Ever been in an accident involving a truck? Finding out who must take the blame and determining the actual cause of the accident are more complex than dealing with traffic accidents. This is because there are plenty of entities involved — the truck driver, truck operator or owner, and the truck’s manufacturer, among many others.
Truck Accidents and Governing Laws
The trucking industry is legally bound to follow federal rules and laws, which are used for establishing specific standards that truck drivers, owners, and companies should abide by. These laws determine who’s at fault in the event of an accident. Together with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates truck driving, says Matthew P Jube – Attorney at Law, a truck accident attorney in Provo. Each state has their own trucking laws.
Because there are several suspects that could be held responsible for a plaintiff’s injuries in a truck accident, liability or responsibility could sometimes be difficult to establish. These potential defendants include:
- The driver
- The truck’s owner or operator
- The company or individual who leased the truck from the operator or owner
- The manufacturer of parts of the truck that could’ve contributed to the accident or its severity
- The loader or shipper of the cargo (in accidents that involve improper loading)
Note that these entities try to determine the liability on their own, to determine whose insurance must pay the victim’s compensation. For instance, the owner could say malfunctioning brakes caused the accident. The company that manufactured the brakes could say the leasing company is to blame because the brakes weren’t maintained properly.
Before, truck owners or operators attempted to avoid responsibility for accidents by distancing themselves from the drivers, the truck, and its equipment. Nowadays, however, federal statute strictly states that all companies that have a trucking permit can be held liable for any accident that involves a truck displaying their name or placard. Understanding the various relationships between the entities related to the trucking accident aids you and your lawyer in determining if your specific case has a valid claim.