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Who is responsible for a truck accident?

A commercial truck accident is different from accidents that only involve passenger vehicles, in part because, trucking companies usually employ the trucker involved in the collision. As the truck driver’s employer, the trucking company can bear legal responsibility for the actions of its employees, as well as for the commercial vehicles it owns. If you have recently been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, a personal injury lawyer can determine who is responsible for a truck accident and hold them liable for your damages.

Who is Liable for a Truck Accident?

If you have been involved in an auto accident with a semi-truck, you must hold every liable party accountable for the accident to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. To determine who is liable in a commercial trucking accident, you need to work with an experienced trucking accident attorney. An attorney will investigate the accident to explore every avenue of compensation and hold all liable parties accountable for the harm they have caused.

In addition to the trucker and their employer, many other parties may be held liable for the trucking accident.

They may include:

  • The manufacturer of the commercial vehicle and its parts
  • The owner of the cargo
  • The company responsible for loading the cargo
  • The company or person responsible for maintaining the commercial vehicle
  • An independent contractor or a local government responsible for highway maintenance or design

If you have been injured in a trucking accident, it will likely require an independent investigation to determine who must be held responsible for your injuries, pain and suffering, and other losses.

At Lem Garcia Law, our legal team litigates and investigates all types of trucking accidents on behalf of people who have been injured or those who have lost a family member in a trucking accident due to the negligence of another person or entity.

Contact Lem Garcia Law today to discuss your legal options after a trucking accident, including your right to compensation for your losses from all parties involved.

How to Determine Liability in Truck Accidents

Following a truck accident, there’s a variety of data that must be reviewed to determine what caused the accident and who may be legally responsible. This can include evidence that was collected at the accident scene, such as police reports, an examination of the commercial truck and the other vehicles involved in the collision, and the data downloaded onto the truck’s black box event data recorder.

Trucking Accident Investigation

An in-depth investigation is necessary to determine liability in trucking accidents. Truck accident attorneys may work with trucking industry experts, private investigators, medical professionals, and accident reconstruction specialists to build a strong case that will prove negligence.

The truck driver’s activity logs, which by law must show the trucker’s time behind the wheel, in addition to their rest periods, and other truck company records will also be obtained by the accident victim’s attorney, along with witnesses’ statements.

In most cases, a court order will be required to make a trucking company turn over its records and release the wrecked commercial vehicle for an examination.

Potentially Liable Parties in a Trucking Accident

A full review of the evidence in a truck accident injury claim can indicate the one or several parties should be held responsible in a personal injury claim.

This can include:

Truck Driver

Trucking company employees can be held responsible for a collision because of negligent actions such as distracted driving, reckless driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, or fatigued driving. The commercial trucker is also responsible for inspecting their truck to ensure proper loading of cargo or routine maintenance. If a cargo shift or maintenance issue contributed to the accident, the truck driver may bear part of the responsibility for the accident.

Trucking Company

Trucking companies are responsible for their trucks and employees. This includes accountability for hiring and training practices, which can be an issue if the trucking company hires drivers who have FMCSA or driving infractions on their records. Sometimes, a trucking company’s employee interviews or records indicate that the company pushes their truck drivers to save money by cutting corners on their inspection requirements, truck maintenance, or hours of service limits. These records can be requested and reviewed by a personal injury attorney, to help them build a strong case that proves the trucking company should be held accountable for its negligence.

Cargo Loading Company

Some trucking companies work as contractors to ship cargo for other companies, transporting cargo that’s sealed. In this type of arrangement, the transporter, cargo loader, shipper, and originator can each be held responsible for applicable state and federal regulations if found negligent. If shifting cargo or other issues with the cargo load caused the trucking accident, records from every party involved, including the trucking company, must be examined.

Other Vendors

Depending on the size of the trucking company, there may be several vendors that take on outsourced work. This can include administrative work, such as conducting drug and alcohol tests, background checks, recruiting drivers, dispatching work, trucking repairs, and proper maintenance, or other fleet operations. Some trucking companies work with brokers to find cargo shipments. Any third-party vendors can be held liable if their negligence contributed to commercial vehicle accidents.

Truck Part Manufacturer and Truck Manufacturer

Some trucking accidents are due to the truck or one of its components failing, such as faulty brakes, tire blowouts, or issues with the coupling or power steering systems. Mechanical failure can be due to poor maintenance, but if the failed system or part was defective, to begin with, a product liability claim can hold the distributor and manufacturer accountable.

Local Government Agency, Federal Government Agency, and Contractors

If poor road conditions or roadway hazards such as broken pavement or a soft shoulder contributed to an accident, such as a rollover, the state or local government responsible for the stretch of highway can be held liable. Negligent maintenance contractors hired by the government can be held liable as well if the work that was performed caused an issue or if a work zone contributed to an accident.

Complex Trucking Accident Claims

If an investigation determines that multiple parties may be held liable for an accident, the plaintiff may be able to maximize the compensation they receive for their losses by filing multiple claims.

A trucking company will work quickly through its legal team and insurance company to close out any claims in a serious accident, sometimes offering a fast settlement that may initially seem generous. Unfortunately, accepting a settlement before an accident has been fully investigated by an attorney can mean you’ve accepted much less than what you deserve and have unknowingly signed away your rights to seek more compensation in the future.

At Lem Garcia Law, an experienced truck accident lawyer will know how to investigate trucking accidents and how to build strong cases against negligent truckers, trucking companies, vendors, distributors, manufacturers, and other third parties. The truck accident attorneys at our firm will work tirelessly and aggressively to maximize compensation from all available sources for truck accident victims.

Contact the Experienced Trucking Accident Lawyers at Lem Garcia Law

In a truck crash claim, never accept a settlement for your injuries, pain and suffering, and other losses without first discussing your case with a truck accident lawyer that has experience handling this type of complex case. The attorneys at Lem Garcia Law have several years of experience obtaining compensation for trucking accident victims. Our firm has the resources necessary to fully investigate a trucking accident and bring a solid claim against all liable parties. Contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation case strategy session. We can answer any questions you may have, discuss your case, and inform you of your legal rights. Whether you decide to work with us or not, you will leave our office with important knowledge that can help you determine the best course of legal action moving forward. If you decide to work with us, we will immediately begin an investigation to build a strong case that will hold all responsible parties accountable for the harm they have caused you. Contact our office today to get started.