Can multiple parties be held responsible for a truck accident?

Row of semi trucks in a parking lotWhen you and your family suffer a devastating truck collision, the first thing you need to worry about is getting the medical care you need. Once everyone’s injuries have been addressed, your next concern should focus on the cause of the accident. After a car accident, these questions can generally be answered one of two ways: You are at fault or the other driver is at fault. However, truck accidents aren’t necessarily that black and white.

Multiple Liability for Truck Accidents

The trucking industry is required to follow strict laws mandated by the federal government. These laws can help determine who should be held responsible for an accident depending on which regulations were ignored. Four possible candidates for liability are the driver, the trucking company, the cargo company, and the truck manufacturer

  • Driver. Truck drivers are responsible for following traffic laws, controlling their rigs, and maintaining a level of professionalism at all times. Unfortunately, they also have to worry about deadlines, impatient employers, and efficiency bonuses. As a result, it’s easy for a truck driver to choose speed over caution and reckless behavior over safety. When a driver dismisses protocol and disregards traffic safety, he may be liable for any damages that result from his actions.
  • Trucking company. A trucking company may be held liable for a collision if it placed unrealistic expectations on the driver. Federal laws mandate when and how long a driver must rest between shifts. However, when an employer encourages a driver to push through his breaks to meet his deadline, he forces the trucker to drive negligently and places you at risk. Furthermore, a trucking company can be held responsible for hiring inexperienced or dangerous drivers and for failing to maintain trucks in their fleet.    
  • Cargo company. One of the most common causes of truck accidents is overloaded or poorly loaded cargo. When the cargo in the trailer is unbalanced, the entire truck becomes compromised. In addition to increasing the risk of rollovers and jackknives, unbalanced loads can greatly affect the driver’s ability to control the vehicle, no matter how skilled he is. In these situations, the driver can’t be held liable, as there was nothing he could do to prevent the accident.
  • Truck manufacturers. Truck manufacturers have a duty to test components to ensure their safety. If a defective part directly results in the truck’s loss of control, liability can be passed to the manufacturer. Again, since the driver would have no knowledge of the defect, he can’t be blamed for losing control.

Pursuing Your Claim

Need more information about your truck accident liability and claim options? Please feel free to download a complimentary copy of John L. Griffith’s free guide on Tennessee personal injury cases. You’ll not only learn more about your rights and claim options, but you’ll also get a better feel for how GriffithLaw can help you file a persuasive injury claim.

When pursuing a truck accident claim, you’ll need as much help as you can get to ensure a strong and convincing claim. At Griffith Law, we’re here to give you the guidance you need to feel confident and prepared for your claim’s success. We know how frustrating and complicated accident injury claims can be, so let our experience and knowledge work for you. Contact us today at 615-807-7900 for a FREE consultation.