4 Parties Who Could be Held Liable for a Truck Accident

The pain and stress over ordinary vehicle accidents are significant enough, but the complexity and seriousness of accidents are compounded when an 18-wheeler or tractor trailer is involved. Vehicles that can weigh up to 40 tons when fully loaded present a great amount of danger to those on the roadway, and Texas consistently rates as one of the most deadly states for truck crashes. In an accident involving an 18-wheeler, there are multiple parties who may be liable for injuries and property damage resulting from the crash. To help bring the picture into focus, this blog gives some examples of potential liable parties and the circumstances in which they may become liable. 

  1. Trucking Company. This party is one of the more obvious ones. Trucking companies are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This agency lays out guidelines, including the maximum number of hours truckers may drive consecutively and minimum break time. If an investigation uncovers that the company encourages drivers to operate overtime, then liability may be placed (at least partially) on the company. Also, trucking companies are obligated to hire drivers with clean safety records and adequate credentials; failure to adhere to these guidelines could be another avenue to pursue.
  2. Truck Driver. As the party who is usually directly responsible for an 18-wheeler accident, the truck driver should always be thoroughly investigated after the crash. Although there are barriers to entry to becoming employed as a truck driver, such as obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL), truckers are still human and make mistakes. Unfortunately, mistakes such as driving under the influence, driving distracted, or disregarding the rules of the road can have deadly consequences when a large vehicle is involved. 
  3. Cargo Owner. The FMCSA has specific guidelines for how trucks are to be loaded, including the maximum weight for specific types of trucks. There are also regulations for the type of cargo that may be transported by trucks. Any violation of these rules may result in liability for the cargo owner. 
  4. Vehicle Manufacturer. Failure of material parts of a truck may contribute to or directly cause an accident. Occasionally, inadequate maintenance may be the issue for part failure, but product defects should at least be ruled out as a contributor.

Contact a Legal Team with Experience in Trucking Accidents
Unlike accidents that only involve you, the other driver, and your respective insurance companies, trucking accidents will involve multiple parties. Determining liability in these cases requires a thorough investigation by trained professionals and, eventually, representation from an effective personal injury attorney. Please reach out to Wyly & Cook so we can begin a free consultation into your case and help you reach a solution for your troubles arising from a trucking accident.

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The team at Wyly & Cook, PLLC brings a diverse body of trial and litigation experience to the table, putting us in a unique position to help clients with a wide range of legal issues.

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