Truck accidents happen less often than car accidents. But when they happen, they can have devastating results. The sheer size and weight of a fully-loaded semi-truck can cause catastrophic injuries and death.
Here are five situations where a trucking company might bear liability for a truck accident.
Getting Compensation After a Truck Accident
Truck accidents are governed by negligence law. After a truck accident, accident victims can seek compensation from the trucking company and its insurer if the trucking company’s negligence led to the accident.
Fortunately, trucking companies carry large insurance policies and bonds for just such a situation. After an accident, a commercial truck accident attorney can file a claim against the trucking company to recover compensation for anyone injured in the crash.
To establish liability, the commercial truck accident attorney must prove that the trucking company was negligent in some way. Some examples of negligence by trucking companies include:
When a truck driver operates the truck in a negligent way, the trucking company usually bears the liability. The reason is that employers are responsible for the acts of their employees that happen within the scope of their job duties. If a truck driver negligently causes an accident, the truck driver’s employer will be held liable.
Some examples of negligent operation include:
- Fatigued driving
- Distracted driving
- Intoxicated driving
If a truck driver operates the truck in an unreasonably dangerous way, the driver, and the trucking company, are liable for the injuries and property damage that result.
Vicarious liability happens when a trucking company bears liability for a driver’s negligence. The trucking company itself might not have done anything negligent. But the truck driver acting on their behalf can create liability for the trucking company.
Trucking companies can also bear liability for their own actions. One such example is negligent hiring. If a trucking company fails to perform a background check on its drivers it can be held liable if one of those drivers causes an avoidable accident. For example, if a driver was filed from a prior job for alcohol use during working hours, a subsequent employer who fails to discover this fact might bear liability for any accident the trucker causes.
A trucking company’s policies and the enforcement of its policies can create liability after a truck accident. A trucking company could routinely force drivers to drive for longer hours than permitted under the law. Or it may look the other way when drivers violate rules governing the hours of service. If a driver causes an accident due to fatigued driving, the lack of supervision will lead to liability for the trucking company.
Negligent Repair or Maintenance
Semi-trucks require regular repair and maintenance. If a trucking company skips routine repair and maintenance, it can create an unreasonable hazard for road users.
Loading a semi-truck is complicated work. The truck must not be overloaded or imbalanced when it hits the roads. If it was loaded improperly, the load can shift or cause the truck to tip. Negligent loading claims can also bring in other entities besides the trucking company. If the trucking company picked up a fully-loaded trailer, the shipper may bear liability if the trailer was loaded negligently.
The Role of the Commercial Truck Accident Attorney
Your lawyer will investigate your accident and determine who you can hold responsible for your injuries. The lawyer can then negotiate with the trucking company and anyone else liable for your accident to settle your case and recover fair compensation.