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Who Can Be Held Liable After a Truck Accident

Posted on behalf of Greg Coleman Law on May 01, 2018 in Truck Accident

red semi truck on the roadCommercial truck accidents are distinct from other kinds of accidents because any number of people or entities may be involved. This can make it difficult to determine which parties may be responsible for the damages caused by a truck accident.

If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, it is important to seek assistance from an experienced attorney who understands the commercial trucking industry.

Greg Coleman Law’s truck accident lawyers in Knoxville will review your claim and investigate your accident to determine which party may be responsible for your injuries. Some parties which may bear responsibility include:

Truck Driver

Driver error is responsible for many truck accidents. Driver error may result in mistakes that contribute to accidents, such as:

Substance Abuse

Often, truck drivers have an obligation to travel many miles during a long-distance haul. Unfortunately, many drivers use drugs and alcohol to keep themselves alert while they travel.

However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) strictly prohibits truck drivers from consuming drugs or alcohol while on duty.

Furthermore, truck drivers are frequently subjected to random drug and alcohol tests. This includes after the driver has been involved in an accident that resulted in property damage or injury.

If your attorney finds the truck driver involved in your accident was impaired by drugs or alcohol, the driver may be held liable for your injury and financial losses.

Driver Fatigue

Another common cause of truck accidents is driver fatigue, which increases the risk of driver error, such as:

  • Having difficulty maintaining attention and awareness to their surroundings
  • Improperly judging distances between vehicles
  • Falling asleep at the wheel
  • Delayed reactions to a hazard that suddenly appears
  • Properly identifying signs of danger ahead

To prevent these accidents from occurring, the FMCSA created the Hours of Service rule, which limits the number of hours that a commercial truck driver can drive in any given day.

According to the Hours of Service rule, drivers can drive for a maximum of 11 hours after resting for 10 consecutive hours. There is also a mandatory rest break after a commercial driver has operated a vehicle for 60 hours in a consecutive seven-day period or 70 hours in a consecutive eight-day period. Drivers must wait for at least 34 consecutive hours off duty before they can resume driving.

Our lawyers will request the driver’s log to check for lack of compliance of these important federal rules that were established to protect the safety of other motorists on the road.

Other Causes

Other driver errors that may contribute to accidents include:

  • Driving erratically
  • Speeding
  • Not following traffic signals or signs
  • Not braking when a hazard was imminent
  • Not driving in a safe manner as trained and required to maintain a commercial driver’s license

Trucking company records or black box data from an accident may help identify various factors that may have led to the accident. Our skilled personal injury team may be able to determine the cause of the accident and establish how we can prove it.

Trucking Company

Truck companies can be held liable for the actions of their employees. Some trucking companies hire truck drivers directly as their employees and are liable for their actions through vicarious liability principles.

However, many trucking companies hire independent contractors and avoid liability for the driver’s errors because the company is not liable for his or her actions.

Our skilled personal injury attorneys will review employment records to determine whether the driver was an employee or independent contractor. Even if the trucking company claims otherwise, if the trucking company has control over the vehicle and controls when and how the driver’s work is performed, the driver may be considered an employee and the trucking company can be held liable for his or her actions.

Vehicle or Parts Manufacturer

If a defective vehicle part led to or contributed to the accident, the vehicle or part’s manufacturer may be held liable for the accident. Defective parts may include:

  • Brakes
  • Steering
  • Transmission
  • Engine
  • Tires
  • Trailer attachment
  • Lighting

We can review the trucking company’s maintenance records and the vehicle’s service reports to determine if the accident may have been caused by a defective vehicle part.

Contact a Lawyer for Assistance

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, our Knoxville personal injury attorneys will investigate your claim to determine which party may be held liable for your injury and financial losses. We will provide you with a free review of your claim and work on a contingency basis. This means you only have to pay us if we recover compensation on your behalf.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form to get started today.

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