Questions about company control of a driver

If the defendant driver in a car accident was working and was under the control of an employer at the time of the car accident then the driver’s employer may be responsible in a lawsuit for any negligence of that driver.

The following outline shows the type of information that your personal injury lawyer might ask of a defendant driver or of an executive of the driver’s employer to establish that the company was in control of the driver at the time of the car accident.

Relationship to the company (for an executive)

  • What is the general nature of the company’s business?

  • What are your duties in the company?
  • Who was the company executive in overall charge of operations on the date of the accident?
  • Was there a safety supervisor in charge of the Company’s safety program?

Relationship to the company (for the driver)

  • When were you hired?

  • How did you apply for the job?
  • Did you have to take Company tests?
  • Is there a written contract of employment between you and the company?
  • Did the company furnish you with any safety manuals, vehicle operation manuals, or personnel/human resources materials?
  • Did the company do an annual review of your driving?
  • If yes, who did the review and why?

Authority to operate the car

  • Were you operating the car under the authority of an ICC permit, or a State regulatory body permit?

  • If so, was the permit issued to the company or to you or to someone else?
  • What are the permit numbers?
  • When were the permits issued?
  • Were you operating the car as a transport for merchandise/materials for the Company?
  • If so, what were the merchandise/materials of the company?
  • Who authorized the transport of the materials?
  • What was the benefit to the company that the materials were transported?

Company files and records

  • Does the Company have a personnel file, or records, on this Driver?

  • Does the Company have a safety file, or records, on this Driver?
  • Does the Company have a file, or records, with copies of the Driver’s driving logs?
  • Does the Company have a record of payments made to the Driver for the year before and the year after the accident?
  • Does the Company have any file, or records, on this Driver?
  • Does the Company have a file, or records, on this accident?
  • Does the Company have a file, or records, on the specific trip involved in this accident?

The car involved

  • Was Company the owner of the car?

  • If so, what records of ownership exist, such as title and purchase contract?
  • Was Company the lessor or lessee of the car?
  • If so, what records of leasing exist, such as title and purchase contract?

Driver’s relationship to the company on the date of the car accident

  • On this trip involved in this car accident, did the driver get any paperwork from company, or have to deliver any
  • paperwork to the company, or make any reports to the company?

  • Could the company take the driver off the job he was on?
  • Could the company substitute or add another driver?
  • Could the company direct where and when the driver drove?
  • Could the company direct the speed of how Driver drove?
  • Could the company prevent the driver from starting the trip, if it wanted?
  • Did the company inspect the vehicle?
  • Was there any record made of company inspection of the vehicle?
  • Does the company maintain a personnel file on the driver?
  • Was the driver paid by the hour or some other basis?
  • Did the driver turn in any trip or driver logs to the company for this trip?
  • Did the driver turn in any expenses or report of trip expenses to the company?
  • Did the company issue a check for the money to be paid to the driver for any expenses on the trip?
  • Did Company issue a check for the money to be paid to the driver as compensation for this trip (mileage or per trip) or for the time during which this trip occurred?
  • Did Driver perform services exclusively for the company on the date of the accident?
  • Did the company have dispatchers that dispatched the driver on the trip he was on?
  • Was there cargo in the vehicle? If so, who owned the cargo and was the driver transporting cargo for the company?

Reports after the car accident

  • After the car accident, to whom in the company did the driver report the fact that an accident had occurred?

  • Why was that report made?
  • After the car accident, did the driver have the vehicle repaired? If so, what was done and who paid for the repairs?
  • After the car accident, did the driver have immediate hospital or medical expenses? If so, what was done and who paid for the medical expenses?

Authority of inspections

  • Who has inspected the car since the accident?

  • Who gave that person permission to inspect the car?
  • What was the result of that inspection?

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