In 2013 alone, more than 3,000 people were killed in accidents involving large trucks, and 95,000 people were injured in these crashes. Due to this devastating nature of commercial truck accidents, identifying the party at fault is a more complex process than for accidents involving two or more passenger vehicles.
A number of variables could affect the outcome of a personal injury case involving a commercial truck, including malfunctioning equipment, truck driver negligence, the employment status of a truck driver. and employer negligence. In this article, we’ll look at some parties that may be held liable for a commercial truck accident:
The Truck Driver
Truck drivers are required by law to abide by certain rules and regulations implemented to protect the safety of other motorists on the road, as well as the truck driver’s own safety. Failure to follow these rules could cause the liability for an accident to fall on a truck driver’s shoulders. Common mistakes that are made by commercial truck drivers include:
- Driving while drowsy or sleep-deprived.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Participating in distracting activities while behind the wheel, such as entering information into a cell phone or other electronic device, operating a navigation system or radio, eating or drinking, or talking on the phone without the use of wireless technology.
- Speeding or driving unreasonably fast in dangerous road conditions or conditions of low visibility.
- Tailgating too closely to another driver.
- Failing to adhere to local traffic laws.
- Failing to check blind spots prior to changing lanes.
- Inadequate inspection of the truck prior to proceeding with the delivery.
- Allowing the vehicle to be overloaded.
- Recording false information on driving logs to avoid the repercussions of failing to adhere to Hours of Service Regulations.
While these activities could mean that a truck driver is liable for involvement in an accident with a passenger vehicle, there are also several other variables that may affect a personal injury case outcome. For instance, while truck drivers are required to abide by these rules, liability for an accident may fall on the trucking company in cases in which the driver is an actual employee of the company.
The Trucking Company
Employers are the most likely parties to be held liable for truck accidents. Trucking companies are typically held liable for incidents caused by their employees who are acting within the scope of employment, even if that employee has acted outside of the company’s policies. Trucking companies that place pressure on truck drivers to meet unrealistic expectations in terms of delivery weight and speed can also be held liable for their own unsafe and negligent behavior.
The Cargo Company
If a cargo company loaded a truck with too much weight or an unbalanced load, thereby affecting the driver’s ability to stop quickly and safely in response to roadway hazards, the cargo company may face liability for the crash.
If trucks or their associated parts, such as tires and brakes, are sold to be used for commercial trucking purposes without meeting standard safety requirements, the manufacturers of these goods may be required to answer for these errors.
Managing Your Claim
Following an accident with a commercial truck, you will want representation you can count on to help you receive the compensation you deserve for:
- Damage to your vehicle.
- Damage to property that was in the vehicle at the time of the crash.
- Medical bills.
- Damages for the wrongful death of a loved one.
- Time off work.
- Permanent disabilities.
Despite the traumatic consequences of truck accidents, victims of these incidents will often have to navigate complex insurance procedures to collect the compensation they deserve. They may also need assistance identifying who is most likely to be liable for the incident. For more information on truck accidents, associated injuries, and your legal rights, check out our legal library. To schedule a consultation in San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi, or El Paso, contact our firm today.