While many truck accidents are the result of driver error, other truck accidents result from the truck having a defect. However, a truck defect does not always get the truck driver or his company off the hook. Drivers are required to perform maintenance on their trucks everyday and to look for signs that there is something wrong with the truck. If your truck accident lawyer discovers that the truck driver did not maintain his truck properly, she may use this in the case against the driver or his company.
Maintenance Requirements for Truck Drivers
There are several maintenance tasks that a truck driver is responsible for, such as making sure his brakes to make sure they are functioning properly. If the brakes fail and this leads to the truck failing to stop in time and colliding with your vehicle, and the truck was poorly maintained, there are several parties that may be held responsible for the accident:
- The truck driver
- The truck owner
- The trucking company
- The truck leasing company
- The truck manufacturer
- The cargo loader
Even the cargo loader can be responsible for the accident because the cargo might be loaded in such a way that interferes with the ability of the driver to safely operate his truck. The truck might be overloaded or the cargo might not be properly secured.
To determine who is liable, you'll need to determine who had a duty of care and failed to properly maintain the truck. Truck companies, for example, are responsible for keeping good maintenance and inspection records as required by federal regulations. To hold the company liable, your truck accident lawyer must prove that the failure to inspect the truck lead to the accident.
Truck Company Liability
In some cases, the driver is fully free from responsibility and the truck company is the only party responsible for the failure to perform adequate maintenance. Sometimes, the trucking company may even be so concerned with increasing profits that they may compromise on safety and make accidents more likely.
Even if the trucking company attempts to perform maintenance on the truck, your lawyer may argue that they performed improper maintenance and should have hired professionals to service the truck.
Even if the truck driver is negligent, you may have a legal case against the driver's employer. The employer can sometimes have vicarious liability. Fortunately, commercial trucking companies often carry insurance policies with very high premiums and your attorney will negotiate a settlement on your behalf.