If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you may wonder whether the driver or the trucking company is liable. And that is a really good question even though it’s not the only question. The answer depends on several factors.
Perhaps the truck belongs to a major corporation whose goods it has been transporting. Or the corporation has hired a trucking company for transporting its goods. Finally, the truck driver could own his own truck and has been hired by the corporation or the trucking company to transport specific goods.
Is the Truck Driver or the Trucking Company Liable for the Truck Accident?
As we have just seen, things can quickly get complicated when it comes to determining the relationship between driver and trucking company. And it gets even more complicated from there. You’ll need an experienced truck accident attorney to help you sort through the various elements of the case.
If evidence points to the driver as the person who was at fault, the lawyer needs to work out if he was an employee of the trucking company or the corporation, or if he was truly an independent contractor.
Yet those are not the only factors that have to be considered. Other things beyond the driver could have contributed or even caused the accident.
The Truck Driver
But first, let’s look at the driver. There are a number of ways in which the truck driver could have been at fault. Of course, there are the usual issues that can cause accidents, no matter what kind of vehicle the driver might have been driving.
Truck driver fatigue is one of the most common causes of truck accidents. That’s because drivers are under a lot of pressure to cover vast distances and make deliveries on time. Yes, there are rules about how long they are allowed to drive and the length of rest times.
And these rules are very specific as you can find out on this page about Ohio truck accidents, although they still make for a grueling schedule. With deadlines being deadlines, human endurance only goes so far.
In addition, drivers could also have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or they could have been distracted by their phone, or simply bored.
They also may not have had as much experience or received the amount and quality of training they should have had to meet the requirements of their challenging job.
The Trucking Company
The trucking company could also have played a role in what would seem like the drivers’ short-comings. They might have pushed them to drive longer distances and take fewer breaks than would have been safe. They may also have failed to provide the kind of training their drivers really needed and assigned them to larger rigs than they were prepared to drive safely.
All these things are in addition to the exact nature of the legal relationship between trucking company and driver, which also must be determined. Was the driver an employee or an independent contractor? Either way, the trucking company bears the responsibility of hiring or contracting with a competent driver.
Beyond the Driver And the Trucking Company
The search for liability does not end with just the driver and the trucking company. There are other factors that could be the cause of accidents, either in part or in full. These can range from weather and traffic conditions to factors like mechanical problems and issues with the load of the truck.
Obviously, you cannot sue the weather for damages, but you can expect both the driver to have the good judgment to drive carefully in inclement weather or even stop to wait for the worst of it to pass. And the trucking company should have the good judgment to allow the drivers to do just that.
What Else Could Have Caused the Accident?
In order for a truck to be safe on the road, a number of things have to happen. Among them is proper maintenance. An experienced maintenance team must regularly check brakes, steering, engine, and other moving parts, and the tires must be in good shape as well as properly inflated.
In fact, the truck itself must be in excellent shape. The company cannot afford to ignore any kind of recall for any truck parts in its fleet. If a defect in the truck itself leads to an accident, the manufacturer will be liable as well.
Finally, there is the load, the truck’s purpose of being. Has it been loaded correctly? Has the truck been overloaded, perhaps to get away with fewer trips? Improperly loaded trucks can easily lose their balance and the consequences can be catastrophic.
Truck Accident Cases Can Be Very Complicated
As you can see, truck accident cases can be very complicated. It’s not just a matter of whether the driver or the trucking company was at fault. There could be a product liability component, the maintenance could have been inadequate, the truck could have been unevenly loaded, and chances are there are multiple issues involved.
Especially considering the severity of the damage and the injuries caused by a truck accident, you should hire an experienced truck accident attorney to help you get the compensation you need to recover and pay for your losses, including your loss of income and your pain and suffering.
So if you have been injured in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, call us for a free consultation and case evaluation. And if you do have a case, we will help you on a contingency basis. This means you won’t have to pay us unless and until we win your case. So call or email us today. We will be happy to talk with you.