When a car and a truck collide, it is almost always the car's occupants who suffer the most serious injuries. Unfortunately, this is because trucks are much more likely to cause serious accidents due to their size and weight. If you have been involved in a trucking accident, you may be wondering who is liable for your injuries. The answer depends on the circumstances of the accident.
Who Can Be Held Responsible?
The trucking industry does not just involve a truck and its driver. It includes an entire network of parties working together, including:
- The truck driver
- The truck owner
- The trucking company
Because of the many different parties involved, this opens up the window for these parties to be potentially liable in the event of a trucking accident.
The Truck Driver
The truck driver is usually the first person that people think of when they hear about a trucking accident. This is because the truck driver is the one operating the vehicle. If the truck driver was negligent in any way and this led to the accident, then the driver may be held liable. Common causes of driver-related trucking accidents are:
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Driving under the influence
- Inadequate training (This can also be a company issue!)
The Truck Owner
The truck owner is the person or company who owns the truck that was involved in the accident. The truck owner may be liable if it can be proven that they were negligent in maintaining the truck. For example, if the truck's brakes were not properly maintained or the owner knew the truck had worn tires, failed to replace them, and an accident occurred as a result, then the truck owner may be held liable.
The Trucking Company
In most instances, it is the trucking company that will be found liable. This is because the trucking company is responsible for hiring qualified and responsible drivers, setting realistic expectations and deadlines, ensuring cargo is adequately secured and maintaining its trucks (if it owns the vehicle).
If the trucking company was negligent in any of these areas and this led to the accident, then the company may be held liable. For example, if the trucking company hired an inexperienced or unqualified driver, and this led to the accident, then the company may be held liable.
In some instances, it may be the manufacturer of the truck or truck parts that is found liable. This is usually the case if it can be proven that there was a defect in the design of the truck or any of its components. For example, if a defective brake pad caused the accident, then the manufacturer of the brake pad may be held liable.
Determining who is responsible for a trucking accident can be a complicated process. If you have been involved in a trucking accident, you must speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.