Say you’ve been trucking for over a decade now and you’ve never had an accident. Then one day a car collides with your truck as you’re merging onto the highway. Suddenly you not only have a possibly irate driver to deal with, but you must find a way to explain the accident to your employer and their insurance company.
Keep in mind that your employer’s insurance only goes so far. It likely won’t cover you for driving a personal vehicle home after a shift. The accident must occur while performing work duties to be your employer’s responsibility. In these cases, you need to take pictures and contact your employer, who will take over the rest of the claims process.
But can you be fired for just one accident?
The short answer is yes. Unfortunately, one accident can cause termination depending on several factors. Reasons a trucker may be fired include:
- Avoidable accidents. If you’re at-fault for multiple accidents, the trucking company may terminate your position. This also includes colliding with objects like low bridges. One accident may not necessarily cause termination, though processes differ company to company.
- Accidents that lead to damaged client property. A trucker may be in trouble if client property is lost or damaged due to an avoidable accident.
- Not following procedures. Not following procedures in general may get an employee fired. But for truckers, an accident caused by not adhering to trucking rules and regulations can not only get you fired but prevent you from getting hired by another trucking company.
- Driving distractedly or under the influence. A company is almost sure to fire a trucker who is caught driving under the influence. In most places, a DUI/DWI and distracted driving can also land you in jail.
- Violence. Road rage happens. But if you’re in an accident, even if it’s not your fault, and get into a fight with the other driver or passengers, the trucking company has cause to fire you.
Violations or accidents such as these will most likely go on your DAC report, which makes it difficult to find another trucking job. Truckers are not always responsible for accidents. If you feel unsafe because of working conditions, you can report them to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) without fear of retaliation from the company. If you believe you’ve been wrongfully terminated, you’re within your rights to seek legal action.
Also Read: Liability Coverage Options Within Trucking Insurance