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Frank Bailey
Frank Bailey
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Trucking Companies Are Liable for Punitive Damage

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Punitive damages against trucking companies may be imposed to punish the trucking company and to deter the trucking company and others from similar conduct. In order to recover punitive damages from a trucking company in Arkansas, a plaintiff must show that the trucking company knew or ought to have known; in the light of the surrounding circumstances that its conduct would naturally and probably result in injury and that it continued such conduct in reckless disregard of the consequences.
When assessed against trucking companies, punitive damages are usually based on the company’s knowledge about a driver’s previous woeful driving record, knowing about a driver’s drug use, or knowing about a driver’s continual violation of either company or federal safety regulations and failing to remedy the situation. Other reasons that justify punitive damages would be running a truck that needed repair, requiring a driver to drive longer than is safe, or requiring a driver to falsify his log.
Trucking companies have attempted, with limited success, to avoid liability, by asserting that their drivers are independent contractors. Congress took care of this at the urging of trial lawyers by enacting 49 USC 14102 which defines truck drivers as employees of trucking companies, regardless of the way the company classifies its drivers.
If you have been injured by a truck and have questions, we here at the Bailey and Oliver Law Firm will be glad to talk with you at no charge.