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Common defenses for trucking companies

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2024 | Trucking Accident Defense

If you manage a trucking company in Kentucky, it may be just a matter of time until one of your drivers is involved in a trucking accident. This is why many trucking companies want to explore effective strategies for defending against accident injury claims.

Compliance with regulations

Trucking companies often assert compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and state laws. In essence, this defense revolves around proof that your company followed the rules governing driving hours, maintenance documentation, drug and alcohol testing, driver qualifications, training, hiring standards and weight restrictions. This defense emphasizes the company’s commitment to safety protocols.

Comparative negligence

Trucking companies frequently rely on comparative negligence defense, arguing that the injured party shares responsibility for the accident. This defense aims to mitigate the damages sought by asserting the injured party’s contributory role, which will reduce the amount they can be awarded based on their amount of fault.

Statute of limitations

Trucking companies may also invoke the statute of limitations defense, claiming that the injured party filed the lawsuit beyond the legally stipulated deadline. This defense challenges the timeliness of the legal action initiated by the injured party, if it was filed 2 years after the trucking accident occurred.

Independent contractor status

By designating their truck drivers as independent contractors instead of employees, trucking companies can seek to distance themselves from liability. This defense posits that the driver’s actions are the responsibility of the independent contractor rather than the company itself. Though, there are rules that control whether a driver is actually an independent contractor. Just because a company calls their driver one does not necessarily mean a judge will agree.

Sudden emergency doctrine

The sudden emergency doctrine contends that the truck driver faced an emergency situation that  left them with no time to react, and it justified the driver’s actions in challenging circumstances.

Trucking companies possess a range of possible defenses when confronted with accident injury claims in Kentucky. However, the effectiveness of these defenses hinge on the unique circumstances of each case. Navigating these complexities requires a case-specific approach, tailored to the specific nuances of each situation.