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Irwin Law
Irwin Law, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 7017
Experience:  Lawyer & Real Estate Broker, 30+ years, foreclosure, land contracts, inheritance, probate.
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Can a tractor trailer driver or the company he works for be

Customer Question

Can a tractor trailer driver or the company he works for be held liable under any theory including violation of federal regulation if the accident was unavoidable? In my case, my client was entering highway from on ramp and lost control of his vehicle due to ice and was almost immediately struck by tractor trailer. Driver was ill, had used benadryl, which causes drowsiness, had inadequate rest all of which are violations of federal regulations but was allowed to go out on his run by supervisor. Moreover, company failed to adequately screen driver who had numerous speeding infractions before he was hired.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LADYLAWYER replied 5 years ago.

LADYLAWYER :

Hi there :)

LADYLAWYER :

Are you alledging negligence and vicarious liability here?

Customer:

Yes, alleging negligence as against driver..... vicarious liability, negligent hiring, retention, supervision as against company

LADYLAWYER :

I would also alledge comparative negligence (which can also be proffered as an affirmative defense) on the part of the TT driver. In states like CT, which follow a modified comparative fault – 51% rule, an injured party can only recover if it is determined that his or her fault in causing the injury does not reach 51%. If the injured party was 50% or less at fault, he or she may still recover damages. However, if a plaintiff’s fault reaches 51%, he or she recovers nothing. In other words, a plaintiff may have caused half of the accident and still recover damages from the court, but if it is found that the plaintiff’s fault was responsible for more than half of the accident, that plaintiff is barred from receiving any damages determined by the court. Here, as in a pure comparative negligence state, a plaintiff’s recovery is reduced by the degree of his or her fault.

LADYLAWYER :

Sorry, I may have misunderstood your question. Are you looking for specific causes of action that can be claimed under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations?

LADYLAWYER :

I just saw that you said the accident was unavoidable by your client and that the TT driver appeared negligent. But you may be asking for specific claims based on the federal regs.

Customer:

I know comparative negligence rule rule. You can not allege it against a defendant. It can only be set out as a special defense. Yes...is there a viable claim under FMSR whereby I can get a jury charge that driver or company can be held liable for violation of FMSCR even if they find accident was "unavoidable.

LADYLAWYER :

Gotcha. Even though I am familiar with the FMSR, I have not had a case like this so I will let another attorney assist if they have been involved with something similar. Good luck!

Customer:

Thanks....anybody coming

Customer:

getting sleepy.................

Customer:

oh well..........guess it will keep until tomorrow...unless I hear back within 5 minutes

Expert:  Irwin Law replied 5 years ago.

I don't know about CT, but in most states that I'm aware of, sliding on ice constitutes failure to keep a vehicle under control. Sliding in front of a moving semi in my view puts the max liability on the car. None of the factors about the driver seem to have contributed to the accident itself. I see a verdict for the trucker here.

 

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Irwin Law, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 7017
Experience: Lawyer & Real Estate Broker, 30+ years, foreclosure, land contracts, inheritance, probate.
Irwin Law and 2 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Are you aware of the federal motor carrier safety regulations that prohibit a driver from going out on the road when ill or taking medication that cause drowziness. Does. That change your answer?'
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 5 years ago.

No. Not unless you have a statute, reg. or case in which any of those technical reg. violations constitutes negligence per se on the part of the driver. If you don't have any statutes or case authority on that point, you will have to prove that it was the driver's actions behind the wheel that caused the accident. Did the Benadryl and lack of sleep slow his reaction time and cause the accident? That would be very tough to prove, especially if he hit the car as you say immediately when the car spun out of control.

Thanks for your Accept and thanks for bringing your question to Just Answer.

Irwin Law, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 7017
Experience: Lawyer & Real Estate Broker, 30+ years, foreclosure, land contracts, inheritance, probate.
Irwin Law and 2 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you