Liability is an important factor in any auto accident case, especially when you suffer substantial property damage and significant injuries.
When the at-fault driver is behind the wheel of a semi-truck, the driver is not always the party responsible for the damages.
The truck driver
The most common example of a truck driver being liable is if they are an independent driver. Independent drivers own their vehicles and are responsible for inspections and maintenance. However, a truck driver working for a company can still be responsible for an accident if they chose to violate any road laws or operate the semi outside of the scope of their job.
The trucking company
The trucking company can be liable for the accident for many reasons. For example:
- If they failed to conduct routine inspections and maintenance on the truck
- If they failed to vet or train the driver adequately
- If they have policies that encourage drivers to violate trucking laws, such as hours of service
More often than not, the trucking company or truck driver is responsible.
A third party
Sometimes a third party is liable. For example, if the accident occurred because of a bald tire and the trucking company outsources inspections and maintenance to a third party, that party would be responsible for missing that maintenance requirement. Sometimes it is a product liability incident in which a manufacturer is responsible for distributing a faulty product and causing the accident.
Semi-truck cases can be complex. Sometimes there are multiple parties at fault, which can even lead to multiple civil cases.