Trucking Accidents: Who Is Liable?
Determining liability in truck-related accidents is tricky. Of course, no one wants to admit they are at fault for what happened. That means expensive bills, a bad reputation, and potentially criminal charges. However, the liable party should absolutely be held responsible when their negligence led to injury or property damage.
Four main parties are most often held liable for trucking accidents.
Just as a driver of a passenger vehicle can be held liable after a crash, so can the driver of a commercial truck. Mistakes happen, but drivers of large trucks hold extra responsibility when it comes to safe driving.
There are multiple reasons why the truck driver may be found liable.
- Driving under the influence
- While everyone would hope that no one would get behind the wheel of a commercial truck while intoxicated, it has happened.
- Alcohol and drugs have many effects on drivers, including:
- Blurred vision
- Slowed reaction time
- Reduced concentration
- Impulsive behavior
When a truck driver is experiencing these symptoms, it can be a recipe for disaster.
It is widely known that truck drivers have long hours on the road. Some are gone for days or weeks at a time, with low-quality sleep each night. While this is not an ideal situation for the driver, it is also not ideal for others on the road.
Unfortunately, truck driver fatigue is one of the most common causes of accidents.
Truck drivers must stay 100% focused on the road. If the driver instead focuses on texting, adjusting music, or eating while driving, this could easily lead to an accident.
These are just some of the many circumstances that may lead to the driver being held liable for a truck-related accident.
The Company The Driver Works For
When a trucking company hires a driver, they take some responsibility for the actions of that driver.
The company is expected to:
- Conduct a thorough background check for all drivers
- Offer truck driver training
- Conduct drug screens to ensure the employees are drug-free
If the company doesn’t follow through with these safety measures, and the driver in question is found liable for an accident, the company itself is also partially responsible.
This is an example of respondeat superior, which means that “a party is responsible for the acts of its agents.” In this scenario, the company is responsible for the acts of its truck drivers.
The Manufacturer of the Truck Parts
Cars break down, and so do trucks. If faulty truck parts were the reason for an accident, the manufacturer is responsible.
Common manufacturer errors include:
- Tire defects (leading to blowouts)
- Faulty brakes
- Failed steering
Because a lot of manufacturers are international, figuring out who to hold liable can be complicated. An attorney can help you track down this information.
The Truck Owner
In some cases, trucks are owned by individuals rather than by a company. The individual truck owner is responsible for getting the truck serviced, ensuring all parts are functioning properly, and providing general maintenance.
If the owner does not provide proper upkeep, and that negligence leads to an accident, the owner may be held responsible.
Can Multiple Parties Be Held Liable?
Yes! If the truck accident was due to multiple factors listed above, more than one party could be held liable.
When multiple people or companies are liable for the accident, it can be difficult to keep the information, records, and communication organized. A personal injury attorney can help you manage this throughout your case.
Scranton Personal Injury Attorney
Truck drivers and companies will often avoid responsibility for accidents and make it difficult for those who deserve compensation for their damages. Some people decide that it isn’t worth the stress and don’t file a personal injury claim. At Rogan Law, our truck accident attorney can assist with collecting evidence, communicating with insurance, and more. Don’t be discouraged from getting the compensation you deserve. Call today at (570) 906-8532 to get started.