If you get involved in a truck accident that the truck driver clearly caused, you will immediately assume that they are liable for your injuries. For example, maybe a truck driver was looking at their phone, which is against Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, and the truck drifted into the oncoming lanes. You tried to avoid the accident but could not, and you were struck by the semi, resulting in severe head and spinal cord injuries. If that driver hadn’t gotten distracted and had followed the regulations, you wouldn’t have been hurt.
But what you’ll find is that many truck accidents are not nearly this simple, and the liability may actually lie with multiple people. The truck driver certainly may be one of them, but don’t assume that’s where this liability stops.
Was the truck properly maintained?
For example, maybe proper maintenance wasn’t done on the truck and the brakes failed on a hill. The truck rear ended you, but the driver was doing everything they could to stop. This lack of maintenance by the trucking company could mean that they are liable. If the truck is owned by the driver, however, the maintenance may be their responsibility.
Was the driver trained properly?
Another question to ask is just if that driver had all of the right training. Many companies are facing a truck driver shortage. What if a company rushes an untrained, non-qualified driver out onto the road and then they cause an accident? The driver may be the one responsible, but they never should’ve been there in the first place.
Was the truck loaded correctly?
Finally, you may want to ask if the load in the vehicle was situated and secured as it should’ve been. If not, the load can come loose while the driver is at the wheel, and this can cause a load shift accident. These are very dangerous because a truck driver may feel that they have lost control of their vehicle entirely after the load shifts, meaning they can’t avoid the accident even if they try to do so.
It’s important to know if the trucking company is also going to be liable because they may have far more financial resources than an individual driver. You need to know exactly what legal steps to take to seek compensation.