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When should a lawyer consider a broker’s liability?

Written by Steve Gursten Posted October 16th, 2014

Brokers have a duty to ensure their loads are being delivered by safe trucking companies

Commercial trucks

When a serious truck wreck occurs, the trucking company and  the truck driver are obviously the subject of legal discovery.

But what about third parties?

One third party that’s routinely is overlooked by attorneys who litigate truck accident cases is the broker.

Brokers who hire trucking companies to transport goods across the country have a legal duty to select safe trucking companies. In fact, if a broker does not hire a safe trucking company and a crash ensues due to the truck company’s negligence, the broker may be found negligent as well, if the broker fails to make an adequate inquiry into the safety record of the particular trucking company it selects.

3 things truck lawyers can do when investigating a broker’s role

So what should a lawyer be looking for when exploring whether a broker was negligent?

1. Did the broker due its due diligence?

A great place to start is looking at whether the broker did its due diligence before entrusting a trucking company.  Specifically, an attorney should look into whether  the broker even bothered to check the CSA scores.

2. Does the broker monitor safety?
Many brokers fail to make even this basic inquiry. CSA scores provide invaluable insight into whether or not a trucking company is safe. In fact, CSA scores are an important indicator available to the general public in determining whether a trucking company is safe.

3. Does the broker have its own files?
Find out whether the broker maintains its own independent files separate from the trucking company so that it can keep track of a trucking company’s safety scores historically over time. It’s not enough to just look once and never follow up again.

Steven Gursten Photo

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.
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