Who is Liable in a Big Truck Accident?

The injuries suffered by victims of an accident involving a big truck are often catastrophic. These victims, with the help of their truck accident attorneys, will need to determine who is responsible for the crash so that they can pursue the compensation they deserve. When large commercial trucks are involved in an accident, there are many potential parties that are ultimately liable for the injuries inflicted in the crash, and an experienced truck accident attorney is your best chance at holding those parties responsible for your injuries. At Disney Law in Pittsburgh, we are here to zealously advocate for you after an accident and identify who is responsible for your injuries. Call or text Robert Disney at 412-999-5765 or contact us today to schedule a free evaluation of your truck accident claims.

The Truck Driver

In most truck accident cases, the truck driver is partially or fully at fault. If the crash was caused by negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of the driver, then he or she may be liable for any injuries that result from an accident. Common causes of truck driver liability include driving distracted, speeding, failing to signal, driver inexperience, or driving drowsy. When a truck driver is found liable, victims are usually entitled to compensation up to the policy limits of their commercial auto policies. However, in some cases, other parties may also share responsibility for the crash.

The Trucking Company

The trucking company that employs a driver involved in an accident may also be liable for a crash caused by the employee. Known as vicarious liability, employers can sometimes be held responsible for the acts of their employees. This is especially the case if the employee was acting negligent or reckless in order to fulfill the demands of the employer. A common example of this in the trucking world is a company setting unrealistic expectations for delivery times and forcing their drivers to drive drowsy or under the influence of stimulants in order to make it on time. The company may also be liable if the accident occurred because of a failure in hiring or training of their drivers, and a driver is put behind the wheel who should not be allowed to operate such a vehicle.

Trucking companies may also be liable for a big truck accident in Pennsylvania if it was the company’s responsibility to maintain the vehicles and an accident occurs because of an equipment failure or maintenance lapse. Inspection records are often ordered if a vehicle malfunction is suspected as the cause of an accident in order to see whether the trucking company has kept up with maintenance on the vehicle. 

The Manufacturer of the Truck and Parts

If an accident occurs on the road because of a vehicle or part malfunction, the manufacturer of the big truck or the manufacturer of the specific part may be held liable for any damages caused by an accident. Also known as product liability, manufacturers that create, distribute, or sell parts that have design or manufacturing defects may be held strictly liable for any harm that is caused by these defective products. In addition, others involved in the chain of sale may also be liable for a defective truck part, such as the distributor, retailer, or mechanic who installed it.

Truck Vendors

Depending on the facts of the case, other vendors associated with the trucking business may be held liable for an accident. This may include outside HR, companies responsible for running background checks or alcohol and drug tests, recruiting companies, repair and maintenance workers, dispatching, and other third-party vendors if their actions played a role in the accident. Typically, the larger the operation for the trucking company, the more likely that third-party vendors are involved in the process.

Cargo Owners

Cargo owners may also be partially or fully liable for an accident if their cargo contributed to a crash. Some truck companies and drivers work on behalf of the cargo owners to transport their property. If the cargo is sealed the entire time it is in the possession of the truck driver and the cargo causes an accident, the cargo’s originator, shipper, loader, or transporter may be ultimately liable for a crash. Cargo owners can be responsible if their property is loaded improperly into the trucks, causing an imbalance. This happens often when the heaviest cargo is loaded on top or when one side is loaded with heavier cargo than the other. The improperly loaded cargo can cause a big truck to roll over on the road or jackknife and cause serious accidents.

The type of cargo may also play a role in liability. Some big trucks carry hazardous or dangerous materials, such as chemicals or flammable cargo that can contribute to the overall damage in a crash. If the cargo itself can cause injuries to victims and it was loaded incorrectly or haphazardly in the commercial truck, the cargo owners may be liable for any injuries that result.

Local Government Responsible for Road Maintenance

Finally, if a big truck accident occurred because of poor road conditions, the local government or entity responsible for the road maintenance might be held liable for any damages. Soft shoulders and broken pavement can contribute to a big truck rolling over and causing a crash with other vehicles on the roadway. The local or state government in charge of that section of roadway may be liable for any injuries that result. If the road work was contracted to a third-party company, that company may also be responsible for damages caused by negligent or reckless lack of maintenance on the roads.

Talk to Robert Disney Today

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a truck accident, it is critical that the responsible parties are identified and held accountable for the harm caused. At Disney Law in Pittsburgh, our highly qualified legal office is here to help you get the compensation you deserve after an accident. To learn more about your legal options after a crash, call or text Robert Disney at 412-999-5765 or contact us today to schedule a free evaluation of your truck accident claims.