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A piece of metal debree flew off the back of a truck and damaged my vehicle. How do I proceed on recovering for damages?

Question:  A piece of metal flew off a truck infront of me in traffic and smashed into my windshield.  Luckily, no one in the car was hurt, but Ihad to pay nearly $1,500 out of pocket to get it fixed.  The truck driver kept going (I'm not sure heknew that the piece came off), but I did manage to get a license plate, and thetruck's registered to a scrap heap operator.  The company owner says it's not his problem as his regular driver wasoff, and the driver working that day isn't one of his regulars, just a temp.  I simply want to recoup the money I had topay out, but I need to know who to go after – the driver or the truck owner.

Response: In thepast, some carriers tried to limit their liability for any accidents involvingtheir trucks by arguing that their drivers were independent contractors.  Sometimes, the carriers would lease thetrucks and drivers, placing placards with their company logo and information onthe truck, and then claim that any accident involving either the truck ordriver was not their fault.  Fortunately,federal laws have basically put an end to this type of defense.  Under current law, any accident involved witha truck that carries the name of a company is the ultimate liability of thecompany's owner or operator, no matter if the driver is an employee or anindependent contractor, and no matter what contract exists between the two.  Therefore, in your case, the owner is wrongin his belief that he is not liable.  Consultwith a truck accident lawyer to determine all of your rights arising from thisaccident.  You can also check federalregulations for companies and drivers at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration(FMCSA)'s website.

Answered by Sharon Cullars

Additional Resources:

  • FMCSA - Company-related Regulations: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrguide.aspx?section_type=C"
  • FMCSA - Driver-related Regulations: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrguide.aspx?section_type=D"
The content of this website is provided for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. If you need help with a Truck Accident claim, consult an experienced trucking accident attorney from the law offices of Gordon Elias & Seely, L.L.P. by calling TOLL FREE: 800 - 773 - 6770 OR by filling out the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page.
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