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When is a Trucking Company Liable for a Truck Accident?

Red truck parked on the side of the road

Truck accidents can have devastating consequences, resulting in severe injuries and significant property damage. Determining liability in such cases is crucial, as it helps victims seek the compensation they deserve. In this blog post, we will delve into the factors that determine when a trucking company can be held liable for a truck accident, providing you with valuable insights to navigate through the legal process.

Vicarious Liability

One of the primary ways a trucking company can be held liable for a truck accident is through the principle of vicarious liability. This legal doctrine states that employers can be held responsible for the actions of their employees while they are performing work-related duties. If the truck driver was an employee of the trucking company and was operating the vehicle within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident, the company may be held vicariously liable for the accident.

Negligent Hiring and Training

Trucking companies have a responsibility to ensure that they hire qualified and competent drivers. If a company hires a driver without conducting proper background checks, neglecting to verify their qualifications or driving history, and the driver later causes an accident due to incompetence or negligence, the company may be held liable for negligent hiring. Similarly, if the trucking company fails to provide adequate training to its drivers on safety protocols, handling emergencies, and adhering to traffic laws, they may be held responsible for negligent training.

Failure to Maintain Vehicles

Trucking companies are responsible for maintaining their vehicles in a safe and roadworthy condition. Regular inspections, maintenance, and repairs are crucial to prevent mechanical failures that could lead to accidents. If a trucking company fails to adequately maintain its fleet and a mechanical issue contributes to a crash, they may be held liable for negligence in vehicle maintenance.

Hours-of-Service Violations

Truck drivers are subject to federal and state regulations that govern their working hours to prevent driver fatigue, a significant contributor to truck accidents. If a trucking company knowingly allows or encourages their drivers to violate hours-of-service regulations, and the driver's fatigue is a factor in an accident, the company may be held liable for their negligence.

Overloading and Improperly Securing Cargo

Overloading a truck or improperly securing cargo can significantly impact a truck's stability and handling, making it more susceptible to accidents. Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that their drivers load and secure cargo properly to avoid accidents related to weight distribution or shifting loads. If an accident occurs due to overloaded or improperly secured cargo, the trucking company may be held liable for their negligence.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, it is crucial to consult with experienced personal injury attorneys, like Meyerkord & Kurth, who specialize in handling such cases.

Contact us today!

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