Being in a truck accident is a frightening and traumatizing experience, and there is the potential for injuries and even fatalities when they happen. The first thing to do following one is to get medical attention. As you do so, the doctor might give you news about your future health and well-being, and the bills will be stacking up. The next thing is to explore your legal options to hold the person responsible liable so you can get compensated. But who is liable in a truck accident?
The driver is the first person investigated for liability following an accident unless there is another party that led to the accident. A driver is held responsible if they have been negligent, violated traffic laws, or ignored truck driving regulations like hours of service which resulted in fatigue.
Proving liability is relatively easy if the driver violated the trucking guidelines or the law. However, things start getting complicated if other parties could be liable too.
The Trucking Company
Many truck drivers own and drive their trucks. However, a significant percentage work for a trucking company. The truck’s owner – in this case, the company – is responsible for ensuring the truck is well-maintained and in good condition to be on the road.
Proving that a company is liable requires an experienced truck accident lawyer who will examine everything and demonstrate that the company’s actions or inaction led to the accident.
Sometimes mechanical or equipment faults cause truck accidents. Like trucking companies, truck manufacturers should ensure all their trucks are in excellent condition and have no faults that could lead to accidents when they are sold. If critical equipment, mechanical or other type of failure caused the accident, the manufacturer will be liable for personal injuries, wrongful death, and property damage.
In some cases, individual part manufacturers may be liable. For example, a tire manufacturer will be liable if one of their tires blows out and causes an accident.
In almost all cases, the truck driver drives the truck but does not load it. The people who do, the cargo loaders, are typically hired by the trucking company or the client whose goods the driver will be transporting.
They are responsible for inspecting the cargo, loading it, and ensuring it is secure before the truck departs. They must also disclose to the driver what they will be hauling, especially if they will be transporting hazardous material.
A Pedestrian or Other Road User
Pedestrians and other road users are expected to follow traffic rules like truck drivers should. They could be held liable if they fail to do so and cause an accident. For example, a pedestrian could be distracted by their phone or walk onto the road, causing the driver to swerve to avoid them and cause an accident. They will be held partially or fully liable in such a case for a truck or car accident.
If you have been involved in a truck accident, you should find the person liable so you can get compensated. Since there are multiple options for who could be liable, you should hire a law firm with experience investigating truck accidents and holding the responsible party liable. Our lawyers at Pencheff and Fraley Co., LPA, have experience doing so and advocating for our clients. You can visit our offices at the following locations:
- Westerville – 4151 Executive Pkwy, Suite 355, Westerville, OH 43081
- Mansfield – 33 S. Lexington-Springmill Rd, Mansfield, OH 44906
You can also call us for a free consultation at (614) 224-4114.