Truck Accidents and Broker Liability in Mississippi

Truck Accidents and Broker Liability in Mississippi
September 1, 2013 msverdict
by msverdict
September 1, 20139:04 pm

Truck accidents on roads and highways in Mississippi can be caused by a number of factors and/or conditions including, but not limited to, driver fatigue, drunk driving, recklessness, inadequate truck maintenance, a defective part, traffic violation, or even negligent hiring. In recent times, broker liability and claims of negligent hiring have become more common. A broker is generally defined as a person who, for compensation, arranges, or offers to arrange, the transportation of property by an authorized motor carrier. Typically, brokers work as a middleman between carrier 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, claiming truckers are hired in the capacity of independent contractors, and not employees. However, nowadays a claimant may be able to bring a successful suit against if 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.

Unfortunately, one of the largest 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, often times the decision to green light a carrier is based on the lowest bid, without a 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.

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!