are injured or incur material damage when involved in a case with a semi, they often think, “Who’s at fault?” Because every case is unique, it’s important to remember the other parties involved in trucking logistics. Speak with an injury attorney in Sacramento CA for more information.
Unlike a normal accident involving two individuals driving their own cars, ownership and liability are much more complicated when a commercial truck is involved. Some people or groups that are often considered responsible include:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- The loading company
- The owner of the truck
- The mechanic who works on the truck
- The brake manufacturer
One aspect of this complex situation that is often forgotten in cases of collision is the shipper. The shipper is the company that hires trucks and truck drivers to move goods from the point of origin to the destination. In some cases, shippers are also responsible for the loading of such goods and thus could be held responsible in the case of shifting cargo.
One major responsibility a shipper has is in choosing a responsible, high-quality company to move their cargo. Choosing a company with high standards and sufficient experience is a part of the shipping company’s job. This is more important the more complicated a shipping company is. When a shipper makes a bad choice in carriers and that carrier behaves in a way that leads to an accident, the shipper may be held liable. This is called “negligent selection.”
In cases of negligent selection, the courts look into how complicated or sophisticated the shipping company is. The more complicated a shipper is, the more responsible they are for choosing a responsible carrier. How sophisticated a shipper is usually is based on the frequency and size of shipments. In current times, individual contracts are negotiated between each shipper and carrier. This makes proving liability more complicated and may confuse responsibility for transportation incidents, as each incident is catered individually to the companies involved. Due to these complexities, it’s best to seek legal advice and expertise of an injury attorney in Sacramento CA.
After it is shown that the shipper is sufficiently complicated and that the carrier is negligent, it must be determined that the shipper knew of this shortcoming in the carrier. So to summarize, attorneys working on cases regarding negligent selection try to prove:
- The shipping company chose a carrier that either may have been done negligently or haphazardly or the shipping company knew the carrier to be negligent
- The carrier behaved negligently
- That negligence on behalf of the carrier influenced the occurrence of an accident
- The accident is what caused a plaintiff’s damage or injury
Always speak with an injury attorney in Sacramento CA who can evaluate your case and prove such negligence. Another problem that increases confusion on the responsibility of shipping companies is that there is some confusion in the guidance literature set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA). The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) and Safety Measurement System (SMS) programs are meant to guide shippers, but changes in content often serve to confuse shippers. Does this limit their liability? If so, who is to be held responsible?
Potential Defense for Shipper
Of course, any entity being sued for damages will say almost anything to avoid being found guilty. Often, shipping companies will argue that they fulfilled their duty to hire a responsible carrier. Shippers may argue that the only indicator they are required to take into account is the score given to a carrier by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association. If a carrier is rated as “satisfactory,” a shipper may argue, that indicates that the company is sufficient enough to do business with.
Call an Injury Attorney in Sacramento CA for Legal Representation
Have you or a loved one been involved in a motor accident involving a truck? Trucking companies are often very well-funded and will do anything to avoiding paying in court. The complicated situations, laws, and many moving parts make it easy for big companies to confuse an accident victim and blame other groups involved. The best way to defend yourself in your case against a big trucking company or some other organization involved in the movement of cargo through California is to seek advice from an injury attorney in Sacramento CA