Pinpointing the responsible party in a motor vehicle accident is often easy. One driver may clearly be at fault, or there may have been additional factors, such as poor road conditions, that contributed to the collision.
With trucking accidents, unique factors can make it harder to determine where the fault lies. However, the broader liability makes it easier to sue as many parties as are responsible.
The most common party to be at fault is the driver of the semi. Truckers face many distractions on the road and have to meet tight deadlines. These can lead to drivers who are drowsy, drunk, speeding or using a cellphone.
Some drivers may not have enough training or experience and therefore make driving errors, such as following other vehicles too closely. Even seasoned truckers can have difficulty maneuvering such a large vehicle, leading to overcorrecting mistakes or not seeing other automobiles in blind spots.
Many of the stresses truck drivers endure come from the companies they work for. These companies may not follow industry standards, pushing drivers to make unreasonable deadlines or falsify logs in order to make more or quicker deliveries. Due to a shortage of drivers, they also may hire unqualified people and not train them sufficiently before putting them on the road.
In addition to management, other employees may be accountable for raising accident risk. For example, loaders not securing cargo properly can result in the truck tipping over or cargo falling out.
Owners and manufacturers
Although it is common for drivers or trucking companies to own semis, a third party may be an owner as well. The owner is responsible for vehicle maintenance and inspection to prevent a malfunction, such as faulty brakes, from causing any type of traffic accident. Likewise, the company that manufactured the truck may share in liability if it produced a defective part.
If you are unsure which party or parties are responsible for your accident with a semi, a lawyer can review your case to determine whom you can sue for financial compensation.