After a truck accident, you may wonder if the trucker is liable for the crash. However, the situation is not always as straightforward as an accident involving two passenger cars.
Determining who is at fault for a truck accident will require extensive research. The investigation that ensues will ultimately tell the full story and show who is liable to compensate you for your damages.
When Is the Truck Driver Responsible for a Truck Accident?
Truckers driving commercial trucks are typically employees for a company or agency. Some truck drivers work independently or are self-employed. In that case, the driver may be completely responsible for their actions and hence, at fault for the crash.
Additionally, if a truck driver’s actions were deliberate, they would be held liable. While rare, it is not unheard of for truckers to get angry and deliberately crash into another vehicle as retaliation. Truck drivers who do something outside their employment scope can also be held liable for a truck accident.
Who Could Be Liable for a Truck Accident?
The parties that could be liable for a truck accident will depend on the results of the crash investigation. There may be multiple parties that can be held responsible in this situation.
The Truck Driver
As mentioned above, if the truck driver is the owner-operator of the vehicle, then they may be liable for the accident. You’d file a claim with their insurance policy to seek compensation for your damages.
The Trucking Company
Often, many truckers will be employed by a trucking company. If the truck driver that crashed into you works for a trucking company, the company could be liable if they were negligent in hiring unqualified drivers. They are also responsible for the negligence of their employees.
The Shipping Company
The way a truck’s cargo is loaded or secured is extremely important. Proper loading is needed so drivers can maintain control of their trucks, especially in emergencies. If the truck is loaded improperly and must stop suddenly, it can result in a catastrophic accident. The shipping company may be to blame when those responsible for loading the cargo don’t follow proper protocols.
When you drive down the road, you may notice trucks with branding for your favorite grocery stores, retailers, and other businesses. Some of these businesses own or operate their own trucks. If this kind of truck was responsible for your crash, you may need to file a claim with their liability insurance.
Manufacturers of trucks or trucking components may also be to blame when defects cause the driver to lose control unexpectedly. These defects are very serious, sometimes leading to fatalities on the road through no fault of the truck driver.
A Repair Shop
Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring their fleet of vehicles is roadworthy. This means having timely maintenance and repairs. When a truck has not been properly maintained, and this neglect results in a serious accident, the shop can be held legally responsible.
Another Driver’s Insurance Company
Perhaps another driver on the road started the whole thing. In the case of multi-vehicle collisions, the truck driver may not have been able to stop in time because of a reckless driver cutting them off. In this situation, the other driver and their insurance company would be the liable party.
A Governmental Entity
Roads that are improperly maintained pose a hazard to everyone. They can also lead to a trucking accident. It is important to take photos and videos of the accident scene to show what the roadway is like. If there are issues with the road, the state or local government may be responsible.
How to Determine Who Is Liable in Your Truck Accident
It will require an investigation into the accident to determine which parties are liable for the crash. This is why it is best to speak with a truck accident lawyer who can gather the appropriate evidence and work to pursue justice on your behalf.
In many trucking accidents, there is often more than one liable party. Only an experienced attorney will know who to hold accountable to get compensation that covers your damages.