Commercial truck accidents: Is the driver or company liable?

Commercial truck accidents often result in catastrophic consequences. If a large truck crashes into your smaller vehicle, you may sustain a serious injury or even die. The significant weight, massive size and less-than-ideal braking capability of a tractor-trailer increases the risk of injuries and deaths.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has strict regulations to prevent these accidents from happening. Unfortunately, trucking companies and drivers do not always adhere to these rules. But who can you hold legally responsible in a commercial trucking accident? Here is an overview of when drivers and their employers are liable.

Driver liability

Sometimes truck drivers are responsible for crashes. One example is when a commercial driver acts in an intentional manner to cause a wreck. For example, if the driver hits a car out of rage, this may be intentional assault. A driver may also be liable if he does not follow the stringent limits on driving hours, despite his employer requiring him to follow the rules. Violating these regulations may result in truck driver fatigue, which is a common cause of trucking accidents.

Company liability

Trucking companies are often negligent and cause these accidents. You may be able to sue the trucking company if any of the following details apply to your accident:

  • Negligent training or hiring practices
  • Insufficient truck maintenance
  • Encouraging drivers to violate driving limits
  • Allowing improper weight limits or loading regulations
  • Poor tracking of driving time

If a truck company hires someone with multiple drunk driving convictions, delays brake repairs or willfully violates safety regulations, you will most likely be able to prove negligence.

Even if a truck driver causes a crash, he or she may not be legally liable. This may be confusing, especially if you get into a truck accident for the first time. Thankfully, you may be able to determine liability to get the compensation you need.


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