Truck accidents can be devastating for passenger vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and even property owners. Semi-trucks are enormous vehicles, and when they hit a person or object, they are far more likely to cause significant damage because of their size and weight.
Thankfully, if you are involved in a truck accident, you likely have legal options that can help you recover financially. In truck accident cases, there are a wide variety of liability theories that you can use to prove your case. Many of these theories deal with driver error or fault, but they often involve the trucking company as well. The type of argument that you use in your truck accident case will depend on the facts of your unique situation.
Driver Negligence or Fault
Driver error is the most common reason that truck accidents occur. A truck driver is just like any other motor vehicle operator on the road. He or she can make the same mistakes as someone driving a passenger vehicle, but when the truck driver loses control, it often results in a much more severe collision. Common reasons that a driver may be at fault in a truck accident include:
- Driver fatigue
- Intoxication (alcohol or drugs)
- Reckless or careless driving
- Driving beyond the hours permitted by federal or state law
- Overloaded trucks
Trucking Company Liability
When a truck driver is an employee of another company, the driver’s actions could make the company liable for your damages and injuries as well. This occurs through a concept known as “vicarious liability.” Under this argument, the driver is considered an “agent” or representative of the company, which means he or she “speaks for” the trucking business as a whole. In many circumstances, that puts the entire company at fault if the driver is at fault.
Truck drivers must go through training and certification to drive their large vehicles. Trucking companies are generally tasked with ensuring that their employees have the training they need to operate their trucks safely. They should also receive training on legal requirements regarding their vehicle and drive time as well. When training is deficient, that can mean that a driver makes a mistake that should not have occurred.
Bad Hiring Decisions
Sometimes trucking companies will hire individuals to drive their vehicles that really should not be behind the wheel for a variety of reasons. The most common example is where the truck driver has a poor driving record. However, other issues like poor vision, medical conditions, or addiction can also make hiring a specific person a bad choice for a trucking company. When a driver is a hazard to others on the road, that could lead to a legal claim against the trucking company for negligent hiring.
Getting Legal Help with Your Truck Accident Claim
If you or a loved one has been in a trucking accident, talk to an attorney about your legal options. The legal team at GA Injury Advocates can help you determine which legal theory will work best for you and work with you to assert it to an insurance company, judge, or jury. Contact our team today to learn more.