Determining Liability in a Truck Accident
Unlike car crashes which normally boil down to a combination of road conditions, driver error, or vehicle malfunction, auto accidents involving big commercial trucks might have many other contributing factors. For this reason, it is crucial for victims of truck accidents to seek legal counsel from a lawyer familiar with the nuanced aspects of truck crash cases.
To establish liability and get fair compensation, it is necessary to identify all possible entities responsible for the accident. According to Baumgartner Law Firm in Houston, a reputable law organization, the following can be potential defendants in a truck crash case.
The truck driver
Generally, commercial truck drivers are required to adhere to all driving rules just like other drivers. That includes avoiding dangerous behavior including aggressive driving, speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol and other controlled substances, and distracted driving. These drivers should also adhere to other standards as directed by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). These standards include keeping their alcohol blood content below 0.04 percent, following all service hour rules, and keeping a detailed record of their work hours and truck inspection.
The trucking company
The law requires trucking companies to ensure that the drivers they recruit are properly licensed and qualified. Thus, trucking companies must conduct a background check and random screenings for drugs and substance abuse. Besides, the companies are prohibited from encouraging or requiring their drivers to break any federal safety regulation.
Loading or freight company
Sometimes, the shipper can be held responsible for a truck crash caused by overloaded or improperly secured cargo. Also, shippers can be held responsible for making sure that all hazardous materials are labelled appropriately.
Generally, heavy commercial trucks are equipped with sophisticated technology and parts. All these parts are essential for the safe and seamless operation of the vehicle. In case a piece of equipment fails because the manufacturer supplied a defective product, someone failed to repair or install the right part correctly, then the manufacturer or the repair shop can be held responsible for the accident.
In case you or your loved one was injured by a commercial truck driver, you can pursue a personal injury claim. If the truck driver’s insurer isn’t willing to compensate you for your injuries or property damage, you can take the matter to court. Note that these types of cases are complicated and you need the help of a qualified truck accident attorney.
For the truck company to be held liable for a truck accident, there are two possible theories. First, the driver may be held directly liable for his or her mistake. While the truck driver may have been driving the commercial vehicle that injured you, his or her employer (the trucking company) hired their services and put that driver behind the wheel. In case the accident was caused by poor maintenance of the vehicle, then, the trucking company and the repair shop can be held liable for the truck accident.