There are two types of motor carriers in the United States: interstate and intrastate. Interstate carriers provide transportation services across state borders and they are required to register with the Secretary of Transportation. An intrastate carrier, however, has its operations entirely within one state. Intrastate carriers only have to comply with state laws governing commercial motor vehicles.
There are many variables in determining liability for an at-fault truck driver. When the driver of a truck is an actual employee of a trucking company, the trucking company is liable under the respondeat superior theory of liability for the driver’s actions. Other theories of liability may be applicable such as lease liability and negligent hiring, entrustment or retention. These forms of liability can be further identified in the case as we analyze the specific actions of the driver or company that caused the collision.
Federal regulations establish strict guidelines for alcohol use by drivers. After a collision, trucking companies must perform drug and alcohol screenings on a driver whenever the driver is involved in an automobile collision that results in a fatality. There are also requirements for drug and alcohol testing in collisions with tractor trailers involving injuries. These test results are imperative to obtain in the investigation of a case. Other points that are important to investigate include if the driver has suffered fatigue in his driving and what the driver’s log states with regard to how long he has been driving at the time of the occurrence. Thus, in a case involving a tractor trailer collision, a letter requesting that the driver or his company maintain the drug and alcohol test results, driver logs and other documentation is critical at the early stages of an investigation.
Additionally, it is important to be mindful of statutes of limitations in these cases. South Carolina has statute of limitations for trucking cases that can be as short as two years depending on who the owner of the vehicle was that was involved in the collision. Some statutes of limitations extend to three years.
Our firm has been dedicated to handling tractor trailer collisions since its inception almost 20 years ago, and we have prosecuted many such cases successfully during the life of our law firm. If we can be of assistance to you in helping you with this matter, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
In the words of one of our clients: “Tom went the extra mile for me in prosecuting my tractor trailer case. He left no stone unturned. I would recommend Tom to anyone who is involved in a tractor trailer collision.” —Georgianna, client of Tom Killoren
The posts on this website/blog are published as a service to our clients and friends. They are intended to provide general information only and should not be construed to be formal legal advice regarding any specific situation and should not be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship. Success in the past does not indicate the likelihood of success in any future representation.
Blog post by attorney Tom Killoren. Click here to learn more about Tom.