Being struck by an 80,000-pound semi-truck can be a horrific experience. If a person is lucky to survive such a crash, they are likely left with catastrophic, life-long injuries.
Those injured in semi-truck crashes will need to find a way to pay for their extensive ongoing medical care, cover their inability to ever work again and account for their pain and suffering. If they choose to seek compensation, who might be responsible for their damages?
Possible defendants in a truck accident lawsuit
Two parties that might be responsible for damages following a truck crash are the truck driver and the truck driver’s employer.
First, the semi-truck driver might be responsible for the crash. Many semi-truck crashes boil down to driver error. The trucker may have been speeding, drowsy, distracted or otherwise fail to drive safely under the circumstances.
Such actions violate a driver’s duty to drive with due care for the safety of others sharing the road. This might mean the trucker is at-fault for the crash and can be held responsible.
But what about the truck company that hired the trucker? They are responsible for ensuring their drivers are properly licensed, trained and follow state driving laws and regulations.
A truck company can fail to meet these obligations in a variety of ways. They might hire a driver who does not have the proper training or credentials. They might hire a driver who has a poor driving record or a history of DUIs. They could fail to monitor a trucker’s job performance or fail to review the truck’s electronic logging device to ensure the trucker is consistently following the law.
Truck companies as employers are responsible for ensuring their employees do not harm others while performing their job duties. Thus, they might also be responsible for any errors their drivers make on the job.
It makes sense that truck companies should be held accountable for their driver’s errors. For this reason, if a trucker causes a truck crash, not only might the trucker be held responsible for the crash, but so might the truck company. Both parties played a role in the crash, so both might be deemed at fault, and thus be responsible for the damages caused by their lack of due care.