Who Can Be Held Liable for Truck Accident Injuries and Wrongful Death?

Commercial truck accidents present a great risk of harm to victims. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,695 people were killed in United States truck accidents in 2020. More than 70% of the reported fatalities were suffered by occupants of the other vehicle. These statistics tell us that a truck accident is likely to be serious in nature and also that a commercial truck crash will result in injuries to other motorists more often than the truck driver themselves.

There are many different ways in which a truck accident can take place, including:

  • Head-on crashes
  • Jackknife accidents
  • Sideswipe accidents
  • Rear-end collisions

The cause of each truck accident must be carefully investigated. However, truck accidents can have a major negative impact on the lives of those affected. Following a trucking accident, victims may have certain legal rights. However, in order to enforce these rights, it is important to hold the appropriate party responsible. In a truck crash, this can be a difficult task as there may be several possible individuals and entities who will have legal liability for the collision. Let’s take a look at who is most frequently responsible for truck accident injuries.

Liability of Truck Drivers

Perhaps most obviously, the individual truck driver may be responsible for the cause of the collision. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the following is a breakdown of the most common reasons why truck drivers are involved in commercial truck crashes in the United States:

  • Decision (38% of crashes): This category of accident happens when the truck driver is driving too fast, following too closely, or failing to take into account the speed and traveling conditions of other vehicles.
  • Recognition (28% of crashes): A lack of recognition involves inattention and distraction by the truck driver.
  • Non-performance (12% of crashes): Non-performance occurs when there is a crash caused by a truck driver’s medical condition or physical impairment preventing their ability to operate the truck safely.
  • Vehicle defects (10%): A mechanical or other issue with the truck itself led to an accident.
  • Performance (9% of crashes): The truck driver showed poor directional control or overcompensated for a previous error.

Any or all of these errors can be the basis for individual truck driver liability. However, a commercial trucking accident sometimes has more than one cause, and the answer may not always be obvious. It is necessary to have an experienced national truck accident lawyer working on your case in order to get to the bottom of what really caused the accident to occur.

Trucking Company Liability  Who Can Be Held Liable for Truck Accident Injuries and Wrongful Death?

Beyond the individual truck driver, their employer will share the blame as well. Under a legal doctrine known as respondeat superior, trucking companies are legally responsible for the negligence of their employees. Generally speaking, this means that the trucking company must pay for injuries that were caused by their employees on the job.

In addition, a trucking company can be responsible because it failed to properly investigate a truck driver before they were hired. Negligent hiring is a claim that frequently comes up in truck accident litigation. The company is legally required to ensure that they are placing only safe drivers on the road. If the involved driver had a negative driving background, such as a prior DUI or at-fault accident, the trucking company may be legally responsible for making a bad hiring decision.

Here at Burg Simpson, we will make sure that trucking companies are held accountable whenever the law allows. We know that you are suffering following a truck crash, and ensuring that you receive appropriate compensation from all parties helps to ensure that you have a complete recovery.

Truck Manufacturers and Mechanics

Sometimes truck drivers and truck companies do everything correctly, but a crash occurs anyway. In these scenarios, we must look more closely at exactly how the crash could have occurred. As noted above, approximately 10% of national truck crashes are caused by vehicle defects.

A vehicle defect may occur because a manufacturer failed to produce a safe part for the truck. A brake system that is poorly designed may lead to a loss of control, which in turn causes a crash on the freeway. The tire may separate from the truck resulting in a blowout, placing both the truck driver and all other motorists around them at risk. In these cases, the manufacturer of the component part may have legal exposure.

Mechanics and automotive technicians are tasked with performing routine maintenance on commercial vehicles. Federal regulations require that a tractor-trailer pass a rigorous inspection before it can be certified to travel on the road. However, not every inspection is performed accurately and thoroughly.

If a mechanic looks over a truck but fails to spot a potential issue, then the mechanic arguably could have prevented the crash from occurring. When other causes of a truck accident have been ruled out, it is important to consider everyone in the chain, from the mechanic to the manufacturer and the truck driver, in order to decide who may be held legally liable for the crash.

Nationwide Truck Accident Lawyers

When you or a loved one have been affected by a truck crash, the stakes are high. You are likely to have serious injuries and high medical costs. Achieving a full recovery is difficult but not impossible. In order to ensure that you are made whole following a truck accident, you must first know who is responsible. In many instances, there are a large number of possibilities. It is, therefore, crucial to have experienced and skilled legal representation whenever possible.

At Burg Simpson, we will investigate all of the circumstances surrounding your tractor-trailer collision. Our team of dedicated national truck accident lawyers will leave no stone unturned as we seek the true facts of why your accident occurred. We will always work to see that negligent parties are responsible for their actions.

We are standing by to take your call now. Our consultations are free for all potential and prospective clients. To schedule your appointment with one of our attorneys, please contact us using our online contact form or give us a call at (888) 895-2080.

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