Greg Prosmushkin
Sep 20, 2022

There are many risks that truck drivers are associated with each day. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), there are nearly 3.36 million truck drivers in the United States. The aftermath of a truck wreck can point to a few different scenarios.

  • Scenario 1: Employer’s Privilege
  • Scenario 2: Independent Contractor
  • Scenario 3: Wrongful Termination

Unfortunately, a trucking company can fire their employees, whether it is a major accident or a minor accident with no fatalities.

Scenario 1: Employer’s Privilege

As per the reports of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2019 there were 13.65 severe truck crashes per million people, indicating an upsurge from 2010. Unfortunately, these types of accidents can happen virtually anytime. Truck drivers may have questions lingering in their minds such as:

  • What if I get into a truck accident that wasn’t my fault?
  • What could happen if there are fatalities from a crash?
  • What will be the aftermath if I am involved in an accident for the first time?

Trucking companies can use a variety of reasons to justify their decision about terminating an employee. The employer has the right to terminate at any time if the driver was engaged in wrong actions. Obviously, if a driver acts violently, this is one clear example where the company is likely to terminate. 

Whether or not drivers are particularly concerned with crashes, trucking organizations will be considering the driver’s liability. There may be legal charges if the driver doesn’t drive or behave as expected. Furthermore, a crash, along with the negative press associated with it, will complicate the case and ruin the reputation of the company. 

In an injury claim, the court may also order that a huge amount be paid to the injured victim for damages, not limited to but including property damage and pain and suffering. Therefore, the employer can terminate the employee if they suspect any mishap in the future.

Sometimes, the public may even compel the company to fire the driver owing to the driver’s actions. If the company then fails to terminate, it harms the goodwill of the company at large.

Scenario 2: Independent Contractor

Regardless of who is responsible, safety measures should be taken so that preventable accidents do not happen. Sometimes, truck drivers are the ones responsible for everything, from regular truck maintenance to insurance. In such cases, the driver can be fired if they have the clause of anytime termination. In other situations, the company could present strong evidence suggesting or proving that the driver was at fault.

Reasons For Truck Drivers To Get Terminated

Truck drivers may lose their jobs owing to negligent actions. Let’s take a rundown of some of valid reasons to get terminated as a truck driver:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Distracted driving
  • Violation of traffic rules
  • Violence 
  • Not following safety rules of the company
  • Not having a commercial driver’s license (CDL)

Generally, a trucking company may fire the driver if their reckless actions resulted in damages and/or injuries. These events also tend to put the company’s reputation at risk.

Scenario 3: Wrongful Termination

This can be one of the fundamental reasons for taking legal action against the trucking company. For example, truck drivers can be forced to drive in unsafe weather conditions. If the driver is then involved in an accident, the trucking company may fire them for negligence without giving a second thought that the driver was forced to do so.

An employee can file a wrongful termination in the following situations:

  • Retaliation: Either the truck driver or the employee can be found guilty of retaliation after a truck accident.  
  • Discrimination: Treating employees differently based on race, nationality, marital status, sex, identity, or certain other qualifiers is illegal.
  • Contract Violation: If the clauses in the contract specify that you cannot be fired for a specific time, then there is a chance that the termination breaches the contract.  

As a rule, truckers must know their rights and how to safeguard them. Further, they must also have information about any potential claims that could be brought against them. This information could directly affect their careers and futures.

Essential Facts For Truckers After An Accident

  • Police reports cannot always help to determine the fault.
  • In many cases, motor carriers might blame their employees when the evidence is ambiguous.
  • Insurance companies will be least concerned of all about the rights of truck drivers. They will be completely focused on finding any information that could limit the compensation they have to pay.

It can be a tricky affair to prove wrongful termination; thus, it is important to navigate the complexities of your case carefully. If you are a truck driver who wants to file a complaint regarding contract violation or has questions, a capable Philadelphia truck accident lawyer can be your ally.

If you need to speak to a lawyer after a truck accident, our team at The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin is ready to be your ally. Schedule a free consultation today.