How Trucking Companies Can Defend Themselves From Lawsuits
Trucking companies invest hefty sums in vehicles and human resources. Besides being a capital- and resource-intensive domain, it is also an inherently high-risk one.
The probability of mishaps is high as trucks carry massive loads and hazardous cargoes on long-distance routes. The more daunting part is that trucking accidents often cause severe damage and injuries to drivers and passengers.
Beyond catastrophic injuries, they may even cause the deaths of your employees and the victims. You may end up encountering high-dollar lawsuits in the course of running the business.
So you must take such possibilities seriously and plan a strategy to defend your company against lawsuits.
Here are some valuable tips to keep legal hassles at bay for your trucking business:
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Get adequate insurance coverage
Mishaps may happen at any time, and even the most careful drivers can go wrong with their judgment. The risk increases on long routes and high-speed highways. But you must cover your business by getting an appropriate insurance policy.
The likelihood of being sued is minimal if your insurer pays claims fairly and promptly. Look for a reliable provider that prioritizes settling liability claims because it is the only way to avoid lawsuits.
You can get recommendations and check online reviews before collaborating with an insurance company. Steer clear of the ones interested in increasing their profits instead of paying fair compensation to the victims. Working with them means your business reputation may suffer besides the legal hassles.
Inspect fleet regularly
Trucking accidents may happen due to negligence in fleet maintenance. As a business owner, ensuring that your vehicles are in good shape should be a priority. Problems like brake failure, tire blowouts, a wheel falling off, hood flying open, and cargo shift due to improper loading are leading causes of mishaps.
Fortunately, timely inspections and maintenance practices can keep you ahead of such risks. Besides scheduling routine checks, you must take a proactive approach to problems. Cargo inspection should be a part of trip preparation. These simple measures can go a long way in fortifying your defenses against trucking lawsuits.
Hire skilled and experienced drivers
Driver negligence is perhaps the most prevalent reason for trucking accidents. The solution is as simple as hiring skilled and experienced drivers for your team.
An unskilled or negligent driver behind the wheel is the most viable piece of evidence a truck accident lawyer can use against your company. They will prove your negligence in hiring and ensure you pay thousands in compensation to the victim.
The problematic aspect is that the demand for long-haul driving positions is higher than the supply, so getting the best ones is easier said than done. You may have to offer higher pay and better working conditions, but it makes sense.
Besides picking the best drivers, you must invest in ongoing training to keep them on top of their driving skills.
Ensure driving safety
Having the right people in the driving seat is a good start, but ensuring driving safety throughout the rides is crucial. Ensure that your drivers do not experience fatigue on long-distance routes by providing them ample rest and breaks during rides. Incentivizing good driving behavior with rewards is a good way to encourage them.
You can install telematics in your vehicles to gather driving data and track metrics like speed, control, braking habits, and navigational techniques. Also, enforce rules against consuming drugs or alcohol, texting, and calling while behind the wheel. Adopt a zero-tolerance policy against drivers who fail to follow the rules.
Enforcing compliance with local laws and industry standards is another viable way to prevent lawsuits for your trucking business. Every commercial driver has to maintain a log that complies with state and federal regulations. It should indicate that they drive only for the permissible number of daily driving hours.
The objective of the log is to ensure that the driver gets a sufficient amount of sleep according to the mandated standards for rest periods. You can have tools and in-vehicle devices to verify log entries as they serve as valuable evidence if you encounter a negligence case down the line. A trucking company that fails to monitor compliance can face problems with the authorities.
Defending your trucking business against lawsuits is easier than you imagine, provided you are committed to identifying and addressing the risks.
The good thing about avoiding negligent mishaps is that it does more than protect your operations from litigation. It enhances your reputation as an employer and brand. Implementing these measures is the best way to cover all fronts.
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