The most obvious answer for the question of responsibility for an accident caused by a truck driver may or may not be the correct answer. There are variables that may confer responsibility to other agents. These agents may share partial responsibility or bear the full weight of any financial settlements that are awarded after a truck accident.
Accidents caused by independent drivers
Independent drivers, who own their trucks, will haul cargo on a contractual basis and are legally responsible for any damages or physical injuries and death that may result from an accident. However, they may also be able to share responsibility with repair facilities that may have performed repairs incorrectly or with parts manufacturers that have sold a defective product that caused or contributed to an accident.
Accidents caused by corporate drivers
If an accident is caused by a truck driver that is driving a company truck in the performance of their duties, then the company is responsible for any financial compensation or punitive damages that may result from an accident. This is true whether or not the individual driver deviated from company mandated safety practices or local traffic ordinances.
Businesses bear responsibility for the actions of their drivers but may also seek shared or sole responsibility from manufacturers of defective parts if a defect can be shown to have caused or contributed to an accident.
What are some of the factors that indicate driver negligence?
Driving too many hours without rest
All truck drivers, whether self employed or corporate, must keep an accurate log of their driving hours. Truck drivers are only allowed to drive a specified number of hours daily to allow sufficient rest for safe driving. Falsification of these records can lead to criminal charges and jail time for a serious accident.
Driving over weight limit
Self employed drivers are especially tempted to carry more freight than allowed by law. Truck payments and maintenance, as well as fuel costs, require drivers to move as much freight as possible to remain financially stable. When drivers avoid highway weigh stations in order to carry an illegally heavy load, they inhibit their ability to stop or control their truck in the event of the need for a sudden stop or evasive maneuver.
Because of all of the variables involved in seeking compensation for damages or injuries from a truck accident, victims should consult with an attorney that specializes in truck accidents. A truck accident lawyer will be aware of all of the intricacies involved as various parties seek to assign blame to other parties and delay necessary compensation for the victims of truck accidents.