Truck Accidents and Broker Liability in Mississippi
Truck accident claims can be difficult to navigate. One of the reasons why is because of the multiple parties who may be involved in the accident. A common example of this would be the shipping company had overloaded the 18 wheeler, causing the truck to be unbalanced when going around a sharp curve and tipping over.
But there are times when the responsible party is not only the driver and trucking company but the party that had arranged the load in the first place — the broker. In recent times, broker liability and claims of negligent hiring have become more common in trucking accident cases. Learn what a broker is and how they could be held responsible for your trucking accident in Mississippi.
What is a Broker Liability?
Before explaining what broker liability is, you first need to know what a broker does in the trucking industry. A freight broker is defined as a person who is paid to arrange or offers to arrange the transportation of property by an authorized motor carrier. Typically, brokers work as a middleman between carriers and shippers, arranging the necessary transportation for freight by contracting drivers. It is an enterprise that has no direct part in actually transporting the goods.
In the past, brokers have generally avoided liability in truck accident lawsuits, claiming truckers are hired in the capacity of independent contractors and not employees. However, a claimant may be able to bring a successful suit against the broker if they prove the broker was negligent in hiring the carrier by failing to properly screen or investigate the motor carrier’s safety records, insurance status, and claims history.
The Difficulties of Bringing a Claim Against a Broker in Truck Accident Cases
Unfortunately, one of the most significant issues facing a broker’s motivation to hire carriers is attributed to costs and meeting their own corporate bottom line. When a broker takes a shipping order, the decision to green-light a carrier is often based on the lowest bid, without thorough consideration and investigation into the carrier’s safety performance and records. Usually, the lowest cost drivers have the worst driving records, poorly maintained vehicles, and are the least experienced. Brokers are generally aware of this, disregarding necessary and relevant safety information.
In truck accidents when a claim has been brought, typically the broker will not be found directly negligent, due to the fact that the broker did not operate the vehicle causing the accident. If the motor carrier is found to be negligent, however, the question may arise as to whether the broker was negligent in hiring that particular motor carrier to do the job. At an absolute minimum, the law expects brokers to examine a trucking company’s safety evaluation and statistics, as well as any internal records of the carrier’s safety performance. Failure by the broker to do so suggests the broker may be found liable for negligent hiring. Generally, the law takes the position that brokers are responsible for the actions of carriers that they negligently select.
How a Mississippi Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
Truck accidents can be incredibly traumatic, causing serious long-term and life-threatening injuries. In many circumstances, the force of impact alone, due to sheer size and weight can be fatal. Those who do manage to survive, are left disabled and unable to care for themselves due to the severity of their injuries, ranging from brain damage, paralysis, or burns, to name a few. Bringing a claim in a truck accident against all parties involved can be stressful, tedious, and complex. Our lawyers at the Giddens Law Firm understand that catastrophic injury cases require precise management and coordination with families, medical specialists, experts, and even accountants, to make sure you receive the damages you deserve.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in the Jackson, Mississippi area, contact the Giddens Law Firm at 601-355-2022, so that we can help you bring a successful claim to recover the compensation you are entitled to.
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