The fault for a motor vehicle collision usually lies with one of the drivers involved. The police officers responding to the scene of a crash will look at the evidence and talk to the people involved, as well as other witnesses, to determine who caused the collision. The driver at fault will be the one whose insurance typically covers the losses of other people affected by the crash.
As a commercial transportation company, your insurance costs are much higher than the cost the average driver incurs. After all, any one vehicle in your fleet could cause many times the damage of even the largest SUV. Although the insurance you carry will protect your drivers from liability after a crash, it may also protect your business if someone tries to bring a lawsuit against the company.
When might commercial transportation businesses face crash-related lawsuits?
When their work requirements contributed to the crash
Does your company tell its drivers to keep going when they reach the upper limit of their permissible time on the road for the day or the week? Do you demand that your drivers respond to text messages while at the wheel to confirm their location?
If your company’s internal policies make workers violate crucial commercial traffic safety laws, people affected by any crashes that result could try to hold your company accountable for contributing to the wreck.
When your vehicle maintenance played a role in the crash
Inadequate vehicle maintenance can play a big role in a wreck. If the brakes don’t work as well as they should, a driver may not be able to stop in time. Even blown tires with poor tread that a company should have replaced months ago could play a direct role in causing a crash. If someone could make a reasonable claim that your maintenance practices are responsible for a collision, then your company could face a civil lawsuit for any property damage or injuries caused by that wreck.
When improper loading causes a crash
If your company takes responsibility for loading and unloading trailers, an improperly-loaded trailer could be a major liability. Imbalanced cargo could lead to a driver losing control. So could liquid in the trailer that a driver doesn’t know about, as fluids require different driving practices because of how they respond to traveling at high speeds.
Identifying potential sources of liability can help your commercial transportation company respond to or avoid lawsuits related to crashes.