Liability in a truck accident isn’t always clear. Even if the driver’s negligence contributed to or caused a crash, it’s possible that other parties share some of the responsibility in addition to the trucker and the trucking company. It’s a good idea to discuss this possibility with legal counsel, especially if injuries are serious.
Determining if a Third Party is Liable for a Truck Accident
Truck drivers are many times at fault for these types of accidents. It could be related to anything from sleep deprivation to speeding. Or it could be an error in trying to avoid a roadway hazard on the I-70 in Denver, for example, and losing control.
Whether related to carelessness or recklessness, when a driver is responsible for a crash the trucking company is accountable for its employees’ actions. But many times an investigation into the accident will uncover other relevant information that may show liability beyond the driver and company.
Examples of Third Parties that Could be Liable in a Truck Accident Claim
Who can be held liable in a truck crash claim:
- owner of truck/trailer. Sometimes independent truck drivers or trucking companies lease their vehicles from third parties. If something was wrong with the truck and/or trailer the individual or entity who owns it may have some liability. Let’s say the hitch is faulty. Even if the driver was at fault for the collision, if the trailer comes loose and causes additional destruction, this could be a contributing factor. Therefore, the truck’s owner might be liable.
- Manufacturer of truck or its parts. The company that manufactures the truck or its parts could also be liable. An example of third party liability in an accident related to a tire blow-out may be if the tires were designed improperly, causing the tread to wear down prematurely. Or if the driver lost control of the vehicle because the ball socket in the steering system of the truck is faulty, the manufacturer might be liable.
- Shipping or loading company. In some cases, problems with the cargo contribute to or cause a truck accident. It could be the load wasn’t properly secured, so if it spills in the accident or it causes a crash to happen when a truck takes a turn, this could lead to the shipper or loader being liable.Or these third parties could also be responsible for failing to inform the driver that the load contains hazardous material. If it spills or causes a fire, an accident victim who suffers respiratory problems from inhaling toxic fumes or sustains burn injuries might hold the shipper or loader liable.
- Individual or company responsible for truck’s maintenance. Another individual or company may handle the maintenance and repairs on a truck, though the trucking company must still inspect the trucks its drivers use to ensure they are safe. Still, if the brakes failed and it caused an accident, it could be that the responsible party had performed inadequate maintenance. Or the party knew of a problem with the brakes but failed to fix them. As a result, the party could be liable.
In many of these cases, liability is in addition to the driver and trucking company. Even if something went wrong in the loading of the truck or a part wasn’t repaired, it’s generally expected that the driver and company ensures the vehicle is safe before operating it. Talk to D.J. Banovitz about determining which party or parties might be liable for your Denver area accident and the resultant injuries and damages. Set up your consultation by contacting us online or calling 303-300-5060.