Example of Trucking Company Liable for Actions of Employee

Trucks are inherently dangerous, heavy pieces of machinery.

Scales of JusticeCredit: Morgue File

Just prior to Christmas on 2008, Jerry Patrick, 59, died on the icy shoulder of Interstate 90 near Haugan, Montana. With lights flashing, Patrick, the provisional safety coordinator of the West End Fire Department, had parked his Dodge pickup off the side of the Interstate to warn on-coming traffic of a single car accident ahead.

Patrick died instantly when the 50,000 Fed-Ex semi combination slammed into his pick-up, propelling it some 190 feet. The law requires all vehicles to slow to 20 miles per hour when approaching the scene of an accident. Investigators eventually determined when first the lead trailer, then the second jack knifed and collided with Patricks pickup, the Fed-Ex driver was traveling at between 63 and 72 miles per hour, much too fast for the unpredictable winter road conditions.

The truck was driven by Sergei Buslayev, 54, of the Bronx, N.Y. Buslayev had lived in New York since emigrating from north Russia 11 years prior to the accident. Buslayev’s driving record included violations for driving while intoxicated and separate truck driving incidents that included reckless driving, speeding and failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.

On the day of the accident, Buslayev’s chief, Vladimir Kuchukoy, the owner of Bridgewater Trucking LLC was riding in the cab with Buslayev. When the fatal truck accident occurred, Kuchukoy was under contract with FedEx Ground to pull two empty FedEx trailers from New Jersey to Minnesota and swap them for two full trailers and deliver those to Oregon.

For his role in Jerry Patrick’s death, Buslayev was found guilty on counts of Negligent Homicide and Negligent Endangerment and sentenced to 20 years and 6 months in prison, with 10 years suspended. In a separate trial, the Patrick family was awarded an undisclosed sum in settlement from the Bridgewater Trucking LLC and FedEx Ground.

Trucks are inherently dangerous, heavy pieces of machinery. Because of their massive size and weight, a trucks accident can cause horrific damage.. The U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Administration reports that in 2006, large trucks were involved in over 368,000 accidents. Included in this group were 287,000 accidents that involved property damage only, 77,000 accidents that resulted in physical injuries and 4,321 truck accidents that resulted in fatalities.

If you or a loved one are injured in a truck accident, or your loved one is killed in an accident with a commercial truck, the question of who is to blame and who is responsible can become quite complicated. You may have suffered significant physical injuries or substantial damage to your vehicle. Compensation for injuries or losses may be significant; considerably more than the total financial assets of the truck driver responsible for the accident.

Although it was the individual truck driver involved in the accident acted in a reckless or negligent manner, he or she may not be the only party responsible for resulting injuries or property damage. There are a number of potential liable parties involved, from the truck driver involved in the accident to the owner of the trucking company. Obtaining information about the cause of the accident and what went awry, often requires a working knowledge of the trucking industry.

Clarification of the common reasons for truck accidents, the relationships of the manufacture of the truck or tires, persons or entities that own or lease the truck, the trailer, the owner of the load, and the company that loaded the truck (in the case of overloading or an unbalanced load) can assist you in determining if you have a valid claim and how to proceed with your case.

JusticeCredit: Morgue Files

Rules & Regulations

The trucking industry is regulated by federal laws and regulations that establish standards trucking companies, owners and drivers must meet. The majority of the rules are covered in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations[1]. Federal agencies that regulate trucking include the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)[2] and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Each individual state also imposes regulations enforced by the state’s department of transportation