Determining Liability in Truck Accidents: Who Can Be Held Accountable?
Elliott M. Buckner—July 3, 2017
In a typical car accident, you will probably have a good idea who is liable, as in the other negligent driver that was not taking the task of safe driving seriously. After a trucking accident, though, you might not be able to so easily pin the blame on the truck driver alone. Many truck accidents will actually end up with multiple liable parties, most of whom are not even there at the time of the collision.
Parties that could be liable for your truck accident include:
- Truck driver: The most obvious answer will be the truck driver, and it would be strange for no liability to be placed on him or her. Just as a driver of a smaller vehicle is ultimately responsible for safe driving practices, so is a trucker ultimately responsible for the actual operation of the big rig.
- Parent company: You may already know that truck driver fatigue contributes significantly to many truck accidents, but did you know that the blame for the fatigue could fall upon the trucker’s parent company or manager? When unreasonable schedules are demanded of truckers, the company is the one to blame for not caring about the wellbeing of their employees and, by extension, all motorists on the road.
- Maintenance crews: Most truck drivers do not perform any actual maintenance on their rigs. Instead, a maintenance crew is often in charge of repairing and replacing parts on each truck in the company’s fleet. If appropriate repair work is not completed, equipment and systems on the truck could fail without warning and cause the trucker to lose control of the vehicle.
- Load crews: Overloaded trucks are more likely to cause a truck accident, either due to tipping over while in motion or due to destroying the brake systems. Load crews should know how to stack cargo in a trailer without going over the weight limit or unbalancing the whole thing. Once again, a parent company could be liable for not enforcing safe practices or offering training.
- Manufacturers: Of course, no personal injury claim should entirely overlook the possibility that a truck part manufacturer could be partially liable for a truck accident. Parts that are created defective and never recalled may be the sole reason for a crash. Although taking on manufacturing companies can be a difficult legal feat, the likelihood of receiving a maximized recovery amount will increase due to typically larger insurance policies or company funds available to pay compensation.
Breit Cantor Grana Buckner and our Richmond personal injury lawyers focus much of our practice on upholding the rights of those wrongfully injured in truck accidents. If you need trustworthy yet tenacious legal representation in Virginia, do not hesitate to contact us to learn about our legal services. You can also browse our recent case results and testimonials to gain some insight as to what our attorneys can and have done for our clients.
Elliott has represented clients in every kind of catastrophic injury claim, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, tractor-trailer crashes, car collisions, and other harmful circumstances. He has secured more than 45 verdicts and settlements larger than $1 million, changing the lives of dozens of clients and their family members.