Experiencing a truck accident is frightening. You may have severe injuries that keep you from doing the things that you love. You may also be haunted by memories of the crash every time you get behind the wheel.
Depending on the situation for the accident, it may be easy to show the trucker’s fault. Further investigation may reveal, however, that more than one party was to blame for the damage the trucker caused in the accident.
These are the parties that could potentially be liable in your truck accident claim.
The company that loaded the truck
Semis are already heavy trucks. All that weight can make it take longer for a truck to stop and make the vehicle more difficult to control. Truckers, however, are trained to understand the safest ways to drive their trucks. Truckers are supposed to know how much room to leave between themselves and other vehicles, so they have enough time to stop, and they should know how to maneuver through traffic safely.
There can be a problem, however, when the truck is not loaded correctly or with too much weight. Some companies try to get more cargo into a truck than it should hold to make the trip “worth it.” In an effort to be faster, other companies will not load the cargo the proper way so that the weight is distributed effectively in the truck.
In either situation, there is an increased hazard when a truck is not loaded according to its specifications. Trucks with too much weight or that are unbalanced are more difficult to stop and move through traffic. These trucks are more likely to tip over, too. If the way a truck was loaded is the reason for the accident, the company that did the loading could be held liable.
The trucking company
Trucking comes with a lot of responsibility – both for the company and the drivers it employs. Semis are already challenging to maneuver and handle in traffic. Pair that with the pressure to be on the road as many hours as possible and to get to their destination quickly, and it can be a recipe for disaster.
A recent study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that over 80 percent of truck crashes were caused by the driver, while only 10 percent had to do with the vehicle. These truckers were tired, inattentive or simply making unsafe choices behind the wheel (such as following too closely or driving too fast).
The trucking company has a responsibility to keep unsafe drivers off the road and to encourage safe driving practices. Truckers that are tired or distracted are a danger to everyone on the road and could cause the trucking company to be liable for an accident.