Liability is the foundation of any personal injury claim.
In a truck accident, the question of liability is different from other auto accidents because there are multiple parties who could be liable.
The truck driver
The truck driver is the most apparent person to blame. All truck drivers owe a duty of care to other drivers, meaning they should follow road laws and maintain reasonable standards of safety. If the driver is an independent contractor, they are responsible for their own actions and the truck’s condition, including maintenance. However, drivers who work for a trucking company are different.
The trucking company
The trucking company is responsible for ensuring all the trucks in its fleet are regularly inspected and well-maintained. If an accident occurs because the truck functions improperly, the fault may fall on the company. The company is also liable if the driver lacks proper training or has a history of violating road laws.
The cargo loader
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates weight and security regulations for commercial truck cargo. An overloaded or improperly secured trailer could cause the truck to malfunction, the trailer to roll over or cargo to spill onto the road. In any case, the party who loaded the truck would be liable.
A parts manufacturer may be liable if a malfunctioning part causes a truck to crash. Additionally, if the company outsources maintenance and inspections, the third-party company could be liable if a missed issue with the truck causes an accident.
Truck accident cases can become even more complex when multiple parties are liable.