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Who can be liable for truck accidents?

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Truck accidents can cause significant damage that the liable party must cover. Therefore, understanding who is responsible is important, especially for an injured claimant.

Such cases can get complex, as any of the following parties may bear liability.

The employer of the driver

Only 16% of truckers are owner-operators. The majority are employees of a company. When these employees make an error while on duty that causes an accident, the employer is usually responsible. Furthermore, the employer must:

  • Verify that the driver has sufficient rest
  • Ensure a driver is medically able to handle the responsibility
  • Maintain the truck and keep good records of that maintenance

The insurance policy limits for such companies and vehicles are much higher than those for passenger vehicles. This can make the path to getting sufficient compensation easier in some respects. However, a claimant likely has to contend with an insurance or legal team with many more resources.

The loading company

Overloaded or improperly secured cargo affects the truck’s stability and handling, leading to accidents. The company responsible for loading the truck’s cargo is often different than the transporter. That business could be liable if improper loading contributes to the accident.

The truck manufacturer or seller

In cases where a defect in the truck’s design or manufacturing contributes to the accident, the manufacturer may be liable. Defective brakes, tires or other components can lead to loss of control and collisions. In situations where a seller knowingly provided false information about the safety or capabilities of the vehicle, that entity might assume liability.

Liability for damages after a truck accident could even fall on other parties, depending on their involvement and responsibilities. This could include other drivers and public agencies that are responsible for maintaining the roads. Understanding these potential liabilities helps when developing a case for seeking compensation for injuries.