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Determining Who’s Liable for a Truck Accident

Published: Oct 07, 2022 in Truck Accident
Truck and car in an accident

Truck accidents are incredibly dangerous, generally causing far more damage than crashes involving passenger cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles. On top of that, figuring out liability and recovering compensation is much more challenging than for different kinds of crashes.

Truck Accidents Are More Complicated Than Car Crashes

When it comes to liability, truck accidents are far more complex than accidents involving two passenger vehicles. While a passenger vehicle crash can be caused by a vehicle manufacturer or unclear road signage, it usually comes down to one of the drivers. Truck collisions may have more parties involved, so figuring out the truth takes more time.

Who Can Be At Fault for a Truck Crash?

On top of being more dangerous and legally complex, getting one party to accept liability in a truck accident is a huge task. The parties involved may be happy to point you to someone else and diminish your injuries, but no one wants to admit responsibility.

The liable parties in a truck accident may include:

The Truck Driver

If the truck driver was negligent or reckless while driving, they may be at fault. This often occurs if they drive while fatigued, impaired, or distracted. When a driver stays on the road longer than legally permitted, fatigue and restlessness can set in, laying the groundwork for a collision.

The Trucking Company

Employers have a duty to vet their staff, ensure that they’re putting safe drivers on the road, and train drivers thoroughly. This is challenging in an economy where new drivers are hard to find and retain.

If employers let their standards slip, they may hire dangerous drivers. When this occurs, they could be held liable for accidents caused by the driver. Employers may also be at fault if they coerce drivers to ignore federal regulations regarding hours driven and break times.

Cargo Loader

Carrying heavy loads is a significant responsibility, and a poorly distributed load can put a driver at serious risk of an accident. If a cargo loader distributes items in an unbalanced or unsafe way, they may be to blame for the accident.

For example, a load heavily weighted to one side of the truck can increase the chance of a rollover accident. A loader may also be at fault if they load hazardous materials in a way that violates federal law or is inherently risky.

Truck or Truck Component Manufacturer

Trucks are put under enormous stress every day, often enduring hundreds of miles while carrying thousands of pounds of goods. Manufacturers and component manufacturers must follow strict safety and testing standards. If manufacturers release an unsafe or untested item that later fails and causes a crash, they could be wholly or partially at fault for the collision.

Another Driver

A third driver may be responsible for the crash. Consider a driver that drives dangerously around the truck, forcing them to take evasive action and cause a more minor crash. Unfortunately, when this happens, the other driver often flees the scene and is challenging to track down.

The Government

The government has an obligation to maintain the roads, use clear signage, and otherwise do everything to make roadways safe. When they let roads fall into disrepair or fail to provide clear signs, they could be held accountable for accidents.

The Benefits of Working with a Truck Accident Attorney

With so many possible parties, it’s rare for there to be just one responsible party. The fault is often shared, and having an experienced attorney can help determine whom you can recover compensation from. They can determine who is at fault and what type of compensation you may receive.

Fault and liability are not always the same. A truck driver may be at fault for an accident, but if they were working at the time of the accident, their employer could be held liable. Your attorney can help you understand the possible outcomes of your case and your next steps. Throughout your case, they will also talk to accident witnesses, get insight from expert witnesses, and consult every piece of evidence available to build the best case they can.

Contact Belt & Bruner Now

As experienced truck accident lawyers in Birmingham, Belt and Bruner have worked in a wide array of truck accident cases, particularly when multiple parties may share liability.

Call 205-933-1500 or contact us online for free consult.