Who is liable for damages in a truck accident case?

Who is liable for damages in a truck accident case?
Apr 03 2023

Accidents involving commercial trucks are among the most deadly auto accident cases.

Often the victims of negligent truck drivers incur substantial physical, emotional and financial consequences and must determine who is liable for those losses. Consider the potentially liable parties in a truck accident case when the truck causes the accident.

Truck driver vs trucking company

The truck driver is the most obvious choice because they are responsible for abiding by traffic laws and trucking industry regulations. Violations of those laws would warrant holding the truck driver accountable for damages.

However, the truck driver’s employer could be responsible under certain circumstances. For example, trucking companies must do routine inspections on their fleet of vehicles and perform regular maintenance to maximize the safety of their trucks on the road. A single missed inspection could result in dangerous mechanical malfunctions, causing the driver to crash and making the company liable.

Additionally, the trucking company cannot incentivize the truck driver to commit dangerous acts on the road, such as speeding or violating federal regulations on hours of service.

Other potential third-party liable parties

Sometimes a third party can be responsible for damages. For example, trucking companies sometimes hire an outside mechanic for maintenance and inspections who would be liable for mechanical issues. If another party loaded the truck trailer improperly, such as exceeding the weight limitations, they could be liable if that decision caused an accident. Even the truck’s manufacturer could be responsible if a defective part caused a collision.

Truck accident cases can easily become complex and sometimes involved multiple at-fault parties or even multiple claims.

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