What does a company logo have to do with legal liability after a trucking accident?
It could determine which company has to pay any damage claims awarded to the victims of the crash or their surviving family members.
Logo liability isn’t a term that most people are familiar with, but this is why it’s important:
— About 90 percent of the trucking industry is comprised of small business owners with less than 10 trucks.
— Many retail and manufacturing companies do not maintain their own delivery fleet. They usually contract their shipping out to large trucking companies.
— Many owner-operators lease their truck and driving services to larger trucking companies either “per load” or long-term. This allows the bigger trucking companies to meet their contractual obligations while absorbing the ebbs and flows and seasonal demands of retail and other industries.
–Truck accidents often have catastrophic results. Passenger vehicles can’t really withstand the impact of a truck that’s drifted across a lane or made some other error. That means that the medical and long-term financial needs of the victims of a truck accident can be very large.
— While victims can sue the individual owner-operator or small trucking company, logo liability laws give victims the option of pursuing a claim against the bigger trucking company — which usually has the type of insurance that can cover catastrophic injuries.
In other words, the logo on the truck that hit you can make the difference between a settlement that can’t begin to cover your long-term needs and one that can.
If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, it’s important to find out whether or not the truck driver is leasing out to a bigger company. It’s also a wise idea to take a quick photo or two (if you can) of that larger trucking company’s logo or placards, which are often temporarily applied to leased trucks.
Logo liability laws do vary somewhat by state. Some states have a very strict definition of the rule and consider the leasing company automatically liable for any accidents caused by the drivers whose services and trucks they lease — no rebuttal is possible. In other states, the presumption can be rebutted, which would allow the leasing company to escape liability.
For more information on how to proceed with a truck accident claim, contact our Chicago truck accident attorneys for advice.
Source: Findlaw, “What is ‘Logo Liability’ in a Trucking Accident,” accessed April 12, 2017