Driver or the Owner: Who is Liable for a Commercial Truck Accident

Commercial truck accidents may happen due to all kinds of reasons. The driver may be driving the truck while experiencing fatigue, the truck may have faulty equipment, or it may occur due to poor weather or road conditions. Regardless of the causes, commercial truck accidents can bring about serious injuries.

It’s essential to know the difference between driver liability and commercial vehicle owner liability and who is entitled to what damages. Keep reading for an overview of some of the most common scenarios involving commercial truck accidents.

Driver Liability

When a commercial truck driver is driving a trailer, he has liability for the truck.

This kind of liability usually results from violations of government regulations during driving.

The most common regulations governing commercial drivers include the following.

1. Failure to Obey Traffic Laws

These may include speeding, running red lights, following other vehicles too closely, lane violations, and illegal turns.

2. Driver Fatigue

A driver cannot be on duty for any longer than allowed by their company or state regulations. Normally, the law allows big-rig drivers to work in shifts of no more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. If they haven’t been off duty for such a long time, they can work in shifts of no more than 14 hours.

3. Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

When a truck driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they cannot be on duty.

4. Mechanical Issues

Every commercial vehicle driver is responsible for inspecting the truck before every trip to ensure that all lights and equipment are working correctly. Drivers must report any problems to the company and ensure there are arrangements to have them fixed.

5. Driver Negligence

A driver who isn’t paying attention to the road can be held liable for accidents.

Commercial Vehicle Owner Liability

It may surprise you to learn that a commercial truck owner can also get into trouble if an accident occurs, even though they are not on the road. Truck accident lawyers can help you understand when the truck owner is liable. Generally, the law requires anyone who owns a truck to ensure that it is roadworthy. This will ensure that it’s safe for all drivers and passengers.

The vehicle owner must follow strict safety regulations, including repairing or replacing any piece of equipment that has been deemed unsafe by a certified mechanic.

The following are some regulations that owners must follow.

1. Equipment Maintenance

The owner must schedule regular vehicle inspections and have all engine parts and other equipment serviced by a certified mechanic. If any piece of equipment has been damaged, the owner must replace it immediately or repair it.

2. Operator Training

The owner must ensure that all operators of the vehicle are appropriately trained. This includes training about the safe operation of the equipment, any safety features, and how to detect possible problems. They should only hire certified truck drivers.

How To Seek Compensation

If an accident occurs, you can negotiate directly with the truck owner and the other party involved to reach a consensus, though this is not advisable.

Generally, an attorney will be able to get you better compensation and make sure that your claims are handled professionally to minimize risks.

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