A crash between a passenger vehicle and a large commercial truck can result in long, term, devastating injuries – if not fatalities – to those in the smaller vehicle. Often, these crashes are caused by the truck driver or an issue with the truck.
For victims and their families, obtaining the compensation they need and deserve can be frustrating. The various parties will likely try to pass the buck when it comes to responsibility.
Since the driver was the one in control of the truck, they might seem like the most obvious party to hold liable. If they were speeding, distracted or failed to follow traffic laws, they may certainly be held liable civilly and criminally. They’re also responsible for the basic maintenance of their vehicles.
When are carriers responsible for crashes caused by truck drivers?
Carriers (the companies that own the trucks) are responsible for their drivers. They have a duty to make sure their drivers are properly licensed and trained. If the driver is an employee of the trucking company or the company that owns the truck, like a large retail chain, for example, the company is responsible for their actions behind the wheel because they’re on the job. If the trucker is an independent contractor, liability gets a bit murkier. It will be necessary to determine just how closely the company supervised the driver.
Other potential sources of liability could include:
- The shipper, if they failed to notify the trucker of the hazardous nature of the materials they were transporting.
- Those who loaded the cargo, if there was an issue with unbalanced cargo loads or cargo falling off the truck
- The truck manufacturer or a parts manufacturer if the crash was caused by a defect in the truck
- Governmental entities if a road hazard was responsible for the crash
Holding parties responsible after a crash
As you can see, liability for a crash caused by a commercial truck can be complicated. However, by holding the right parties accountable, victims and surviving loved ones can get some measure of justice and obtain the compensation they require for short-term and long-term needs.
Steven Morgan is a local attorney who genuinely cares about his clients and understands the need for aggressive representation after a serious injury. Call us today at 912-289-0640 or email us to learn more.