Truck accidents are handled quite differently from those involving passenger vehicles. Nevertheless, like any other accident claim, the cases revolve around proving who was at fault for the accident. Truck drivers are usually the first party to be investigated. This involves reviewing their behavior during the accident in order to determine whether any state or federal laws have been violated.
Alcohol or substance abuse, for instance, can affect the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle and is severely frowned upon by the FMCSA. However, the driver is not always the only party at fault when a truck accident occurs. Here are 4 other parties that could be held liable in a Missouri trucking accident outside of the driver.
The trucking company could be held liable in a truck accident, depending on whether the driver is an independent contractor or an employee. If the driver is an employee, the trucking company may be held responsible for his or her actions. This is because trucking companies are supposed to ensure that their drivers are properly trained and certified to safely operate a commercial truck.
Trucking companies are also required to test their drivers for drugs and alcohol before a long trip, as well as perform regular truck maintenance. Routine truck maintenance helps to identify and address issues such as worn-out brake pads or bald tires, which can lead to serious accidents.
In some cases, a different company is tasked with loading cargo onto the truck. It is that company’s responsibility to ensure that the contents are secured safely inside the vehicle. Everything is governed by industry regulations, from proper cargo loading to weight restrictions. The loading company may be liable if:
- The truck was overloaded
- Cargo was loose, exposed, or unsecured
- Weight distribution was off, causing the cargo to fall out of the truck during transit
- The cargo was loaded or unloaded by an unqualified individual
The broker of the load that was being transported by the trucking company at the time of the subject wreck can be found liable under a theory of negligent hiring if the broker knew or should have known that either the driver or trucking company were unqualified, poorly trained, or had a poor safety record.
Defective truck parts have been linked to numerous trucking accidents. Faulty mechanical parts, particularly failed brakes or power steering, have been shown to cause serious collisions. If it is determined that the accident was a result of a failed part, whoever is responsible for performing truck maintenance may be liable. However, the manufacturer may bear the blame if the failed part is shown to be defective or was actually recalled due to being faulty.
If you have been involved in a trucking accident, the best way to protect yourself is to consult an experienced car accident attorney. At Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC, we have a team of experienced lawyers who can offer valuable legal advice and help you learn what your options are. Call us now at our office.