Liability On Damage Done To Trailer

Topic 13254 | Page 1

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Frances F.'s Comment
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Okay, so I hear that a trailer gets door damage while being loaded or unloaded by either another trailer or not sure who, so my friend was sleeping but was told to unhook the trailer and leave it, they will move it if needed, get it is over mid night, how can the driver be responsible for the damage to trailer door if he was not the one that did the damage and don't know as he was not their to witness it. I don't think its fair for that as how can the driver be watching the trailer 24/7 if driver has to sleep and load was not going to be ready at any given time.

Dutch's Comment
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In the industry, we call that type damage "phantom damage." Someone is responsible for it, but with no witnesses, it gets filed into the phantom damage category.

You must adamantly deny any involvement, and if the accident dept. tries to file it against you, you need to immediately go over their head at company headquarters. Usually trailer damage is not near as serious or costly as tractor damage, but you don't want to be blamed for either when you are innocent of any involvement.

It helps tremendously if you don't have several accidents already on your record, as they are less likely to challenge your version of the story.

Frances F.'s Comment
member avatar

In the industry, we call that type damage "phantom damage." Someone is responsible for it, but with no witnesses, it gets filed into the phantom damage category.

You must adamantly deny any involvement, and if the accident dept. tries to file it against you, you need to immediately go over their head at company headquarters. Usually trailer damage is not near as serious or costly as tractor damage, but you don't want to be blamed for either when you are innocent of any involvement.

It helps tremendously if you don't have several accidents already on your record, as they are less likely to challenge your version of the story.

okay, so how should he handle that....they owner of the truck he drives, may charge him for the damage, we are talking about a small business owner of two trucks...

Frances F.'s Comment
member avatar

In the industry, we call that type damage "phantom damage." Someone is responsible for it, but with no witnesses, it gets filed into the phantom damage category.

You must adamantly deny any involvement, and if the accident dept. tries to file it against you, you need to immediately go over their head at company headquarters. Usually trailer damage is not near as serious or costly as tractor damage, but you don't want to be blamed for either when you are innocent of any involvement.

It helps tremendously if you don't have several accidents already on your record, as they are less likely to challenge your version of the story.

he has a clean record of 18 years and no accidents...also, was given two tickets same state for overload, he moved axels and still over load, says because the way it was loaded.

Dutch's Comment
member avatar

If it were me, and I didn't cause the damage, but I got charged for it, I would instantly be looking for another job. During the hiring process with the next company, I would explain to the recruiter that was the exact reason I left.

If challenged, I would suggest to the owner of the company, that he should have had cameras installed in his equipment, if he knew it would be left unattended for extended periods, without driver supervision. A driver has to eat, shower, and use the restroom from time to time, and that won't ever change.

In these situations, you always want to instantly report something like this as soon as you are aware of it. If you do that, you have in most cases done all you could possibly do, to protect your employers assets.

Frances F.'s Comment
member avatar

Dutch, what about the tickets, is he liable to pay those even tho, he did all possible with the axels and had no way to unload the produce or shift them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
If it were me, and I didn't cause the damage, but I got charged for it, I would instantly be looking for another job

Man, you're just all about jumping ship today, aren't ya Dutch? Someone asked about being under contract like two hours ago and you talked about how you also bailed on a contract. Now you're saying one accusation or misunderstanding about damage to a trailer and BAM - jump ship again.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say quitting your job or bailing on contracts might not be the only solution to every problem.

wtf-2.gif

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Wow, been lurking a bit cause just real busy. Small owners are a different breed than bigger companies. They should also be more in tune to the real world so too speak. Being reasonable with the owner and explaining everything from A-Z which should be verifyable with the customer should work. But if your friend doesn't keep his cool during the discussion then all he will do is butt heads and turn the whole issue into a battle of wills between himself and the owner. As far as the overweight tickets I'm confussed. How did he get 2 in one day with the same load??? It's the drivers responsibility to ensure the load is legal. End of debate. If it was a preload and he didn't check his paperwork and scale it at the closest scale thats his own fault. I once got into a discussion at a shipper and they told me they didn't care what a cat scale said they knew the load was legal and if I didn't believe them they would just unload me and cancel. I asked which dock they wanted to unload in. They were stunned and back pedaled but I stuck too my guns in a proffessional manner and they lost out. They had stuck 2 extra pallets on the back and when I did the math that was the exact amount I was over.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

CAT Scale:

A network of over 1,500 certified truck scales across the U.S. and Canada found primarily at truck stops. CAT scales are by far the most trustworthy scales out there.

In fact, CAT Scale offers an unconditional Guarantee:

“If you get an overweight fine from the state after our scale showed your legal, we will immediately check our scale. If our scale is wrong, we will reimburse you for the fine. If our scale is correct, a representative of CAT Scale Company will appear in court with the driver as a witness”

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Frances, by definition the responsible party for any violation, including overweight, is the driver at the moment a Law Enforcement Officer starts an investigation - not your DM , not the dock supervisor.

If the driver has to leave the shipper to get a certified weight and it's over 80,000, take the scale ticket back to the shipper and ask them to lighten the load. (Or off load!)

True, some shippers manage to get you to 79,920, then all you can do is move the tandems.

(Note, some shippers have their own scales, but if they're not certified, you use them as a guide only.)

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Chris the stick slinger's Comment
member avatar

As someone who got an overweight ticket, I can tell you Errol's above statement is almost word for word what the dot officer told me as he wrote me two tickets for one overweight violation. One from the state of TN and one for Brownsville city. Yea, the city one shocked me too....

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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