The trucking industry is one of the places known to be a quagmire of legal risks. If you paused for a minute to think of the myriad of legal issues facing the business, you would understand the label and why so many truck business owners have lawyers on speed dial. Some of the issues include cross border issues, cargo crimes, food safety regulations, legalization issues, new technology, and many more. Quite a lot, right? The big question is, how can you avoid these legal issues? Well, we have created a simple guide that will help you avoid legal issues in your trucking business.
Know the law
This is a key way to avoid legal issues, but unfortunately, it is often ignored by business owners. Yes, it is simple; you cannot stay on put if you do not understand what you are up against. As an entrepreneur, you need a good understanding of the laws affecting your business. For example, you should get acquainted on:
- Who is in charge of the trucking regulations?
- What are the licensing requirements?
- Hours of operation?
- What are the rules on driver drug testing?
- The electronic logging device rule etc.
- Any legal changes in the industry
Draft legal contracts
As you know, people tend to change their minds, and it is common in business. That is why it is essential to protect yourself and the business by drafting legal contracts to ink any agreements you engage in. Contracts will detail what is expected of each party hence reducing the likelihood of legal disputes.
A good Insurance cover is key!
The heavy risks and responsibilities associated with the trucking business should drive you to buy the best insurance that will have you covered in case of issues. For example, it is essential that you have good insurance cover to protect you in the event of damaged equipment or a serious accident. According to a legal firm representing car accident victims, trucking businesses that don’t have comprehensive insurance risk losing their business to costly lawsuits. So, talk to an insurance agent or broker, discuss your business and get into speed with the different insurance covers available.
They will help you understand the different covers like professional liability insurance, commercial business insurance, and general liability insurance, etc. The bottom line is that you need to protect your business, and a cover is a great shield in a trucking venture.
Keep accurate, timely records
Data is important in the business world. Here is an example, a client files a lawsuit for wrong delivery, accuses you of shipping incorrect items, paying an excess fee, and also for insults during the process. Think of how this will end if you have no evidence to back such allegations. Then pause and reflect on how it will help if you can provide all communication; phone calls, emails, records of time and date of the agreement, payment receipts, etc. Well, always remember that good, consistent records are a source of a good defense in case of a lawsuit
Train your staff to handle clients well
Ever wondered why a small mistake from your team landed a business in court? This can happen to you because of the demanding nature of the job. Sometimes your drivers or staff can get so exhausted and find themselves on the wrong side with your customers. On a positive note, you can avoid legal issues resulting from poor customer service by training your staff. Train them to make reparation in-house in case of complaints or claims. If handled well, the customer will certainly let matters be handled on your side rather than seeking resolutions from the courts.
Write down company policies and procedures
As a business, you face the risk of being sued by your employees and customers. One way you can reduce the chances of being sued is by having effective and current policies in place. Remember, policy formulation is not a one time job; you must update your policies often to meet the needs of the ever-changing regulatory framework. Nonexistent and insufficient policies pose a legal threat to your business. After drafting, provide job manuals for your employees to learn the policies and perform their jobs effectively. Remember to keep it simple. Research has shown that the more complex and wordy a policy and the procedures are, the less likely they will be effective in your business.
You might have the intention of running a clean, productive, trucking business. That is great! Sadly, both the industry and people will present challenges that can hurt your business. The best way to stay safe is to seal any legal loopholes and protect yourself and your business from unforeseen problems.