Who is Liable After a Fatal Semi-Truck Accident?
According to NHTSA, crashes involving trucks resulted in 4,895 fatalities in 2020, which is a decrease from 5,005 fatalities in 2019. Despite the decrease in fatalities, NHTSA’s 2020 data shows that during lockdowns and the pandemic, the drivers on the road engaged in very risky driving behaviors. Many were speeding well-over the speed limit, failed to wear seatbelts, and drove while intoxicated with drugs.
In semi-truck crashes, the driver or the company may be liable for the damages and injuries sustained in the incident. If you have suffered injuries or damages from a crash, it will be in your best interests to contact a professional Dallas truck accident lawyer at Angel Reyes & Associates. An attorney there will advise you on the best action to take and how to get maximum legal compensation for the injuries and damages sustained. Liable parties can include:
If the driver purposefully caused a crash through negligence while driving, then he or she may be financially liable for the damages sustained in the crash. For instance, if the driver was overspeeding, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or careless while driving, then he or she will be at fault. Moreover, if the driver was using the vehicle for personal reasons outside of the scope of work and a crash occurred, he or she will be held liable.
The trucking companies
Trucking companies have a legal obligation of complying with many state and federal laws concerning operation, maintenance, training, and hiring employees. If they do not comply with the stipulated laws, they may be held liable if their trucker is involved in a crash. For instance, if the trucking companies have poor maintenance practices and fail to keep their vehicles in roadworthy conditions, they will have put their drivers and other road users at risk for injuries and damages. Moreover, if the trucking companies fail to hire drivers with proper commercial driver’s licenses or do not conduct a proper background check on their driver’s driving record, they will be held liable for the damages.
The cargo loaders
Sometimes the liability may fall on the cargo loaders if they did not thoroughly check and fasten the cargo safely on the vehicle. Additionally, the loader may be at fault if the cargo falls off the vehicle and damages other vehicles or causes injuries to other people.
The vehicle manufacturers
The vehicle manufacturer may be at fault if the parts of the vehicle were defective or malfunctioned causing issues such as tire blowouts, faulty brakes, and mechanical failure leading to a crash. If the vehicle parts were defective from the beginning, the injured parties could file for a product liability claim that can hold the distributor and the manufacturer accountable.
If a crash occurred on a highway due to a broken pavement, soft shoulder, or other roadway hazards, the government agency that is in charge of that highway may be held liable.
If a fatal crash occurred, there are many parties that can be held liable including the trucker, the trucking company, the cargo loaders, vehicle manufacturers, and the government agency responsible for the stretch of highway where the incident occurred. If you have been involved in a heavy goods vehicle, reach out to a qualified attorney to get your rightful compensation.