According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, each year there are about 400,000 police-reported crashes involving heavy vehicles. These vehicles stand out because they are large in size, stature, and weigh more than 10,000 pounds but determining who’s liable in the case of an accident involving one of these behemoths isn’t always so easy.
If you’re involved in an accident with a truck, then you’re more than likely to obtain serious damages and injuries. Working with a truck accident lawyer could help you ensure that you hold the correct party responsible for your damages.
Who’s involved in a truck accident?
The commercial vehicle industry is usually assembled by multiple logistics professionals that handle certain aspects of delivering goods, and transporting materials. Commercial trucks generally hire drivers that operate trucks owned or leased by the company. Sometimes commercial drivers work independently without going through an agency and therefore can be held solely liable for any accidents they cause.
Potentially Liable Trucking Accident Parties
How an accident is caused, who was driving, and what vehicle they were using can all make a big difference in determining liability in your truck accident claim. Consider the following parties when analyzing who could be liable for a truck accident:
If a piece of faulty equipment or a truck add-on caused your accident, then the manufacturer of the equipment could be held liable. In the case of user error or improper usage of the equipment, then the driver or company that maintains the vehicle could be liable.
When a truck driver breaks the law, drives recklessly, operates the vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, participates in distracted driving practices, or fails to maintain the commercial vehicle in a safe manner, then he/she could be held responsible for the crashes they cause. There are statutes in place that mandate how long a driver can operate a commercial vehicle without rest and failure to follow these rules could contribute to sole liability.
Many trucking companies operate large fleets of vehicles with just as many drivers on staff and maintaining all of these vehicles, personnel, and equipment could lead to errors. Sometimes companies skip steps, avoid inspections to save money, and encourage unsafe driving practices. It has also been found that companies don’t always do their due diligence with hiring new drivers and sometimes find drivers with poor driving histories. An experienced truck attorney will investigate companies and determine if they’re operating in good faith and when they’re not, prove they’re responsible for their negligence.
Often trucking companies lease their trucks from other independent owners or companies that are responsible for maintaining their vehicles. The truck’s owner, therefore, is normally responsible for the truck’s upkeep and a failure to do so could make them liable in a crash. Brakes, fluids, tires, and electronic equipment maintenance are essential to ensuring that these humongous vehicles also are safe. The owner of a truck is normally responsible for making sure the vehicle is always in accordance with federal trucking guidelines before it takes the road, and if it is not, then they can be held liable for breaching their duty of care.
Failing to properly secure the cargo of a truck could lead to an accident. In the case of transporting dangerous and flammable materials, failing to properly secure these items, may have devastating effects.
If you’ve been involved in a trucking accident, then consult with an attorney about how you can recuperate financial damages for your losses.