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Who Can Be Held Liable After a Truck Accident?

By San Diego Attorney on December 22, 2019

A collision with a fully-loaded, 80,000-pound tractor-trailer can cause serious injuries and extensive damage. If someone else caused your accident, you may file a personal injury claim for compensation. If you have been involved in a serious truck accident, your first step toward recovering damages is to speak with an experienced injury lawyer. jD LAW, P.C., can thoroughly investigate what happened to determine who is responsible for your medical bills, vehicle repairs, and other expenses directly related to the accident.

Determining Negligence After a Truck Accident

Truck accidents are complex cases with multiple potentially liable parties. Liability is based on negligence, which has three basic parts:

  • The driver owed you a duty of care. For example, every person who operates a motor vehicle has a duty to keep that vehicle from causing foreseeable harm to others.
  • The driver breached that duty of care. Say the trucker did something dangerous, such as speeding with a heavy load or taking stimulants to stay awake.
  • The driver’s breach of duty was a significant factor in causing your injuries. Because of the trucker’s choice, the accident occurred, and you were injured.

Negligence in a trucking accident often lies with the trucker who was on the road, but not always. It could also lie with the:

  • Trucking company
  • Vehicle or parts manufacturer
  • Cargo loader
  • The company responsible for maintaining the truck
  • The entity responsible for maintaining the roads
  • Another motorist who caused or contributed to the crash

Truck Driver Negligence

Truck drivers cause accidents through negligence in several ways, including:

  • Distracted driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs
  • Speeding
  • Making improper lane changes
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles
  • Failing to obey traffic signals and signs

In addition, commercial truck drivers in California are subject to federal regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and to the California Vehicle Code. Both state law and federal regulations limit the amount of time truck drivers can be on the road. Drivers carrying property (as opposed to passengers) are only allowed to drive for 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty, in addition to other restrictions.

When truck drivers violate HOS regulations, they put themselves and others on the roadways at risk. Driver fatigue is one of the top ten factors contributing to truck accidents in FMCSA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study.

Trucking Company Negligence

Trucking companies are also subject to FMCSA regulations. Examples of trucking company negligence contributing to truck accidents include:

  • Failing to maintain trucks and trailers
  • Negligent hiring and training of employees
  • Overloading trailers
  • Allowing overweight vehicles
  • Allowing improperly loaded cargo
  • Allowing drivers to operate in violation of safety laws and regulations
  • Negligently retaining problem drivers or employees

Other Potentially Liable Parties

Truck crashes may be caused in part by other individuals, as well. For example, defective parts in the truck or trailer may have contributed to the crash. If that is the case, a truck, trailer, or parts manufacturer may be liable for your injuries. Large truck crashes can also be caused by improper signage and unsafe road conditions, in which case the government entity responsible for maintaining the roads may be liable.

If you have been hurt in a truck accident, you need a San Diego trucking accident lawyer by your side. Contact jD LAW, P.C., at (760) 630-2000 for dedicated legal representation in your truck accident claim.


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Posted in: Truck Accidents

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