Liability in Commercial Truck Accidents: Who's Responsible?

Posted By Meyerkord & Meyerkord, LLC || 27-Feb-2018

American roadways are filled with commercial vehicles, trucks, and 18-wheelers that provide needed services for commerce, construction, public services, and other industries. While they are such an important part of our economy, commercial trucks are also a significant hazard on our public roads and highways – capable of causing devastating truck accidents that can cause considerable damages, catastrophic injuries, and even death.

Because the risks associated with these massive machines – which can weighh as much as 80,000 pounds – are so extreme, state and federal governments go to great lengths in regulating the trucking industry. All commercial trucks – from cargo and passenger carriers to garbage trucks and public transportation – are subject to some type of regulatory oversight. Drivers and companies or agencies that own these vehicles also have a legal obligation to take appropriate measures for safe operation. When they commit violations or otherwise fail to uphold their legal duty, they place everyone at risk – and can be held liable for injuries and damages victims suffer as a result.

As a firm with a proven record of success handling truck accident cases on behalf of clients across Missouri and the U.S., our St. Louis truck accident lawyers at Meyerkord & Meyerkord, LLC have the experience and resources to handle event the toughest commercial vehicle accident cases. As part of every case we handle, we focus our efforts on determining the underlying cause, and on ensuring the at-fault party is held responsible. Because there are many potential causes of truck accidents and many factors at play in these cases, liability can vary depending on the issues involved. For example, the following parties can be held responsible for truck accidents:

  • Drivers – Statistics show that driver error is a leading cause of truck and commercial vehicle accidents, which is why truckers must abide by a number of regulations. These include regulations that prohibit them from drug and alcohol use, Hours of Service rules that limit the amount of time they can be behind the wheel, and more. Truckers also have a legal obligations to safely operate their vehicles, and can be held liable for any violations or acts of negligence that lead to preventable wrecks.
  • Operators – Trucking companies are ultimately responsible for their fleet and their employees. Should they commit violations, including those regarding vehicle maintenance, HOS rules, cargo loading and securements, and more, they increase risks of accidents. They are also responsible for ensuring they hire and retain properly trained and qualified drivers and employees. Trucking companies are often held liable in truck accident cases where their negligence or prioritization of profits over people causes preventable harm.
  • Product Manufacturers – Not every trucking accident stems from the negligence of drivers or trucking companies; some are the result of defective and unsafe products or auto parts. For example, defective tires, faulty brakes, and other parts of a truck can malfunction or fail and cause wrecks. In these cases, victims may be able to hold the product manufacturer liable for their damages.
  • Third Parties – The trucking industry is comprised of many companies that work to transport goods and commodities, which means third parties that contract with trucking operators may sometimes be liable for damages resulting from their own negligence, such as the negligence of distributors or shippers who violate cargo loading and securement regulations or the negligence of maintenance companies that fail to address potential hazards on trucks. In cases where a truck accident is caused or contributed to by another motorist, those drivers may also be held liable, in part or in whole, by victims they harm.
  • Government Agencies – When commercial truck and vehicle accidents involve motor vehicles operated by government agencies, such as public utilities or public transportation, victims may need to hold the appropriate government agency liable for damages. Personal injury cases against the government are subject to different rules and procedures than other injury cases, which is why victims need to work with proven lawyers and bring their case to the attention of qualified attorneys as soon as possible.

Meyerkord & Meyerkord, LLC has helped more than 40,000 victims and families protect their right to compensation, and we are prepared to help those harmed in trucking accidents throughout St. Louis, Missouri, Illinois, and beyond. Contact us to discuss a potential case during a FREE consultation. We are available 24/7to help!

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