One of the most common advertisements that we constantly encounter is plastered on the trucks driving alongside us on the road. Although these emblems are a type of self-promotion, they also serve an important legal purpose. The images that are displayed on a truck can actually determine the level of liability after a truck accident. This concept is known as logo liability. In this blog, we explain more about logo liability and how it can affect your truck accident case.
What Is the Definition of Logo Liability?
Logo liability is in effect whenever a truck company that is transporting people or freight for compensation, uses leased trucks and drivers instead of their own drivers and trucks. It is also in effect when these companies use an independent contractor to operate their own commercial vehicles instead of an employee. Although businesses can usually be held responsible for the negligence of their employees, they are usually not liable for the negligence of the independent contractors that they use to conduct business.
Commercial truck companies that use leases and independent contractors to transport freight, minimize their legal responsibilities if an accident were to occur. To address this, there are federal regulations placed on trucking companies and drivers who operate vehicles that are not their own. Under these regulations, leased or contracted drivers and trucks, “shall have exclusive possession, control, and use of the equipment for the duration of the lease [and] shall assume complete responsibility for the operation of the equipment for the duration of the lease.”
To interpret these regulations, courts developed the theory of logo liability. Under this theory, trucks must display the carrier's logo during the course of a lease. Whenever the carrier’s logo is displayed on the truck, there is a presumption of employee status for the purpose of carrier liability.
How Can Logo Liability Impact My Accident Case?
Because of the various rules and regulations for logo liability, whether or not you can recover damages from a carrier company depends on where the accident took place.
If your accident was with a self-employed truck driver or another type of lease carrier, you can seek damages from the driver's liability insurance. In some jurisdictions, you might not be able to recover damages that exceed the policy amount.
If you are in an accident with a commercial truck driver, you should do the following things:
- Find out if the driver is operating under a lease.
- Get the names and contact information of all companies involved in the accident, including lessors.
- Document or get pictures of any logos or placards that are displayed on the vehicle.
Determining liability in a truck accident case can be a complex and difficult task. If you have been in an accident with a commercial truck driver, you should immediately consult with an experienced attorney to discuss what legal options are available for you.
Contact our Missouri team of truck accident attorneys to set up your free case evaluation today.