Truck accidents are more common than you might think. Due to the weight and size of commercial vehicles, these types of accidents can have serious consequences, including severe injuries and even death. Therefore, it is essential to understand who is liable after a truck accident.
Who is at Fault?
The federal government has created strict laws governing how commercial truck drivers operate, including how many hours they can drive in one sitting, logging their routes, and equipment maintenance schedules. However, some companies and drivers do not always follow the guidelines. Often trucking accidents occur because of distracting driving, falling asleep at the wheel, driving under the influence, or mechanical failure.
The question of who is at fault becomes more complex in a commercial vehicle accident because the driver is most often an employee of a carrier or trucking company.
The company that owns the vehicle is responsible for compliance with federal trucking regulations. They are also responsible for ensuring that their truck driver is compliant and has a valid CDL license to drive on the roads. A company could be held liable for a driver’s mistakes or hiring and keeping an unsafe driver on staff. If the business knowingly hired someone with multiple driving violations or a history of DUI/DWI, they would be liable in the event of an accident.
Although drivers are responsible for limiting driving time, getting plenty of rest, and logging their hours, they may feel pressure from their employer to meet deadlines or exceed the federal guidelines for drive time.
Drivers are responsible for checking their trucks for any faulty equipment, bald tires, loose brakes, or too-heavy loads. The company is also responsible for maintaining the vehicles with regular checkups, oil changes, and maintenance schedules. When equipment failure is to blame for a severe accident, the liability may fall on both the driver and the company.
Where to Turn for Help
If you or someone you love was hurt or killed in a trucking accident, contact your personal injury lawyer today for help. Baron, Herskowitz, and Cohen can help make sense of the complex laws surrounding a truck accident and get you the damages and justice you deserve.