Rogue Trucking Companies
Rogue trucking companies are those with a history of regulatory violations, negligent or reckless drivers, improper maintenance, or dangerous operations. In many cases, they are companies that are set up in order to hide their lack of attention to safety. These companies put drivers on the road who are exceedingly dangerous. Since a rogue trucking company goes in and out of business under different names and may hide in underfunded business forms, it can be especially difficult to hold them responsible for injuries caused by their negligence or other wrongful conduct. If you have been hurt in a crash that may involve a rogue trucking company, you should consult the experienced Los Angeles truck accident lawyers at Sharifi Firm.Holding a Rogue Trucking Company Liable for Your Injuries
Rogue trucking companies typically accumulate many violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which specify the standard of care for commercial drivers and trucking companies. For example, 49 C.F.R. § 392.3 provides that a commercial motor carrier cannot require or permit a truck driver to operate a truck while his or her ability or alertness is impaired by fatigue, illness, or another reason, such that it would be unsafe for him or her to operate the truck. 49 C.F.R. § 395.3 provides regulations related to the hours of service that a driver may work. A rogue trucking company may have policies that require truck drivers to work as many hours as possible, irrespective of their fatigue and the related hours of service rules.
Trucking companies are supposed to make sure their drivers follow safety regulations. A trucking company that institutes policies that necessitate violations of safety laws may be held directly responsible under a theory of negligence or negligence per se. To hold the company responsible for negligence, you will need to establish the trucking company's duty of care, a breach of duty, actual and proximate causation, and actual damages. To establish negligence as a matter of law, you will need to show that:
- The defendant violated a safety law or regulation;
- You belong to a group of people that the law or regulation was designed to protect;
- The injuries you sustained were of the type that the law or regulation was supposed to guard against; and
- The violation caused your injuries.
During discovery, it may be important for your attorney to delve into a rogue trucking company’s conduct while operating other related entities. If the company has changed its name and business form more than once, the purpose may be to avoid getting shut down for violations of federal or state regulations. It is important to establish its conduct under other names and using different forms in order to show that the company has a pattern and practice of violating the law. Sometimes an existing company may have a spotless record, but the entity has accumulated multiple citations under another name.
Generally, a truck accident victim in California can pursue both general and special damages. The former are more subjective damages that may vary dramatically depending on the jury's perception of the severity of the injuries. The latter are economic damages like lost income, lost earning capacity, and medical bills. If a rogue trucking company willfully ignores the law by hiring unfit drivers and endangering people on the road, it may be appropriate to request punitive damages. Under Civil Code section 3294(a), punitive damages may be awarded in a personal injury lawsuit by proving with clear and convincing evidence that a defendant has acted with oppression, fraud, or malice. Moreover, if an officer of the company takes part in actions that constitute gross negligence or recklessness, that individual may be personally liable.Consult an Experienced Los Angeles Lawyer after a Truck Accident
At Sharifi Firm, our Los Angeles attorneys can help you try to hold rogue trucking companies accountable for their dangerous misconduct. Contact us at 1-866-422-7222 or via our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation with a motor vehicle collision attorney. We also represent people in Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, and Temecula, among other Southern California cities.