When a trucking accident occurs, the driver is often the first to be blamed. And indeed, drivers who speed, drive under the influence, or fall asleep behind the wheel are acting negligently. However, trucking accidents are different from those involving regular passenger cars because a truck driver is acting as a commercial representative of the trucking company. Therefore, the trucking company can often be held liable as well. Understanding who shares the blame in a trucking accident can be complicated – but it’s important to determine what happened and why when a serious injury occurs.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, please contact Munley Law’s truck accident lawyers right away for a free assessment of your case.
Trucking Companies Need to Follow Certain Safety Regulations
Trucking companies must follow trucking safety regulations. If one of its drivers causes an accident as a result of the failure on the part of the trucking company to follow federal law, the company can be held responsible. There may be multiple parties involved, however, when a trucking accident occurs.
The potential defendants in a truck accident injury case can include:
- The truck’s driver;
- The owner of the truck or tractor-trailer;
- The person or company that leased the truck or trailer from the owner;
- The manufacturer of the vehicle, tires, or other parts that may have contributed to the cause or severity of the accident, and;
- The shipper or loader of the truck’s cargo (in cases involving improper loading).
The trucking, hauling, and leasing companies will often deny responsibility and attempt to pass the blame to avoid paying compensation to the victim. Trucking companies used to avoid liability for accidents by creating distance between themselves and the driver, the vehicle, and the equipment. The trucking company would obtain permits to operate the truck, but would then lease the equipment, tractors, and trailers from the truck owner. The trucking company would then hire the drivers as independent contractors from the truck owner, instead of hiring them as employees. If an accident occurred, the trucking company would be able to claim that the driver was not an actual employee and, thus, they were not responsible for the accident.
However, current federal law has ended that practice. Any company that owns a truck permit is responsible for all accidents involving a truck with the name of the trucking company displayed on the vehicle – regardless of whether the driver is an employee or independent contractor. Trucking companies can also be held responsible for negligence, including:
- Failure to maintain the truck and parts;
- Failure to provide proper training to drivers;
- Failure to hire safe drivers;
- Failure to conduct background checks;
- Failure to properly monitor truck driver safety;
- Failure to check log books and require accurate entries;
- Failure to enforce limited driving hours.
Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers Today
If you are hurt in a trucking accident, you need help from a firm used to handling claims involving trucking accidents and trucking company insurers. Munley Law has years of experience in dealing with truck accident claims. Our Pennsylvania truck accident lawyers know how to clearly present the facts of your case and prepare a case strategy designed to protect your interests – not those of the trucking company. When trucking companies put others at risk, they must be held accountable, and you shouldn’t have to pay the ultimate price for their negligence.
At Munley Law, our goal is to provide exceptional legal services to our clients. Our Pennsylvania truck accident attorneys strive to achieve the highest standard of excellence for the protection of individual rights through team work and the use of our considerable resources and experience. For a free consultation regarding your legal concerns, contact our truck accident lawyers online today.