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Assigning Fault After Accidents with Commercial Trucks

Posted on in Car Accidents

Assigning Fault After Accident with Commercial TruckThere are typically two parties who can be held at fault when a commercial truck causes a vehicle accident: the driver and the trucking company. The truck driver is often sued because he or she has the most direct control over whether an accident occurs. However, negligence or pressure by the trucking company can create the circumstances that lead to an accident. If you can prove that a trucking company was at fault, you may be able to receive greater personal injury compensation from them than you would from just the driver.

Driver Negligence

There are several ways that a truck driver can be at fault for a vehicle accident because they have to follow industry-specific regulations and the rules of the road. Common causes of truck accidents include:

  • Driver fatigue;
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Distracted driving; or
  • Reckless driving practices.

Driving a truck is more difficult than a normal vehicle because of the slower stop times, blind spots, and wide turns. While other drivers must accommodate a truck’s limitations, the truck driver is responsible for not endangering other drivers with his or her actions.

Employer Negligence

It is more difficult to prove that a trucking company is at fault for one of its driver’s accidents because the cause is indirect and requires an investigation into the company’s practices. A trucking company may be at fault if it:

  • Was negligent in repairing or maintaining a truck and its equipment;
  • Pressured or encouraged drivers to ignore the number of consecutive hours they are allowed to drive; or
  • Knew that one of its drivers was unqualified or dangerous in operating a vehicle.

Employee vs. Contractor

The driver’s status as an employee or independent contractor can determine the level of liability that a trucking company has. Employers are responsible for their direct employees’ negligence when it causes an injury during the course of their work. However, a trucking company may not be responsible for the negligence of an independent contractor who:

  • Operates his or her own truck;
  • Has his or her own insurance; and
  • Is not under direct supervision.

Personal injury plaintiffs should confirm for themselves whether a driver is truly an independent contractor. Some trucking companies classify employees as independent contractors because of the multiple ways it can save them money.

Truck Injury Compensation 

Injuries from an accident with a commercial truck can be catastrophic because of the size of the vehicle. A McHenry County personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can determine who is liable for your accident. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.



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