Under Illinois law, interstate carriers operating under an Interstate Commerce Commission Number (Motor Carrier Number) and displaying a company name on a truck are vicariously liable for the negligent actions of their drivers. A purpose of the Interstate Commerce Act is to protect persons injured by semi-trucks operated on public roadways by eliminating agency and scope of employment defenses in determining liability in personal injury suits caused by trucking accidents. This cause of action implements this goal.
This is done by placing full vicarious liability on the carrier for the negligent operations of its vehicles. Not all situations will qualify as a logo liability case. A plaintiff must prove that the operator of the truck was operating the truck through a lease agreement, with the carrier’s name and licensing number displayed on the side of the truck, hence “logo” liability. If the driver is not leasing the vehicle or is not operating under the carrier’s operating authority, then this cause of action should not apply.
Careful investigation must be taken into the contractual agreements entered into between the driver of the truck and the carrier/broker to determine if a valid logo liability claim might exist. If a plaintiff cannot establish logo liability, then the carrier/broker can assert defenses that the driver was an independent contractor, insulating the carrier/broker from liability in trucking claims.
Contact our attorneys with any questions you may have regarding trucking liability claims.