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Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident?

Truck accidents are often more complex than accidents involving standard passenger vehicles. For one, truck drivers are held to different standards and federal regulations. Although these laws and protocols are meant to promote safety, truck accidents account for an overwhelming number of injury-causing accidents each year.

 

Truck accidents are also unique in that there may be a number of parties who may be held liable. For truck accident victims looking to recover compensation, it is important to establish every individual or business potentially responsible for the accident. This affords injured parties the best chances of recovering the compensation they are entitled to under the law.

In accidents involving semi-trucks, tractor trailers, 18-wheelers or other large commercial vehicles, a personal injury attorney should be consulted. With their expertise, they can investigate the cause of your accident and help hold all responsible parties liable for your injuries.

The Truck Driver

Like anyone operating a vehicle, truck drivers must follow the so-called rules of the road that help keep everyone safe. Truckers must also follow guidelines and rules set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These safety standards make sure truck drivers are not spending too much time behind the wheel without rest periods, are not operating vehicles under the influence, and keep detailed documentation of their driving times and vehicle inspection reports.

If a truck driver fails to follow FMCSA standards or violates general roadway laws, they can be held liable if their actions result in an accident.

The Truck Driver’s Employer

Companies that hire truckers have a duty to ensure their drivers have commercial truck licenses and are qualified to operate such large vehicles on the road. As part of this responsibility, they must thoroughly screen candidates by conducting background checks on them prior to offering any contracts of employment. Once a driver is hired, trucking companies are supposed to randomly screen their drivers for instances of drug or alcohol use.

When a truck company employs an unsuitable driver or encourages their employees to ignore federal safety regulations, they can ultimately be held responsible for any accidents their drivers cause.

Freight Companies

The truck driver is usually not responsible for loading cargo onto their vehicle. Their focus is hauling cargo from Point A to Point B. This means that a separate entity, usually a freight company, handles the process of loading and securing freight onto a commercial truck for transport.

An accident that occurs as a result of improperly secured cargo or hazardous material that was not correctly labeled can result in liability being placed with the freight or cargo company.

The Truck’s Manufacturer

Commercial trucks have many intricate parts and components that allow them to carry such heavy loads over long distances. As part of their upkeep, they regularly undergo routine maintenance to keep them roadworthy and safe to operate.

If equipment fails due to a vehicle defect or an improperly installed part, the truck’s manufacturer or repair shop can be held liable for any resulting accidents and injuries.

With so many potentially at-fault parties involved in a truck accident, it can be difficult to determine who to hold liable. Only experienced truck accident attorneys can investigate the cause of a truck accident and advocate on behalf of injured parties to help them recover compensation from those responsible for their injuries.