In cases where a commercial carrier or driver is responsible for a crash that injures or kills other drivers, it’s important for lawyers who are investigating the crash not to overlook the possibility of broker liability. Broker liability is important when there are very serous injuries and limited liability insurance coverage and/or limited assets for the Defendant. By examining this aspect of a case, a lawyer can help a deserving client receive the maximum recovery for his or her injuries and losses. When evaluating an 18-wheeler crash, remember there are several factors working in tandem:
• The product / load that must be delivered;
• The truck that carries the load, and its driver; and
• A broker or brokerage company that matches the trucking company to the load.
About 40 percent of truck accidents involve a broker of the cargo. The question when that occurs is whether the broker is liable for the loss in your case. Most brokers believe that they cannot be considered a carrier because they do not own or lease trucks. That belief is simply wrong. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act at 49 U.S.C.A § 301 et seq., makes no such requirement. Likewise, a broker, who also has motor carrier authority, cannot guarantee delivery of a load and still maintain its status as a broker. A broker who is also authorized as a motor carrier runs a significant risk when it guarantees the load under 49 C.F.R. § 371.2.
The broker or shipper can be held liable based on their own conduct. The general rule is that a party is not liable for the negligence of its independent contractors. One exception, however, is that a broker may be liable for the negligent hiring of the motor carrier. Restatement Second of Torts § 411 provides that shippers and brokers are liable for “physical harm to third persons caused by failure to exercise reasonable care employ a competent and careful contractor (a) to do work which will involve a risk of physical harm unless it is skillfully and carefully done, or (b) to perform any duty which the party owes to third persons.”
Lawyers in our firm have successfully handled several cases involving broker liability. For more information about evaluating 18-wheeler accidents involving a broker, or if you need more information about heavy truck cases in general, contact Chris Glover, a lawyer in our Personal Injury/Products Liability Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Chris.Glover@beasleyallen.com.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.