Truck accidents are often complicated and involve multiple parties. Unlike accidents involving private vehicles, truck drivers operate commercial vehicles and are employed by a company or agency. Therefore, after a truck accident, it is common to question who is liable for the damages — the truck driver or the trucking company, or both?
To determine whether the truck driver or the trucking company is at fault, a thorough investigation needs to be done. This investigation is crucial as it can help you determine if you are entitled to compensation for the damages incurred in the accident.
In this blog, we will explore different scenarios where the truck driver may be solely responsible, where the trucking company might be fully at fault, and when both the driver and company may share the blame.
When the Truck Driver Is Responsible
When operating a commercial truck, the truck driver is typically an employee of a company or agency. However, some drivers work as independent contractors. In cases where the driver is self-employed and not affiliated with any specific agency, they may be solely responsible for their driving actions and held fully liable for any accidents that occur.
Furthermore, a truck driver may be found solely responsible for an accident if their actions were intentional. For instance, if the driver purposely collided with another vehicle out of anger, and if this intent can be proven, they may be held fully at fault and responsible for any damages incurred. The same applies if the truck driver was performing actions outside their “scope of employment” when the accident took place while driving their work vehicle.
When the Trucking Company Is Responsible
While there are instances where the truck driver is at fault, in many cases, it is the trucking company that bears the responsibility for a truck accident.
The trucking company’s actions or negligence can lead to accidents in several ways, including:
- Cutting corners on safety measures to meet deadlines;
- Failing to conduct proper inspections;
- Imposing unrealistic schedules on drivers; and
- Neglecting to hire or train drivers adequately.
Truck drivers often face strict deadlines to transport goods as quickly as possible. While all trucking companies must comply with specific regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), these regulations are not always strictly enforced. Some companies may send drivers out on the road without adequate rest or other necessary procedures.
According to the legal principle of respondeat superior, employers are typically liable for their employees’ actions within the scope of their job. Therefore, even if the truck driver is found negligent in an accident, the trucking company employing the driver is usually responsible for the damages incurred.
Both the Truck Driver and the Trucking Company Could Be At Fault
There can be instances where both the truck driver and the trucking company hold partial responsibility for a truck accident. In some cases, the driver and the company may even attempt to blame each other for the collision. If both parties are at fault, you may be able to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit against both for damages.
It is essential not to make assumptions regarding the degree of fault held by either the driver or the trucking company in the accident. Instead, seek the assistance of a truck accident lawyer who can investigate the specifics of the incident and establish a compelling case to demonstrate liability.
Additional Parties That Could Be Held Responsible for a Truck Accident
In some cases, a truck accident may not be solely attributed to either the truck driver or the trucking company. Here are other parties that could potentially be liable for the damages resulting from a truck accident:
The Owner of the Truck
Trucking companies may not always own the trucks they operate. If a third party owns the truck, and the accident resulted from inadequate inspection, insufficient maintenance, or other problems related to the vehicle’s operation, the owner could be held responsible. Truck owners are responsible for maintaining various aspects of the vehicle, including its fluids, brakes, and electronic systems.
Many truck accident cases involve both the trucking company and the manufacturer sharing responsibility. However, in some instances, the manufacturer of the truck or its parts could be primarily or fully liable for issues or defects that caused the accident.
The Cargo Loader
Cargo that shifts in transit or spills from a truck can also cause accidents. In such instances, the cargo loader may be responsible if they failed to inspect, load, or secure the cargo properly before the vehicle departed.
Talk To A Dallas Truck Accident Attorney Today
Some truck accidents may involve multiple parties and can be more complex than other types of auto accidents. It is crucial to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer who can investigate the specifics and determine liability. With multiple parties involved, there may be multiple insurance policies at play, which can make the claims process more difficult.
It is important to work with a truck accident lawyer who specializes in these cases to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve and give you any additional assistance you may need, such as getting recommended to a doctor for any medical treatment you may need.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation with one of our Dallas Truck Accident Lawyers today.