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Who Can Be Liable for a Truck Accident?

Dan Brian   |  October 16, 2017   |  

Semi-trucks are the largest and heaviest vehicles on our roads. A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When large semi-trucks collide into smaller passenger vehicles, the results are always catastrophic. For example, a recent truck accident in Rockingham, North Carolina resulted in two deaths.

State troopers said the occupants of the passenger vehicle died on impact. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) statistics show that truck accidents like this one are responsible for more than 3,000 fatalities each year.  However, many truckers follow the rules of the road and are professional drivers.

In some cases, truck crashes are caused by the negligent actions of trucking companies and other parties.

The parties that could be liable for a truck accident include:

  • Trucking companies: Commercial carriers (commercial trucking and bus companies) are required to meet federal guidelines stipulated by the FMCSA. These guidelines determine who can obtain a commercial driver’s license, how long commercial vehicles can be operated and hiring practices. Federal and state guidelines may be violated by these companies. For example, a trucking company may encourage its drivers to violate hours of service regulations. Hours of service rules dictate how long commercial drivers can work and operate a motor vehicle. By not following these rules, drivers could increase the risk of a drowsy driving accident.
  • Truck drivers: Truck drivers are also required to follow FMCSA guidelines. If they violate hours of service rules by falsifying logbooks or by failing to perform maintenance on their vehicles, they may cause a truck accident. Drivers could also be liable for a crash if they were impaired by alcohol or drugs. These are only a few of many examples we could discuss.
  • Vehicle manufacturers: Much like passenger vehicles, commercial trucks can also suffer from manufacturing or design defects. This could make a truck unsafe to drive. Manufacturers could be liable for an accident caused by defective parts.
  • Other businesses: Commercial carriers may use other companies for loading cargo. Cargo must be properly loaded onto a truck or it can shift while the vehicle is in motion. This may cause the driver to lose control and suffer a rollover accident while navigating a turn. In cases where cargo is not loaded properly, these companies may also be liable.

Can I File a Lawsuit for a Truck Accident?

Survivors of truck accidents can suffer life-altering physical injuries. In addition, some truck accident survivors may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many other victims of truck accidents lose their lives. These consequences are devastating for both survivors and their families.

If the parties who are responsible for a truck accident were negligent, they deserve to be held accountable for their actions. In some cases, it may be possible for survivors or their families to file a lawsuit against the parties mentioned in today’s blog.

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The North Carolina truck accident lawyers at Riddle & Brantley, LLP have experience helping victims of truck accidents and their families seek justice against negligent trucking companies.  We also have experience representing truckers who are injured in accidents caused by other truckers who don’t follow the rules of the road.  At Riddle & Brantley, LLP, Justice Counts.