Who can be held responsible for truck accidents?
Determining responsibility in a truck accident requires significant investigation into the underlying causes of the accident. For instance, trucking companies can be held responsible for numerous safety infractions which are not readily apparent at the time of the accident, such as failure to properly maintain the truck.
Depending on the cause or contributing factors in your truck accident, responsible parties can include:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company (carrier)
- Truck, parts, or equipment manufacturer
- Freight shipper
- Freight broker
- Third party logistics provider (3PL)
- Other driver
- Entity responsible for roadway design, construction, or maintenance
- Weigh station
I’ve heard that the truck driver who caused my accident is suing for his injuries, too. How can he do that?
There is a possibility that the truck driver was not completely responsible for the accident. Trucking accidents are complex and there can be many underlying causes including a defective truck or poorly maintained truck, defective roadway, or negligence on the part of another driver, sometimes a driver who is not involved in the ultimate crash.
Are truck accident lawsuits all that different to car accident lawsuits?
Yes. In addition to the elements involved in car accident claims, state and federal trucking regulations apply in even the simplest truck accidents. These are strict and very complex sets of laws, and often point to unexpected responsible parties. Additionally, truck accidents are more likely to result in catastrophic and fatal injuries, and to involve multiple vehicles and multiple victims.
Truck drivers and trucking companies are held to a higher standard than drivers of private vehicles. Certain types of trucks and certain types of cargo, such as hazardous materials, are subject to even more regulations than your average commercial vehicle.
Proper investigation requires in-depth knowledge of trucking regulations. Trucking regulations require extensive record keeping and much of the evidence in trucking accidents is found deep in the paperwork, rather than at the scene of the accident.
Is the truck driver automatically at fault for driving under an overpass that was too low for his truck?
Not necessarily. Truck drivers cannot be held responsible for missing, obscured, damaged, or inaccurate “low clearance” signs. If the truck driver disregarded the warning sign, he could be held responsible. If inadequate signage was involved it was a defective roadway and the government entity responsible for the roadway would be responsible.