Who Is Liable In A Truck Accident Lawsuit?
Posted on January 11, 2022 in Firm News
There can be all kinds of motor vehicle accidents occurring on roadways today. They can involve motorcycles, cars, trucks, and more. Compared to accidents involving passenger cars, MVAs involving commercial trucks differ in part because of one of the accident-involved parties – a truck driver employed by a trucking company. The carrier/trucking company, the trucker’s employer, may bear responsibility, legally, for not only the safety of the truck but for the actions of their driver.
A truck accident lawsuit, and the representation of a victim involved in one, take special skill on the part of an attorney.
In a truck accident, there may be a number of liable parties in addition to the carrier and truck driver. These can include the following:
- Contractors or local government responsible for highway maintenance or highway design
- Cargo owner
- The carrier’s vendor-provided services
- Truck and parts manufacturer
As you can see, it’s not always a cut and dried matter of “it’s your fault or it’s the trucker’s fault”.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding any accident on today’s highways and byways, various parties can be held liable. To determine what happened and why, truck-involved motor vehicle accidents must be thoroughly investigated. To determine which party or parties should be held accountable, a full review of crash evidence will be of great assistance. In various combinations, or individually, this can include the following.
Government Contractors and Agencies
If broken pavement, a soft shoulder, etc. – some type of roadway hazard – contributes to the rollover accident of a truck (or other types of truck accident), the state or local government responsible for the highway area may be held accountable. A government-hired maintenance contractor who is negligent may be held liable if a problem was caused by the work they performed or if the crash was contributed by a work zone setup.
Truck and Parts Manufacturers
Some truck accidents involve failing components and/or trucks. This could include problems with the coupling or steering systems, brake failures, tire blowouts, etc. Right from the start, a system or part could be defective, but it could also be a maintenance issue. In some cases, the distributor/manufacturer may be held accountable in a product liability claim.
Vendors may take on outsourced work depending on the carrier’s size. This can include the following:
- Dispatching and repair work
- Truck maintenance
- Drug/alcohol tests and/or background checks
- Driver recruiting
- Administrative work
- Anything else that falls under fleet operations
For any negligence that contributes to an accident involving a truck, a third-party vendor may be held liable.
For various companies, contracted to ship items, carriers transport sealed cargo. In this case, the cargo transported, loader, shipper, and originator – the involved parties – are each responsible for applicable state and federal regulations. If negligence occurs, any may be held liable. In this case, if the cargo were to shift, causing an accident, records involving the carrier and each cargo-involved party would be subpoenaed and looked at.
For both the driver they employ and their trucks, trucking companies are responsible. This includes accountability for training practices and hiring. Improper training may be indicated, or the driver may have numerous infractions on their record. Sometimes corners are cut by trucking companies in order to save money. This can mean that inspection and maintenance requirements were ignored.
Due to negligent behavior including distracted driving, fatigue, speeding, etc., an accident may be caused by the trucker. The possibility of pending criminal charges and conviction could exist. To ensure proper loading and/or maintenance of cargo, it is also the responsibility of the truck driver to inspect their rig. If a truck accident is contributed to by a cargo shift or maintenance problem, part of the crash responsibility may be assigned to the truck driver.
Have You Been Involved in a Car/Truck Accident?
As you can see, there’s a lot involved in truck accidents. Let us sort it out for you.
If you’ve been the victim of a car accident involving a truck, you need someone knowledgeable and skilled to stand up for your rights. Let Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe, and Fein, P.C. be of service.