Who is Liable for Your Trucking Accident? It Could be a Lot of People
When we are in a car or truck accident, we tend to think that it is us against the liable person—or in a trucking accident, us against the trucking company. Many victims are surprised to learn that when it comes to trucking accidents, there are a lot of businesses and entities that may be liable to them for the accident and for their injuries.
Loading the Truck Properly
One reason why there may be so many potential defendants in a trucking accident, is that there are more people or companies than you think that are involved in the loading and maintenance of a truck.
The loading of a truck is a mix of art, science, and law. Yes, there are laws that dictate how a truck is loaded, and how much weight it can carry. These laws can be pretty specific, and often trucking companies will defer to outside cargo companies who know more about the intricacies and legalities of truck loading.
But beyond the law, physics play a large role in how a truck is loaded up and in how the weight on the truck needs to be loaded and arranged, so that the vehicle doesn’t tip or spin out of control. Unfortunately, many trucking companies may ignore physics, in an effort to load up a truck as much as possible, even if it’s dangerous to do so.
Driver Mistake and Fatigue
Of course, driver error also plays a role in a trucking accident, but driver error isn’t always so clear. The error may just come from a driving error. But the error may also come from exhaustion, a result of being on the road too long.
Trucking companies must limit drivers to a certain amount of consecutive hours at one time, and give them regular rest breaks. They often do not. When an accident because of driver error is caused by too much time on the road, the company itself may also be liable.
Maintenance and Repair
The upkeep and maintenance of a large commercial trucking vehicle is much more complex than with our cars. When parts fail on a truck causing an accident, there may be other potential defendants.
One defendant may again be the trucking company in the event that in house maintenance was insufficient or lacking, or in the event that defects, or wear and tear on a part of the vehicle were missed. Trucking companies can’t just use any mechanics to work on trucks; they must be specially certified mechanics, and if they aren’t the trucking companies may be liable when truck defects happen.
Some larger companies may contract with outside maintenance and repair companies, and they can become potential defendants as well.
Even the road itself may cause an accident, leading to liability. If street signs are damaged, or construction makes an intersection difficult for trucks to navigate, that can also lead to liability for government agencies.
Were you in a trucking accident or an accident with a commercial trucking vehicle? Call the Knoxville car accident lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, for a free consultation in your case.