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Navigating Common Legal Hurdles within the Trucking Industry

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2024 | Business Law

The trucking industry is the backbone of this nation’s economy. Without the ability to keep a steady supply of goods moving, commerce would grind to a halt. In fact, trucking companies move 70% of all freight within the United States.

Each player in the trucking industry is crucial in maintaining the stream of commerce. Small and mid-sized trucking companies are just as important to the industry as large ones. However, the trucking industry is not without its burdens, and small and mid-sized trucking companies often struggle under the weight of several legal challenges.

Driver Qualifications

The trucking industry has faced a significant challenge in finding qualified drivers for quite some time now. Trucking companies must maintain detailed records that document each driver’s certifications and training history, which should readily be available for inspection by various government authorities upon demand. Additionally, companies must monitor drivers for drug and alcohol use, in compliance with Department of Transportation regulations. The trucking industry is always adapting its rules and regulations on both the state and federal level. Retaining an attorney, you can trust to be proactive and assist your business in managing state and federal regulatory compliances, is critical in the trucking industry’s constantly evolving legal landscape.

Driver Classification

Another contentious issue in the trucking industry is the classification of drivers as independent contractors working under a company’s helm versus that company’s actual employees. Misclassification can lead to significant legal and financial repercussions for both the company and the employee, as there are significant distinctions in the treatment of each classification. Additionally, it could be beneficial to review your current operating and employment agreements to ensure your business is protected as much as possible from the negative consequences of accidents and/or employment disputes. Legal counsel is best equipped to advise on proper employment classifications and provide guidance on employment policies and procedures. Contract review plays a vital role in the employment context, because it defines the relationship between employees and employers, ensuring clear expectations.

Accident Liability

Trucking companies have always had to cope with accident claims, but there’s been a disturbing trend toward “nuclear verdicts” –  verdicts in the hundreds of millions of dollars –  against trucking companies involved in lawsuits solely based on the actions of their drivers. That trend is influenced by the tactics of plaintiffs who are determined to lay the blame for every accident on the truck driver or their employer. In turn, insurance costs have risen to reflect this trend. Legal counsel can assist with both pre-accident protection and policies in a manner that best protects the business, its owners, and the owners’ families. An attorney can provide pre-accident support by means of policy & procedure review and driver education. Post-accident assistance can include accident review boards and post-accident recovery policies, providing well-rounded support.

Arnett Law Group, LLC is uniquely equipped to support small and medium sized trucking companies navigate legal issues. We offer a comprehensive range of legal services, backed by extensive experience in the trucking industry. For more information, contact us at (312) 561-5660 or visit our website at www.arnettlawgroup.com.

July 10, 2024

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Arnett Law Group, LLC, was founded by Daniel J. Arnett, a trial lawyer with more than 25 years of experience.

The partners and associates at our firm are recognized leaders in their fields and are committed to delivering the best possible result for every client.