No, truck drivers are not always responsible for truck accidents. Other than the truck driver, the trucking company, other drivers, truck manufacturers, maintenance crews, government entities, and contractors may be to blame for a crash.
A truck accident lawyer can investigate what happened to determine fault. Once they identify who is responsible for the collision, you can file a personal injury claim for your damages against them. Sometimes, the fault may be shared among different parties.
Which Parties Can Be Held Liable in a Truck Accident?
Truck accident cases can get complicated since many different parties might have played a role in the crash. The following are the different entities that may be held responsible for a truck accident.
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There are many reasons why a truck driver may be held accountable for an accident in which you suffer injuries or other losses.
- If they exceed the speed limit prior to the collision
- If they have been drinking or abusing drugs before or while driving the truck
- If they carry out improper lane changes (e.g., shifting lanes without looking at the mirror may lead to a sideswipe crash or forces you off the roadway)
- If they are not cautious when making a turn in traffic, leading the trailer to swing into another lane and cause an accident
- If they operate the truck while distracted, tired, or ill
The Trucking Company
A trucking company may take part of the responsibility for an accident if they are not keen in their hiring process or if they cause the driver to operate a truck that is unsafe. The following are circumstances in which the trucking company may be held liable.
- If the truck is overweight: If the truck goes above the weight restriction, the truck driver may be unaware of such a violation. Thus, if investigations reveal that the weight of the truck played a role in the truck accident, it is possible to hold the company accountable. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the federal government set the commercial vehicle weight restriction on the interstate highway at 80,000 pounds. Outside of the interstate highway system, states set their individual standards for commercial vehicle size and weight.
- If they have a poor hiring process: The law requires truck drivers to possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate trucks legally in the country. Driving a commercial motor vehicle requires greater expertise and physical capabilities compared to operating a non-commercial car. However, if a trucking company hires a person without a valid CDL, it would demonstrate liability on their part. The company may also fail to carry out adequate background checks before hiring drivers, resulting in accidents.
- If the truck gets loaded incorrectly: The trucking company shares some responsibility for a crash if they made a mistake when loading the vehicle. Such a mistake can cause the cargo to shift incorrectly when the driver turns, resulting in loss of control and consequently a crash. The driver may not be responsible if they didn’t load the shipment.
Sometimes, motorists make poor choices when using the road alongside trucks.
Other drivers may put themselves in harm’s way by driving in the truck’s blind spot, merging poorly, and shifting lanes suddenly or without enough room. They may also be liable if they follow the truck way too closely, use their phones to text when driving, or if they drive while intoxicated.
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The Truck Manufacturer and Maintenance Crew
The manufacturer may be held responsible if they manufacture or design defective truck parts. Even seemingly small defects may have devastating results.
The maintenance crew could be liable if the crash results from a faulty repair. Their liability is based on the nature of the repair and how it is related to the occurrence of the accident.
Government Entities and Contractors
Road defects such as potholes and soft shoulders may lead to truck accidents. If an accident does occur for these reasons, the government entity or contractors that were responsible for maintaining the road may be held accountable.
Turn to Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers for Assistance Today
A truck accident lawyer with our firm can help you determine fault and liability for your truck accident case. They will evaluate the details of the crash and establish the party that is supposed to pay your damages.
At Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers, our attorneys have recovered $1 billion in settlements for our clients. Reach out to us today at 1-800-800-8888 for help in determining your legal options. Our team will provide you with a free consultation at no obligation or risk.