Involved in a Truck Accident? How to Find Out Who’s at Fault
If you are involved in a truck accident, it can be hard to determine who was at fault. If someone is involved in a car accident, the other driver is likely to be found liable. However, truck accidents can be a lot more complicated.
Why It’s Hard to Determine Who Was at Fault
There may be more than one person at fault for the accident, or it may not be clear who was to blame. While the truck driver is usually the first person to be blamed, it may not be their fault.
“The trucking company could be to blame,” says James McKiernan, an accident injury lawyer Santa Maria, CA. Some truck drivers work for a trucking company transporting cargo. If they were doing their job and not acting dangerously, their employer could be liable. This is because the employer may be held responsible when the driver causes another person to be injured. Many trucking companies are aware of this, which is why they may hire their drivers as independent contractors.
Trucking companies could be found to be at fault if they:
- Do not correctly train their drivers
- Do not hire drivers using the correct practices
- Expect drivers to work more than the service regulation hours
- Fail to maintain or repair the truck if they own it
- Fail to test for medical conditions that could result in driving disqualification
- Fail to test for drugs or alcohol
- Fail to disqualify a driver who commits a serious offense
A Service Center
Truck accidents that are caused by a failure in the mechanics can be the fault of a service center. A center such as this is typically responsible for making sure the truck is in good working order. The responsibility can also fall on the trucking company if it owns the truck. However, in some cases, one company will own the tractor unit and the other will own the trailer. As you can imagine, this can complicate things a little.
If the accident was caused by bad repairs or servicing, however, it could be the service center that is at fault. The truck can be inspected, and it will have to be proven that the truck was not in safe working order before it was handed over. Again, this process can take a lot of time.
The Loading Company
All trucks need to be correctly loaded so that the cargo is secure and balanced. The responsibility lies with the truck driver and the loading company. A large number of truck-related accidents are caused when loads are unevenly distributed or they are carrying excess cargo. The fault, can, therefore, lie with the truck driver who was responsible for checking the load, and the loading company.
The Truck’s Manufacturer
There may be occasions when the truck’s manufacturer is at fault. The companies that manufacture trucks have a responsibility to make sure every aspect of the truck is safe. The truck should also function according to the trucking industry’s standards.
When parts fail, they can cause an accident. However, it can be hard to prove that truck manufacturers caused the accident. This is because you will need to show that at least one of the components was defective. The truck can be inspected, however, this process can take a lot of time.
Upon investigation, it may be determined that additional parties are at fault. For example, the truck driver may have to steer out of the way of another truck driver who had fallen asleep behind the wheel. The result of this maneuver could be that the swerving truck driver hits a car. In an instance such as this, the other truck driver is likely to have been to blame.
Finally, it may also be found that the road the truck was driving on was unstable. Many trucks are involved in accidents every year due to poorly maintained road surfaces. The agency that should be taking care of the road could be found liable.
As you can see, truck accident investigations can be quite complex. While it may be easy to point the finger at the truck driver, it may not be their fault. There are a lot of different factors at play here, which means the legal process could be drawn out. In any case, it is worth asking for legal help if you have been involved in a truck accident. Those who are liable should be held accountable.