Have you or a loved one been injured in a trucking accident? Are you wondering whether you should sue the trucking company or the driver? The truth is that there are many parties on behalf of the truck driver and their company that all play a part in who takes liability.
Unnecessary medical expenses, lost wages vehicle damages do not pay themselves and are the result of negligent drivers and truck manufacturers. It is vital to find out who is to blame for a truck crash you did not cause or ask for. That way, you will obtain the funds you need to be financially secure and not have to pay major out-of-pocket costs.
Here are answers to most questions about who is liable in a truck accident in preparation for seeking legal advice.
The Driver or the Trucking Company: Who’s the Responsible Party in a Trucking Accident?
It can be confusing to decide who to sue if you want to claim damages, especially when multiple parties are involved. When trucks collide with other vehicles, they often cause severe damages due to their larger size and weight. However, damage responsibility, in part, is due to avoidable trucker errors, such as the negligence of the truck driver and the trucking company’s failure to conduct routine maintenance or hire qualified drivers. Other factors include simply who owns the truck and whether there were cargo loaders.
If the truck driver violates FMCSA recommended hours of service for truck drivers, that could affect who may be held liable for the driver’s crash. For example, they were driving at a time when they shouldn’t be going, or they’re using the company’s vehicles for other purposes aside from official duties,
When the Truck Driver is Liable
Resolving truck accident issues in court may follow a complicated process, but in most cases, liabilities rest on the drivers, too. Like all motorists, truck drivers must obey traffic rules and carry a commercial driver’s license and insurance. Also, the law requires them to participate in semi-trailer truck training so they are ready to sit behind the wheel of any truck. Some of the reasons why you may be able to sue the driver include:
- Violated FMCSA’s hours of service rule or failure to take required breaks
- Drove under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Used cellphones while driving
- Refused to stop at red lights
- Demonstrated deckless driving, speeding, or tailgating
- Had a lack of requisite qualification or training to drive cargo trucks
- Possessed a medical condition that affected the driver’s ability to operate the truck
When the Truck Company is Liable
Often, your best chance of claiming damages or getting reimbursement for the expenses you incurred is to sue the truck company since they, including truck leasing companies, are covered by insurance companies. This coverage usually includes the damages caused by their drivers and trucks. Here are reasons why you can sue the truck driver’s company:
- Failed to properly screen the driver, which leads to negligent hiring.
- Did not carry out proper vehicle maintenance
- Violated state/federal law
- Pressured truck drivers to log more hours, leading to drivers traveling even when fatigued
Other Parties That Could Be Held Liable in a Truck Accident
When a professional truck accident case thoroughly investigates your truck accident case, you can discover that other essential parties could be liable for your vehicle damages and injuries.
Cargo Loading Company
Cargo loading companies are required to operate in line with specific standards. Failure to abide by these regulations makes them indictable in a truck accident. Generally, this involves asking many questions and doing further digging, so it can be difficult to prove at times.
Overloading is a common cause of truck accidents. If the cargo loading company goes over the specified weight limits or fails to employ qualified loaders, and an accident occurs because of that, then the cargo company is to blame. In essence, they could be liable for not enforcing safe practices or training the load crew.
The Shipping Company
Usually, the shipping company is not liable, but like the cargo loading company, if an accident occurs as a result of their failure to verify the qualifications of the truck drivers they’re working with, liability can also be shifted to them. In most cases, shipping companies work with independent contractors/drivers to haul their cargo to different locations. In such situations, the truck driver and not the shipping company would be held responsible.
Do You Need Legal Representation for a Truck Accident?
Truck accident cases are not your fault and you did not warrant them when they occurred. The threat of an insurmountable bill pyramid can tower over you, but once you understand who is liable for the actions of your devastating truck accident, you can begin to move forward.
We have a team of experienced personal injury and truck accident lawyers at Strickland & Kendall, L.L.C. that are available to answer your case questions about liabilities. You can do this by giving us a call at (334).269.3230 and scheduling a free consultation so we can take the time to hear your story.