Who is Responsible for a Commercial Trucking Accident?

In accidents involving commercial or large trucks, which typically result in catastrophic injuries to the victim, one of the main concerns is to determine liability. It is critically important to hold the at-fault parties accountable in order to be able to financially recover from an accident and obtain the compensatory damages that you deserve.

There could be multiple parties involved in trucking accidents, including at least one agency or company, depending on what type of truck driver operates the vehicle. Commercial truck drivers may have been engaged through a company but may also operate as independent contractors. The attorney must evaluate all aspects closely to determine liability.

The Potentially Liable Party

The cause of the truck crash will help identify the liable parties. A truck accident may occur due to a manufacturing defect in the vehicle. Another truck manufacturer could equip the truck with pulleys or ropes to keep the load secure on the vehicle. The agency that employs the truck driver may have failed to perform a thorough inspection.

In addition, if the agency is potentially liable for the incident, the company or employer may be at fault for the crash. There are third parties that could be held responsible for the accident. Finally, the truck driver may be fully responsible for the collision or share fault with another party.

The Truck Operator

A commercial truck driver may be responsible for a crash for various reasons. They may have broken the law, had an operational problem within the vehicle, or been negligent. Moreover, if they were on alcohol or other substances, they may be held solely responsible for the accident.

The risks of a collision may also increase due to other factors, such as driving for long hours on a single trip, drowsy driving, driving at night, and medical conditions. It is usually the trucker who is held responsible for the property damage or injury without any other individual or party at fault.

The Trucking Company

The company that employs truck drivers is often a liable party. This is difficult to establish unless an attorney or expert is able to throw light on certain issues. These matters may include an incomplete inspection, the company skimping on safety, unreasonable expectations that may push the trucker further than they should in trying to meet deadlines, leading to an accident.

In the outcomes of many investigations, it is shown that the trucking company and a truck manufacturer share the responsibility for an accident due to defective equipment and compromising on safety to increase speed. An attorney and expert witness may identify these elements when investigating the company after an incident.

The Truck Owner

The truck owner may be held accountable for an accident if the trucking company does not own the vehicle but uses it and provides the truck for a driver. It may be incumbent upon the owner to inspect the vehicle, check the engine, maintain the tires and internal systems of the truck.

The owner of the truck must upkeep necessary components, such as brakes, fluids inside the truck, tires, and electronic systems. The inspection and maintenance of commercial trucks are under the jurisdiction of the federal government. If a truck owner fails to follow these federal regulations, they may be held liable for damages.

The Manufacturer or Cargo Loaders

Some accidents occur due to the cargo on the vehicle. If the loader fails to thoroughly inspect the load and secure it correctly, they may be considered to be at fault when equipment or boxes fall off and damage another automobile or injure someone. Besides, the truck parts manufacturer may also be held responsible if a faulty part caused a crash.

A malfunction in truck parts could cause a tire blowout, defective brakes, or mechanical failure. In such cases, the manufacturer of the parts is often held responsible for the accident and liable to pay compensation to the victim.

Product Liability Claims in a Truck Wreck

The category of legal claims called strict liability encompasses product liability. When a person sustains an injury due to a faulty product, product liability may arise. The trucking company is in charge of the upkeep of the truck. However, there can be issues in truck design or production.

Below are the most common product liability claims involved in truck accidents:

  • Faulty trailer hitch
  • Brake failure
  • Coupling systems
  • Hydraulics
  • Load straps
  • Steering issues
  • Tires
  • Locks

For most passenger vehicles, a single manufacturer produces and assembles the components. On the other hand, big rigs can have parts that are sourced from multiple manufacturers. In cases where a truck accident occurs due to failure of a truck’s part, the manufacturer of the vehicle or the part might be a liable party.

Schedule a Case Review with an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Today

Lawsuits involving large or commercial trucks are often more complicated compared to those that only involve passenger vehicles. There are more parties and defenses associated with truck accidents, and the defendants are typically large companies with strong legal teams working for them.

At the law offices of Stein & Fox, we have a comprehensive industry network and the capability to prove responsibility in a truck crash lawsuit. We will make sure that the negligent parties are held liable for your losses. Call (770) 961-1700 for a free initial consultation with a skilled truck accident lawyer.

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