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Theories of Trucking Accident Liability

Laura Thomas July 8, 2019

Multiple trucking accident liability theories exist and an experienced trucking accident attorney will know which theories are strongest in your case to get you maximum compensation. In our previous truck accident series installment, you learned why it’s vital to hire an attorney for a trucking accident claim. During our final series installment, we will explore the various theories of liability used to hold responsible parties accountable for your injuries.

Driver Negligence

All drivers must follow the rules of the road, but truck drivers also have to follow specific regulations laid out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). When a driver breaches this legal duty owed to other drivers and passengers on the road, negligence is established.

Common forms of negligence include speeding, distracted driving, and failing to follow traffic laws/signals. Additional forms of negligence can come into play with truck drivers, such as driving while fatigued and improperly securing cargo. When this negligence leads to a collision, the injured party deserves substantial compensation.

Vicarious Liability

Vicarious liability refers to the trucking company the negligent truck driver works for. This secondary liability means the employer of the driver is also liable for the driver’s conduct. While an employee is engaged in work related duties, the employer of said employee is also partially responsible for the employee’s actions.

So, if a truck driver was on the clock when they rear ended your vehicle, a claim can potentially be filed against the trucking company in addition to the claim against the driver. Several factors come into play with this liability, such as the employer’s ability to mitigate the events that led to the collision, so it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney. In some cases, the truckers are independent contractors instead of employees.

Negligent Hiring and Training

A driver’s possession of a valid CDL (commercial driver’s license) and passing proper certifications are just a few of the requirements a commercial truck driver must fulfill. If a company fails to conduct a thorough background check and ensure the driver has completed all of the necessary steps, they could face a lawsuit for negligent hiring.

Additionally, drivers must complete necessary training, such as learning how to react in inclement weather. When these trainings are not completed, the driver poses a risk to the public.

How to Tell Which Theory of Liability Is Best in Your Trucking Accident Case

While it may seem obvious which type of liability is prevalent in your case, it’s best to contact an experienced trucking accident attorney. An attorney can best advise on theories of liability and how to proceed in your case. It’s helpful to take notes of the details you recall from the accident, as this can help your attorney establish additional theories of liability and/or help prove liability.

It’s best to bring these notes about the accident, and any other information regarding the collision, to your free consultation. For additional tips on how to prepare for your consultation, check out our blog- “How to Make the Most of a Free Consultation with an Injury Attorney”. The attorneys at Biesterveld & Crook are happy to help any victim involved in an accident with a large truck. We will fight the liable insurance company to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries, time, pain, suffering, and more. Call to speak with an attorney today!