All Questions

June 30, 2020 | Gary Burger

Who is Liable in a Truck Accident?

A motor vehicle accident involving a truck is distinct from an average car crash not only because of the amount of force and size of the vehicle but also because of the multiple parties that could potentially be responsible for the accident.

After you are in an accident with a truck, you are going to have questions. Speak to a car accident lawyer about your case right away. The attorneys of Burger Law are experienced in all manners of car and truck accidents and are waiting to hear from you. Call us at 314-542-2222 or 618-272-2222 today.

Who is Liable in a Truck Accident?

Proving liability is important in any accident. When it comes to truck accidents, it becomes complicated because there are so many parties responsible for a truck's performance. Such relevant parties may include:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company
  • The truck owner
  • The manufacturers of the truck or parts used on the truck
  • The truck's cargo loader

To make matters more complicated, the parties that can be responsible in an accident depend on how the truck in question is owned and how the driver of the truck is employed. For example, some drivers are independent contractors who own and operate their own vehicles and are not actually employed by a company. Many truck drivers work for trucking companies, which other businesses hire to ship their goods, but the trucks that trucking companies use are often owned by someone else. Sometimes the driver is directly employed by the company for which they are delivering goods. The truck drivers who drive for Walmart are employees of Walmart. In the case of Walmart, the company that employs the driver of the truck also happens to own the truck itself.

Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies
There are many possible combinations of organizations and individuals involved in truck accidents. Truck drivers and trucking companies are liable when there is evidence of the improper operation of the vehicle. If the driver fails to obey a traffic law or is driving while distracted or drowsy, he could be faulted for making such mistakes. The company that employs him could be faulted as well for improper training, hiring someone who is unqualified, or enforcing unrealistic deadlines or expectations that push the driver beyond a reasonable limit.

Truck Owner
The person or organization that owns the truck is responsible for the maintenance and inspections of their vehicles. They must schedule regular inspections in accordance with federal guidelines and make sure that the truck is always in good working order. This means making sure the engine is healthy, fluids are at the proper levels, and things like lights, turn signals, windshield wipers, brakes, tires, and other components are functioning properly. If the truck's tail lights weren't working and an accident happened because another driver could not see the truck in the dark, or if a truck wasn't able to stop in time due to its bald tires or malfunctioning brakes, the truck owner is, at least in part, responsible for the accident.

Manufacturers and Cargo Companies
While maintenance of the truck and all its components is the responsibility of the owner of the truck, the manufacturer can hold blame if the part is faulty or does not perform as promised as long as proper maintenance has been practiced. Some common component failures are tire blowouts, brake failures, steering mechanism defects, and fuel tank fires. In addition, improper loading of cargo on the truck can also contribute to an accident. Loaders who do not properly secure items or put too much weight on a vehicle can be liable, as it is more likely that the truck will roll over or that the goods will spill into traffic. It is especially important with hazardous materials that the people who load the truck take extra care and follow regulations.

The potential at-fault parties in a truck accident can vary greatly depending on the conditions that contributed to the accident as well as the ownership and operating status of the truck involved. It takes someone with experience in truck accidents to successfully navigate a truck accident case. You should always consult a lawyer after being in a truck accident.

Truck Accident Lawyers in St. Louis | Burger Law

With so many parties potentially liable in a truck accident, you need someone with experience on your side. The attorneys of Burger Law have been practicing truck accident law for many years and successfully fought for our clients time and again. We know how to determine and prove liability in your truck accident case. Receive a free case review today by contacting us or calling 314-542-2222 or 618-272-2222.