Commercial trucking accidents can be devastating. Because of their very nature, they can easily result in serious injuries, property damage and deaths.
In the aftermath of a truck wreck, one of the most important questions is determining who is liable for the damages – and that’s not always easy. In many cases, there may be several parties who share some of the responsibility. Consider these:
Truck drivers are required to follow strict regulations and guidelines, and failure to do so can lead to tragedy. If the driver was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving while fatigued or speeding, for example, they may be held responsible for their negligence.
The trucking company
There are few independent truckers out there on the roads these days. Most drivers are part of a trucking company’s fleet – and those companies have a certain obligation to hire qualified and responsible drivers, ensure that their vehicles are properly maintained and comply with all trucking regulations. In general, not only can they be held liable for their own mistakes, but they can be held vicariously liable for the mistakes their drivers make.
Manufacturers and repair companies
There are a lot of moving parts on the average commercial vehicle, and those parts all need to be in good working order to prevent wrecks from happening. A defective tire that blows out could put the liability for any wrecks at least partially on the tire’s manufacturer. If a repair to the vehicle was poorly done, then any wrecks that are caused by the equipment failure could be the fault of the maintenance company that made a mistake.
The loading company
An improperly secured load can bust loose while a truck is in motion and fall onto other vehicles or directly in their path, with horrific results. An unbalanced load can suddenly shift, causing a rollover accident that can’t be avoided. In both cases, the shipping company that was in charge of loading the truck may be liable for the wreck.
Determining liability in a commercial trucking accident can be a complex process. In many cases, multiple parties may share responsibility for the accident, making it important to identify all potentially liable parties. That’s often the only way to get enough compensation for your losses. Experienced legal guidance is always best.