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Who might be liable after a truck accident?

On Behalf of | May 8, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Because of their size, truck accidents often involve more catastrophic damage to vehicles and severe injuries to those in smaller, non-commercial vehicles. Trucks are also covered by multiple state and federal requirements, and, if that were not complicated enough, there may be multiple liable parties, not just the driver. This could be the owner of the truck, the owner of trailer, the trucking company that employed the driver, etc.

Nonetheless, the first step to get the compensation one needs to recover from a truck accident is to figure out who holds responsibility for the negligence that led to the accident. These people and entities are called the liable parties as they are liable for the truck accident victim’s injuries and property damage.

The first-level responsible party is the truck driver, because this was the person that drove the truck. However, the driver’s employer may also be liable as they are vicariously liable for their employee’s negligence. In other words, the trucking company is responsible for the actions of their employees that occur during the regular course of business. Liability here flows from the bad acts of the truck driver to the truck company.

Another option is to show negligence per se if the evidence supports such a result. Essentially, negligence per se means that because the truck driver or company broke one of the state or federal laws that govern the trucking industry, they are per se — automatically — liable for the injuries and damages that resulted. For example, driving more hours than is federally allowed, drinking alcohol, and doing drugs are all examples that could be negligence per se.

Yet another way to show liability is to provide evidence that the truck driver or company were negligent in the maintenance of the truck or trailer. If that maintenance was the reason for the crash, then this could support liability. For example, if the company failed to replace damaged tires or breaks, this could be used to show liability.

Negligence in hiring could also be an avenue that can result in liability. This means that the trucking company hired a bad driver, like one that had a history of bad driving or violating the rules.

Unfortunately, seeking compensation from the liable parties is complicated and often requires court action. Working with experienced representation can help with obtaining the necessary amount to address the many costs of an accident.