Driving a truck is a highly responsible job. Due to its size, a truck collision can cause extensive damage on the road. Truck drivers need to be extremely cautious and aware of various factors because they have a duty of care to all on the road. If it is proved that the driver or trucking company was negligent, they can be held liable for compensation to victims of an accident.
Parties That Can Be Held Responsible After a Truck Accident
There are several parties that can be held accountable for a truck accident. The main liability for a truck accident lies with the truck driver and the trucking company. However, it would depend on the circumstances of the case, as to who can be held liable for a truck accident in Texas. The main parties that can be held responsible are the following.
The Driver of the Truck
The primary responsibility for a truck accident always rests with the driver of the truck. Drivers have to prove that they were not negligent in driving and took the necessary safety measures while driving. They should be able to prove that they were not distracted or tired, and were not speeding at the time of the accident. The truck driver also needs to check the roadworthiness of the truck at regular intervals and ensure that the cargo has been properly loaded and is secure.
The Trucking Company
In case the transportation for the goods has been provided by a trucking company, it can be held liable for the truck and the driver that is carrying the goods to its destination. Drivers should be properly certified and trained to drive these large vehicles. The FMCSA includes a manual for proper loading, driving, and care and maintenance of every truck.
The Shipper and Loader of the Cargo
In case the cargo has been loaded by another third-party firm, they can also be held responsible if the cargo has not been loaded and secured properly. This is especially true when an investigation reveals that a cargo shift or dislodgment led to the accident.
The Manufacturer of the Truck and Parts Makers
If the accident investigation reveals that a faulty part or system was the cause of the accident, the manufacturers of the truck and the particular parts manufacturer can be held liable for the accident. Failed brakes, tire blowouts, and steering problems are common problems leading to truck accidents.
Government Agencies and Contractors
If it is determined that a defect in the road caused the truck to roll over and cause an accident, the local or state government authority responsible for repair and maintenance for that particular stretch of the road can be held liable for the accident. This liability could also extend to a repair and maintenance contractor if it was proved they were careless in their work.
Gathering Evidence to Determine Liability after a Truck Accident
Since the liability for a truck accident could extend to so many parties, it is imperative that a proper investigation is conducted into the cause of the crash. The truck’s black box, eyewitness accounts, police records, maintenance records, and the truck driver’s duty log need to be examined.
It might even need the services of forensic experts such as accident reconstruction specialists to determine what happened. The insurance company usually depends on police records, the truck’s black box, and eyewitness accounts. It may settle the claim quickly but the compensation may be way too low.
Determining liability after a Texas truck accident can be a complicated affair. The truck driver may not be responsible at all. It all depends on the circumstances of the case. If multiple parties are at fault, it could be difficult to determine liability. The release of the truck for examination may require a Court Order.