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getting into minor accident while driving company truck

by Chaz

Resident of MA - trucking company recently fired from was in NH on border.

I am a professional truck driver of 17 years. Was laid off in February from CLASS A trucking company in MA that I was employed with for over 9 years. Applied for unemployment benefits and drew one check from the state before starting a new job I felt fortunate to find in this economy. Worked like a dog without any issues for 9 1/2 weeks and was in a minor accident while backing out of tight quarters - hit a parked vehicle. Minor damage. Was fired for this in a most unprofessional way - end of story. I called Unemployment and asked if I could be put back on unemployment under my original Feb claim - need to wait 6 weeks for answer... Asked owner to lay me off but would not- I am 55 year old man - wife, family mortgage...

Hi Chaz,

And you are also very economical with words:)

First, you need to wait for Mass to issue the determination.

I seriously doubt that Massachusetts of all states will find a one time accident was misconduct .. unless you failed to report it to the employer as they require by rule or policy. If by chance they do deny you .. appeal.

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I'm worried my husband may get fired
by: Anonymous

My husband has been a truck driver going on 2 years he has had no accidents till he started working with this company 3 months ago. In. The last 2 weeks he was parked at truck stop and woke up to realize his front bumper had been hit while he was asleep, he reported it. He was stopped on an exit ramp to go to a truck stop when another trucker I front of him had pulled up to far and backed up into his truck my husband also reported this he was not at fault for either but tonight he was an accident and was found at fault and received a ticket. He was a left turning lane with a car to the right in straight lane at red light he realized he was going the wrong way checked his mirrors didn't see the car turned on his turn signal and proceeded to get in the straight lane when the light turned green hitting the car. He was cited for improper lane use.

Will he be fired?

I can't say whether his employer will fire him, or not because that is an employer's decision alone to make.

I do however, address the issue of work related misconduct and how/if that decision to terminate an "at will" employment relationship and whether that decision rises to an ability to prove misconduct, for the purpose of then denying unemployment benefits.

Or if the employee might be able to rebut why their termination was for something other than work related misconduct.

I would suggest you begin with reading the portions of employer's employee handbook that cover accidents .. and the section that explains what his expectations might be, with regard to progressive discipline, since even non-fault accidents are likely going to be a documented incident, placed in his personnel file, by the employer.

I was with the company for a month had one accident, two weeks later I had a second accident and was fired.
by: Vincent

I am 25 have a class A CDL here's my story. I was with the company for a month had one accident, two weeks later I had a second accident and was fired. I believe the first accident was my fault, but the second one the guy was past the stop sign when he stopped. I was fired due to this. I have been waiting to hear something from UC PA but they told me I still have to wait another 4 weeks.
I did not willfully hit either vehicle.
I tried to conduct myself in a professional manner. I did the accident report before I left the seen of the accident both times.
I went dropped off my load and reloaded and returned to shop.
when the dispatcher arrived to the shop told me to go for drug test, upon returning to shop I was terminated. Please help me to at least know what to expect. I didn't have any write ups no late to work nothing but these accidents.

But you left out the most important detail. Who received the ticket in each of these accidents?

wrongful termination
by: Anonymous

I had a non injury accident and was suspended for a week before being fired.the reason the company gave me for termination was they didn't wan to be dropped by the insurance company. However, other drivers with more severe accidents are still working. I was awarded unemployment benefits


Congratulations on being awarded benefits. But to avoid any confusion, I want to make a point about the term " wrongful termination ".

Your termination might have been wrong by moral standards and even according to unemployment law standards which insist that the reason must be willful misconduct to deny benefits.

But I don't believe your termination could be call "wrongful termination" according to civil legal standards .. usually associated with that term .. unless you had some sort of binding employment contract.

It's a small point, but it points up the difference between unemployment law and other laws that govern the workplace.

Can I get unemployment if I had 2 minor accident and the 3 I cant prove is not my fault
by: John4913

Im class A driver in PA on 01/08/10 @ the intersection a lady fail to stop and hit my truck I got fire b/c of this accident. I do have 2 more minimum accident like 6 mths ago I been with this company 11 mths. They suspended me for 3 days and before I got back they fired me, also other driver had accident and never got suspent can I sue the company ? THX



What I really need to know is who received the ticket for the last accident.

If the other driver was at fault for the accident, clearly there would be no misconduct for the final incident.

If you failed to report the accident to the employer .. even if it wasn't your fault, that might still be enough if to fire you for misconduct.

Details matter.

resolution/another question
by: chaz

I am happy to say that my unemployment benefits were reinstated - and rather quickly. The determination was made within 2 weeks - best of luck to the NY driver.

You were very helpful with my question - and you may or may not know the answer to this but... thought I would ask.
I had mentioned my wife was to be laid off end of May - that did indeed happen. Her job is client based and is considering continuing to service her base - which would involve her being invoiced by vendors (in this case offset printing companies). She would inturn invoice her client base their charge along with her service fee in one lump sum. In order to not pay sales tax to her vendors, she would need to obtain a resale certificate and this form works in tandem w/MA Form TA-1- which basically registers her as a sole priopietorship - which now means she is in business? Will this immediately terminate her unemployment benefits? She would not receive any payment for her services for at least 4-6 weeks and in some cases her service fee falls under the amounnt she can make while on unemployment...
This may not be your area of expertise but thought worth asking.


Hi Chaz,

Glad to hear about the reinstatement of unemployment benefits.

