Liability of motor carrier or cargo broker for negligent selection of independent contractor
Occasionally, a motor carrier or freight broker may be held liable for negligent hiring of an incompetent independent contractor if it should have known, or might by the exercise of reasonable care could have found out, that the contractor was not competent.
A competent contractor is defined as "a contractor who possesses the knowledge, skill, experience, and available equipment which a reasonable man would realize that a contractor must have in order to do the work which he is employed to do without creating unreasonable risk of injury to others.” A company whose core purpose is the interstate transportation of property on the highways has a duty to use reasonable care in the hiring of an independent trucker, including a duty to make an inquiry into that trucker’s qualifications, knowledge, skill, experience, available equipment, financial responsibility, and compliance with laws governing motor carriers. Peachtree-Cain Co. v. McBee, 254 Ga. 91, 327 S.E.2d 188 (1985); Puckrein v. ATI Transport, Inc., 186 N.J. 563, 897 A.2d 1034 (N.J., 2006); Schramm v. Foster, 341 F.Supp.2d 536, Fed. Carr. Cas. P 84,364 (D. Md. 2004); Restatement (Second) of Torts § 411 (1965); Reuben I. Friedman, Annotation, When is Employer Chargeable with Negligence in Hiring Careless, Reckless, or Incompetent Independent Contractor, 78 A.L.R. 3d 910, 916 (1977); Lee & Lyndahl, Modern Tort Law § 8.03 (1991) W. Page Keeton et al., Prosser and Keeton on the Law of Torts § 71 (5th ed.1984).
The Shigley Law Firm represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a "SuperLawyer" in Atlanta Magazine and one of the "Legal Elite" in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks.