Truck accidents often involve several parties. Unlike accidents where drivers in their private vehicles are involved, truck drivers are operating commercial vehicles and employed by a company or agency. After a truck accident, this leads many to wonder who is responsible—the truck driver or trucking company?
Determining exactly who was at fault for a truck accident requires some research into the specifics. However, that investigation is worth it if you’re potentially entitled to compensation for your damages from the accident. You will need to know who to turn to for financial recovery.
Let’s look at scenarios where the truck driver might be solely responsible, the trucking company might be fully at fault, and when both driver and company might be to blame.
When the Truck Driver is Responsible in a Truck Accident
When a trucker is driving a commercial truck, it typically means they are an employee of a company or agency. However, some truck drivers work as independent contractors. If the driver is self-employed and not connected to a specific agency, the driver might be completely responsible for their driving actions and thus fully at fault for an accident that occurs.
A truck driver might also be solely responsible for an accident if their actions were deliberate. For example, if the driver intentionally crashed into another vehicle because they were angry—and if a deliberate action can be proved—the driver might be found fully at fault and liable for the damages. The same goes for a truck driver who was doing something outside of their “scope of employment” when the accident happened.
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When the Trucking Company is Responsible for a Truck Accident
Although there are situations (as mentioned above) where the driver is at fault, a lot of the time, the trucking company that hired the truck driver is responsible.
Ways a trucking company’s actions may lead to a truck accident include:
- Cutting corners regarding safety (typically, to meet deadlines)
- Incomplete inspections
- Putting unrealistic schedule expectations on the driver
- Failing to properly hire or train the truck driver
Truck drivers often have strict deadlines to get product moved as quickly as possible. Although all trucking companies must follow specific regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), they are not always followed through completely. Companies might push drivers out onto the roads when they have not had proper rest or followed other necessary procedures.
Under the law of respondeat superior, employers are also often liable for their employees’ actions as long as those actions fall under the scope of their job. So, even if a truck driver is negligent in an accident, the trucking company that employs the driver is usually responsible for the damages.
Truck accident victims should work with an experienced truck accident lawyer to determine exactly where regulations may have been violated in relation to the accident. To schedule a FREE consultation with a trusted truck accident lawyer, contact John Foy & Associates at (404) 400-4000 for more than 20 years of experience on truck accident claims and lawsuits.
Both the Truck Driver and Trucking Company Might Be at Fault
There may be situations where both the truck driver and the trucking company share a portion of fault for your accident. You might even find that the driver and the trucking company try to blame each other for the collision. If both parties hold a portion of liable, you may be able to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit against both for damages.
Don’t guess at how much fault a driver or trucking company had in your accident. Contact a truck accident lawyer who can research the details and build a strong case to demonstrate liability.
Other Parties That Might Be at Fault for a Truck Accident
Sometimes, a truck accident is not fully caused by either the truck driver or the trucking company. Here are some other parties who may be responsible for the damages from a truck accident.
The Truck’s Owner
Trucking companies don’t always own the trucks they use. If a third party owns the truck and the accident resulted from poor inspection, lack of maintenance, or something else to do with the functions of the truck, the owner may be at fault. Truck owners are responsible for maintaining the fluids, brakes, electronic systems, and other parts of the truck.
During a lot of truck accident cases, it’s found that the trucking company shares responsibility with the manufacturer. Other times, the manufacturer of the truck or truck parts might be mostly or fully at fault for issues or defects that caused the accident.
The Cargo Loader
Some truck accidents are caused by cargo that has spilled from the truck. This can happen if a cargo loader did not properly inspect, load, or secure certain cargo before the vehicle took off. In those situations, the cargo loader might be responsible for the truck accident.
Don’t Wait to Get Help Proving Fault in Your Truck Accident Case
After a truck accident, it’s best to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as you can. Truck accidents are much more complicated than other types of auto accidents. As you can see, there are multiple parties who may be at fault for what occurred. You will need to work with a professional who can thoroughly research and determine exactly where liability lies.
Multiple at-fault parties also means there may be multiple insurance companies or insurance policies at play. Trucking companies, truck drivers, and even the trucks themselves are often covered by large insurance policies. That means insurance companies will be all-the-more aggressive in trying to deny your claims or lowball your settlement.
Talk to a Georgia Truck Accident Lawyer for Free Today
Many personal injury lawyers will take on truck accident cases, but you’ll want to work with a truck accident lawyer who specializes in these types of accidents. At John Foy & Associates, we have 20 plus years of experience doing just that. We can investigate the details of your accident and figure out who was ultimately responsible.
To schedule a FREE consultation and get matched with the best truck accident lawyer for your case, call us today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.