Pursuing "self employment" generally isn't disqualifying in and of itself. What is disqualifying is when we don't continue searching for full-time work and limit ourselves to work based on our pursuit of self employment .. or anything else for that matter.

When we certify for continuing benefits we are required to report money earned in that week .. not money received ..

Limiting our availability for full-time work is something an employer would very likely report to the unemployment department if they had knowledge that we were "working".

Since there seems to be a relationship between what your wife will be doing now and the former employer .. I advise caution. She would have to give up the self employment venture in a heartbeat to take a regular "covered" job to continue to be eligible .. for partial unemployment and if she was working 40 hours a week she wouldn't be eligible for partials.

So my advice would be to tread very carefully and watch out for the employer, who could potentially protest the benefits at anytime by raising an issue about whether she is able and available and the money she is earning.

I realize it's a little confusing, so if you need me to clarify a point .. feel free to ask.

getting into minor accident while driving company truck
by: F152

I am a Class A truck driver of 11 1/2 years and I had a similar incident happen to me where I was fired for a minor accident. I am not too famiiliar with New York state employee vs. employer laws, but I was fired also. From what I hear or heard, an employer in the state of New York can fire an employee and does not have to have a specific reason for firing an employee. Does anyone know much about my situation, as far as my employer firing me for the minor accident? My question is a little different from the question Chaz had. Am I eligible to receive unemployemnt benefits in my situation?

Hello F152,

The type of employment situation you are talking about is called "at will" employment and nearly everyone in America is an at will employee.

It means an employer can fire you for any reasons or no reason .. they like as long as it is not illegal (an infringement of one of those employee rights we have) and you can quit for any reason you like.

As far as "accidents" go .. the employer would either have to prove negligence .. possibly through a series of minor accidents or if you make them lucky .. they may just have to prove you failed to "report" the minor accident per their procedures.

Unemployment benefits are paid when:

1. We quit for a personal reason that the statutes allow payment of benefits.

2. We quit for a reason due to the employment and the state agrees with us that it was for "good cause". (This is best done by our own record keeping and assertive course of action to correct any problems at work in an attempt to preserve the employment.)

3. The employer cannot prove or sustain that we were discharged for misconduct.

makes sense
by: chaz

I understand what you mean when explaining why they do what they do to keep folks from gaming the system.
Will do my best to hang tight and keep stress to a minimum. Just such bad times to get comfortable about waiting 6 weeks if I cannot find employment before then. Once again thank you very much for your rapid response. I wish the state could be this quick!

You are entirely welcome!!

Good Luck job hunting and hang in there.


another ?
by: Chaz

no - it was not - I am not even sure the owner was aware of what dispatch was doing....I was clearly told I was fired because of the accident -and only because of the accident. I understand his insurance rates will go up but I am certain this is not the first time in a company that has been around for over 8-+ years.
Was wondering if you knew the answer to my question about where the unemployment benefit would be drawn from - a combination of this 9 1/2 weeks and the X amount of years I have paid into the system?

thanks much again

Sorry, I do remember now you asked .. and yes, I do know .. imagine that.

The benefits will be coming from the employer that laid you off .. it's still the same claim and you are reopening it. The kicker is that it is this separation from work that is now controlling whether you will be able to collect those benefits again.

There is a reason for this and if any unemployed person who is wondering how to pay the bills .. just happens to be interested .. I'll tell you.

Even though this very short employment is not presently responsible for the benefits you would be paid .. they will eventually make it into your "base period" (this is not the same thing as a benefits year) if you file again a year from now and even longer.

Additionally .. you might imagine that if someone desired to work the system and basically only worked every other year .. not having the last employment control whether you can collect again .. well .. a person could quit or get fired intentionally and collect again .. just another example of preventative measures for the "bad apples".

Unemployment is really just a wage for looking for another job. It's not a welfare program and except with a very few exceptions, Employees do not pay into the system .. The unemployment program is funded entirely by employer taxes, both Federal and State. I think there is three states that might collect taxes from employees, but it truly a nominal amount and it may be to fund a Temporary disability unemployment program .. only five of those.

more info
by: Anonymous

why thank you for the quick response.

Absolutely took responsibility for the accident, exchanged papers and did all the proper procedures as a professional would do including calling in to the office to notify immediately. The woman's car I hit felt bad for me - and the damage was minimal(there was no damage to the truck). She realized how cramped the area was that I was forced to back out from. If the truck did not have a lift gate - I would not be here discussing - it was misjudgement from someone who has been driving w/a trailor (rather than a truck with a liftgate- which I rarely used at this new job also).
6 weeks is a long time to wait to find out if I am eligible considering our monthly expenses and the fact that my wife is being laid off end of May. In the meantime I will look for employment w/this firing thing dangling over my head.
Will my unemployment benefit be drawn off the old job or this one I just got fired from - or both?
One more comment: during the 9 1/2 weeks I was employed by this I was forced to fudge my log books 6-7 times because I was asked to extend my day beyond legal DOT R+R's. I was trying to do the right thing during this initial "trial" period in an effort to "do good" at this new job. So much for beng a nice guy.... I plan to keep this under the radar for now and use it as necessary ...
Well there's more words for you!

Hey Chaz:)

The logbook thing. If this is not what the employer fired you for .. forget it.. unless the employer brings it up .. it has no relevance to the reason you said you were fired .. does it?

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