While the insurance and legal landscape can be complicated when
it comes to car accidents, it is complicated even more so when a
transport truck is involved. When you find yourself in an accident
and you are driving with cargo, the insurance and legal situation
involves additional third parties, extra maintenance and safety
requirements, and – to make matters worse – an accident
involving a truck almost always causes serious personal injuries
and even fatalities, due to the size and weight of the vehicle.
Was the truck carrying hazardous
materials, and were they stored properly? Likewise, was the truck
driver or shipping company the driver works for informed by the
client shipping the hazardous materials that they are in the
truck's load? If the shipping company was unaware of the
hazardous materials, they were not stored properly, and they
contributed to the accident or any personal injuries, the company
that provided the cargo may carry some of the liability.
Who does the truck driver work for?
For example, are they an independent contractor, with their own
insurance or liability, or are they working for a larger trucking
or shipping company? If they are working for a larger company, then
that company may bear responsibility.
Was the truck properly maintained?
Additionally, if there was a fault in the construction of the
truck, the company that manufactured the truck will share some of
In order to prevent accidents and avoid liability, truck drivers
and shipping companies have a number of maintenance and safety
obligations that must be fulfilled before the truck even goes onto
Within 24 hours before driving, the
truck must be inspected for defects, and any minor found must be
repaired. If major defects are found, the vehicle may not be
operated. The inspection includes the electrical system, wheels,
hitches, power train, lamps, and steering, among others. This
inspection must be logged. Additionally, any faults that develop
with the truck during a trip must be logged by the driver or
The truck must undergo an annual
Any cargo must be properly secured so
that it does not fall off the vehicle during transit.
Any hazardous materials must be
stored in containers with safety marks, be accompanied with a
shipping document with an appropriate emergency phone number, and
be driven by an operator who has received training in the transport
of dangerous goods.
In addition to the maintenance and safety rules, a truck driver
has a number of rights that cannot be waived which are closely
related to safety, which include:
10 hours off-duty in a day.
Not driving more than 13 hours in any
In 7 consecutive days, not driving
more than 70 total hours.
In 14 consecutive days, not driving
more than 120 total hours.
In addition to the extra precautions that truck drivers must
take regarding maintenance, safety, and working hours, the general
responsibilities of any driver after an accident still apply. These
Remaining on the scene of the
accident until the police arrive. Failure to do so causes the
accident to become a hit-and-run, with severe legal penalties.
Ensuring that anybody injured
receives immediate medical attention. Any personal injuries to
yourself must also receive immediate attention, as well as being
Documenting the accident and its
cause, including taking pictures of the scene if practical.
If possible, exchanging contact and
insurance information with any other drivers involved.
Informing your supervisors of the
accident and its circumstances.
Filing an insurance claim as soon as
possible after the accident has occurred.
Under B.C.'s former and current Limitation Act, the limitation period for a Plaintiff's claim can be extended on the basis of a Defendant having acknowledged in writing some liability for the cause of action.
Automobile drivers, like fine wine, tend to get better with age. Older drivers can draw on a wealth of experience from their years on the road to assist them when faced by a variety of dangerous conditions.
The insurance industry will be interested in Ledcor Construction Ltd v. Northbridge Indemnity Insurance Co because of principles the Supreme Court of Canada applied to the "faulty workmanship" exclusion in a Builders' Risk policy.
For the first time in BC, a Court has decided that an insured is entitled to special costs, rather than the lower tariff costs, solely because they were successful in a coverage action against their insurer.
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