If you are involved in a truck accident, the driver may be the first party you blame since they are behind the wheel. While this may be valid, another party may have contributed to the accident.
Here is what you should know:
When is the driver liable?
A truck driver may be responsible for an accident that they cause due to negligence – if they fail to exercise their duty of care to keep other road users safe. These include speeding, failing to yield, running a red light, being distracted, changing lanes unsafely and driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Further, if a truck driver knowingly and purposely violates truck driving regulations, causing an accident, they may be responsible. For example, if they fail to take a 30-minute rest break after driving for eight hours.
Who else can be liable?
A truck driver may not be responsible for an accident, or they may share liability with another party. These include the trucking company, cargo loader and the manufacturer.
If a trucking company has unrealistic schedules, forcing drivers to violate traffic laws to meet them, they may be liable if an accident occurs. Other factors that may put blame on the trucking company include failing to train drivers adequately, perform pre-employment background checks or perform proper vehicle inspection or maintenance.
Cargo loaders may be responsible for an accident caused by cargo-related factors, such as improperly securing cargo.
If an accident is caused by a vehicle defect, such as blow-out tires or brake failure, the manufacturer or mechanic may be answerable.
If a truck hits you, consider getting legal help to determine the party responsible for your injuries and damages.