Accidents involving commercial trucks are different from other accidents in that they typically involve heavy vehicle damage. This is simply because of the sheer disparity in the size of a truck and common SUV. The larger size and heavier weight of the truck are able to inflict more serious damage on the much smaller vehicle, often resulting in catastrophic injuries. An Orange County truck accident lawyer can help you seek compensatory damages.
A common issue with truck accidents is that you may have a hard time figuring out who is liable. Most truck wrecks are caused by commercial truck drivers. However, since the driver is an employee of the trucking company, you may need to file your claim with the company instead of the driver.
Here is a look at the parties that can be potentially held liable in an Orange County truck accident.
Liable Parties in a Truck Accident
Depending on the circumstances of a truck accident, it may be possible to hold one or more of the following parties liable:
The Truck Driver
As noted above, most truck crashes are caused by truck drivers. The driver may be driving under the influence, doze off for a moment, or be otherwise careless in operating the vehicle. Even a slight error of judgment can result in a serious crash.
You may be able to hold the truck driver responsible for the crash. However, the problem is that most truck drivers do not have personal insurance coverage that can cover crash-related losses. This is why filing a claim against the driver is often futile.
Fortunately, you can hold other entities responsible in addition to the driver. In fact, it is often possible to chart the driver’s negligence up to the trucking company that employed the driver.
The Trucking Company
Trucking companies are required to conform to stringent regulations when employing commercial drivers. For instance, California Code of Regulations Section 1212 specifies the hours of service requirements for the truck drivers. Under this section, a commercial driver operating a cargo-carrying vehicle must drive for no more than 14 hours after a 10-hour off-duty period.
Similarly, the trucking company is also responsible for ensuring that the drivers it hires are professionally trained, licensed, and don’t have a history of drinking issues. If the company overlooks these qualifications in hiring the driver, the company can be held vicariously liable for the driver’s negligence.
It is important to discern when the trucking company can be held liable for a truck accident. This is because the trucker will typically have the kind of insurance coverage that can fully pay for the crash-related damages. However, if a truck driver wasn’t acting within the ‘scope’ of their employment when the crash occurred, the trucking company may be able to deflect liability. In a vast majority of truck accidents, though, it is possible to establish the liability of the company for the actions of the driver.
The Maintenance Company
Many truck companies outsource vehicle maintenance to a third party. This third-party entity is responsible for ensuring the proper and safe functioning of the trucks on the road. If a truck accident occurs due to the mechanical failure of a truck, it may be possible to hold the maintenance company responsible.
For instance, if the crash occurs due to a sudden brake failure, the company tasked with the maintenance will be held liable. In such a case, you will typically file a claim for damages with the maintenance company.
Given that there can be several liable parties in a truck accident, it is important to understand who is actually liable before you proceed with a claim for damages. By spending some time identifying the liable party, you are able to prevent unnecessary delays with your claim down the road.
How Can an Orange County Truck Accident Attorney Help?
If you have been involved in a truck accident in Irvine, CA, it is important to get legal help. A good lawyer can carefully examine the facts and evidence from your crash to determine who is liable for the incident.
Here at the Crockett Law Group, we help you identify the liable party and come up with a suitable estimate of damages. Our lawyers also work with you to file a claim for damages at the earliest so that you can get the compensation you deserve without wasting any time. Reach out to us now to discuss your Orange County accident with our lawyers.