Truck accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, often due to the size and weight of the truck itself. If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident in Phoenix, it is important to determine who is liable for the resulting damages. It is possible that multiple parties could be held responsible for the accident.
Some of the most common liable parties that can be liable for the accident include the following:
If the truck driver causes an accident, they can be held liable for any damages that occur. Drivers may cause crashes if they fail to follow traffic laws, drive too fast for conditions, overload their vehicle, violate hours of service rules, or engage in other negligent behavior.
In cases where the driver is an independent owner-operator not employed by another company or organization, responsibility falls solely on the driver. In other words, they are personally liable should any damages while driving their own vehicle.
Trucking companies are typically responsible for any truck crashes caused by their negligence or wrongdoing. This includes failing to properly maintain their vehicles or failing to follow hiring protocols. The company must also ensure that each driver follows all applicable laws, including the hours of service regulation mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Employers must keep accurate records regarding driver qualifications and hours-of-service compliance. Failing to do so could result in liability should an accident occur due to negligence or non-compliance with laws or regulations.
Third-party repair shops performing maintenance on the truck and manufacturers of parts used on the truck may also be held liable if it can be proven that their negligence or a defect contributed to an accident occurring.
For example, if a manufacturer sold a defective part that caused an engine failure leading to an accident or if a repair shop failed to properly replace worn brakes leading up to an accident, then these parties could potentially be held liable as well.
When goods are being transported by a commercial truck, both the freight company responsible for loading and unloading cargo and the owner of the cargo could potentially face liability if the accident occurred because of their negligence.
Freight companies must ensure that all goods are properly loaded onto trucks before leaving their facility as well as ensure that all cargo is unloaded safely upon arrival at its destination.
Similarly, cargo owners must ensure all items being transported by trucks meet specific safety requirements set forth by law in order to prevent any potential hazards caused by those items during transit.
In some cases, the injured driver of the car may be partially responsible, in which case pure comparative negligence comes into play. Pure comparative negligence is a legal doctrine that allows an injured person to recover damages even if they were partly responsible for causing their own injury.
Each party will be assigned a percentage of fault, and any damages the plaintiff is awarded will then be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to the plaintiff.
For example, if the plaintiff is found to be 20% at fault for their injuries in a truck accident case, they will only receive 80% of their total damages award from any other liable parties.
If you were involved in a truck accident and need help determining liability or have any other questions, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.