Who Can Be Held Liable in a Truck Accident?

Who Can Be Held Liable in a Truck Accident

When a truck accident happens, you may be facing medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and reduced quality of life. For you to receive the compensation you’re entitled to, liability must be established. In commercial truck accidents, more than one party may be at fault.

Here, we’ll discuss the different parties involved, how liability is determined, and how our truck accident lawyers can help you.

The Truck Driver

When evaluating who is liable, the truck driver is frequently considered first. If the driver’s carelessness or recklessness resulted in the collision, they might face consequences.

Examples of driver negligence include:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Violating hours-of-service (HOS) regulations

Truck drivers are required to follow strict training and licensing requirements. If a driver fails to adhere to these standards and causes an accident, they may be liable for the resulting damages.

The Trucking Company

Employers are generally liable for the actions of their employees while on the job.

The trucking company may be held accountable if they:

  • Fail to properly maintain the truck
  • Overload or improperly secure cargo
  • Encourage or force drivers to violate HOS regulations
  • Hire drivers with poor safety records or inadequate training

Factors such as the driver’s record, the company’s safety history, and hiring practices will be considered when determining the trucking company’s liability. It’s crucial to preserve evidence like driver logs and black box data to support your claim against the trucking company.

The Truck or Parts Manufacturers

Sometimes, a commercial truck accident may be caused by a defective truck or faulty components. Under the doctrine of product liability, the maker of the truck or any of its components might be held accountable if this is the case.

Among the faulty components that could cause an accident are:

  • Faulty brakes
  • Defective tires
  • Malfunctioning coupling devices

Product liability claims may be related to flaws in the design, the manufacturing process, or the failure to alert customers to possible dangers. Proving a product defect claim can be challenging and may require expert testimony and thorough investigation.

The Cargo Loader or Shipper

Serious accidents may result from a truck tipping over or becoming unstable due to improperly loaded or secured cargo. The shipper or cargo loader may be responsible for the damages in these cases.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations govern the obligations of motor carriers, shippers, and intermediaries concerning the loading and securing of cargo.

In some cases, improper cargo loading may also violate Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) workplace safety regulations. If violating these regulations contributes to an accident, the cargo loader or shipper may face additional liability.

Other Third Parties

There are several other parties that could potentially share liability in a commercial truck accident, depending on the circumstances.

These include:

  • Other motorists, if the accident involves multiple vehicles
  • Government entities, if road hazards or improper signage contributed to the accident
  • Dram shops, if the truck driver was overserved alcohol at a bar or restaurant prior to the accident

It’s important to cast a wide net when investigating liability in a commercial truck accident, as multiple parties may share responsibility for your damages.

Determining Liability After a Truck Accident

The determination of liability in a truck accident typically involves a detailed investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Some of the key factors that are considered include:

  1. Negligence — Investigators will examine whether any of the parties involved (the truck driver, the trucking company, the cargo loader, the vehicle manufacturer, etc.) acted negligently in a way that contributed to the accident. This could include things like driver error, improper maintenance, overloading the truck, or design flaws.
  2. Traffic laws and regulations — Compliance with relevant traffic laws and federal/state regulations governing the trucking industry is analyzed. Violations of these rules can indicate liability.
  3. Environmental conditions — The investigators will look at weather, road conditions, visibility, and other environmental factors that may have played a role in the accident.
  4. Vehicle inspection and maintenance records — The truck’s maintenance history, including any recent repairs or inspections, is reviewed to identify any potential mechanical issues that could have contributed to the crash.
  5. Witness testimony and physical evidence — Statements from eyewitnesses and any physical evidence, such as skid marks, debris, or camera footage, are carefully examined.

The liability determination often involves a complex analysis of these various factors to establish the root cause(s) of the accident. The findings can then be used to apportion fault among the different parties involved, which in turn impacts any potential legal claims or insurance payouts.

Our Truck Accident Attorneys Are Here to Help

Determining who can be held liable in a commercial truck accident is a complex process that requires thorough investigation and legal experience. From the truck driver and trucking company to manufacturers, cargo loaders, and other third parties, multiple entities may share responsibility for the accident and your resulting damages.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial truck accident, it’s essential to consult with an experienced truck accident lawyer who can guide you through the process and fight for your rights.

At Onward Injury Law, our injury attorneys have been serving clients in Bloomington and throughout Central Illinois for years. With over 300 five-star reviews and recognition as a top-rated injury lawyer in the Bloomington Pantagraph’s Reader’s Choice Awards, we have the knowledge and dedication to help you maximize your recovery and get your life back on track.

Don’t try to navigate the complex world of commercial truck accident liability alone. Contact Onward Injury Law today for a free consultation, and let us fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.

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