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4 Parties Who May be Liable in a Trucking Accident

By Butler Prather LLP on October 22, 2022

The aftermath of an accident with a larger commercial truck can be a chaotic and confusing experience. Individuals involved in these incidents often struggle to recover compensation from insurance carriers and the trucking company, but that should not be the case. Here, we want to discuss four different parties who may be held liable after a trucking accident occurred in Georgia.

The Truck Driver

One of the most obvious liable parties for a commercial truck accident is the driver. Commercial truck drivers are required to obtain and carry their commercial driver’s licenses, and they should be trained to operate each individual vehicle they are required to drive. Drivers have various specific requirements put forth by state and federal regulators. These requirements revolve around hours of service and required inspections before operating the vehicle each day.

Drivers could be held liable for a crash for a variety of reasons, including operating while impaired, driving too fast for conditions, operating while distracted, following other vehicles too closely, failing to yield the right of way, and various other traffic violations.

The Trucking Company

Trucking companies are another rather obvious liable party after these incidents occur. In fact, if the driver was employed by a trucking company (meaning the driver was not an owner-operator), then it is likely that the company will be liable for the driver’s actions if the driver caused the incident.

However, there are various ways that the trucking company could be outright liable in its own right. Truck company has a tremendous responsibility, including the requirement to regularly inspect and maintain each vehicle, per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Additionally, the trucking company could be held liable if they fail to properly train their drivers, fail to conduct background checks on new hires, encourage drivers to operate beyond their allowable hours of service, etc.

The Owner of the Truck

In many cases, the company that controls the truck is also the owner of the commercial truck. However, there are times when the truck could be leased to a company or driver by a separate owner. Any lease agreement will need to be closely examined after an accident occurs to determine which party should be held liable. The lease could specify that the truck owner is responsible for regular inspection and maintenance and not the company or the driver. A skilled truck accident lawyer in Georgia will fully examine every aspect of these agreements and pursue the proper at-fault party.

Cargo Loaders

There are times when the driver or trucking company is not responsible for some aspects of the vehicle’s operation. This includes the loading of cargo. Proper cargo loading is crucial because improper loading of cargo could throw the vehicle off balance or could result in the cargo coming off of the vehicle altogether. Additionally, there are specific weight requirements for commercial trucks that vary depending on several factors, such as the size of the truck and the weight capacity of the vehicle. In the event there is an issue with cargo that leads to an accident, a cargo loader could be held responsible.

Posted in: Truck Accidents

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