Truck drivers are not always responsible for truck accidents that occur. While you may be interested in bringing a personal injury lawsuit against a truck and its insurance company, there may be other reasons an accident occurred.
Sometimes a truck driver commits an error behind the wheel that leads to an accident, which shows fault. However, in other accidents, the trucker may not have done anything wrong. Perhaps the company that owns the truck made the error, meaning the owner is liable for your injuries.
When Truck Drivers Are at Fault in Vehicle Accidents
There are several reasons a truck driver may be found liable for a truck accident in which you suffer an injury, including:
- Speeding: Truckers who violate state and local speed limit laws just before a traffic accident may be at fault.
- Driving under the influence: A trucker who drinks or uses drugs before operating a truck can be held liable in a crash.
- Illegal lane change: When a truck driver shifts lanes without checking their mirrors, it could lead to a sideswipe accident, or it could force you off the road, showing liability on the driver’s part.
- Driving recklessly: A truck driver who is operating a vehicle without caution or regard for others on the road could be liable after a crash.
- Illegal turn: Truck drivers making turns in traffic need to exercise caution, as the trailer often swings out of its lane during a turn, which could lead to an accident with another car.
Situations where truck drivers may not be responsible for a crash
After a truck accident, it is possible that a trucker will not have any liability or only partial liability for the accident.
If the company that owns the truck violates laws regarding the maximum weight the truck can carry when loading the trailer, the truck driver may have no knowledge of this violation. If the truck being overweight later plays a role in your truck crash, it is possible to hold the trucking company liable.
In New York, the maximum weight for a large truck is 80,000 pounds, according to the New York Department of Transportation. Several other weight limits exist for smaller trucks. This can lead to some confusion, but our attorneys fully understand these rules and will apply them to your case.
Truck drivers need to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to legally operate a truck in each state. Some criteria for a trucker to hold a legal license in New Jersey, for example, according to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, include:
- Being age 18 or older
- Holding a regular New Jersey driver’s license
- Being relatively physically fit
- Having adequate vision in each eye
- Recognizing colors of a traffic light
If the trucking company hires someone who does not have a valid commercial driver’s license, this could show liability on the trucking company’s part.
If the trucking company makes an error while loading the trailer, leading to an improper shift of the cargo while the truck driver makes a turn, the driver may lose control of the rig and crash into a car.
The liable party in a crash like this probably would not be the driver, as he or she had no role in loading the cargo.
If the repair company responsible for maintaining the truck fails to fix a problem, leading to a failure of the brakes or a blown tire, this may indicate fault on the mechanic’s part than the driver.
If a parts manufacturer creates a faulty part that a mechanic installs in the truck, and this part leads to an accident, the manufacturer may be responsible.
Another Driver Is at Fault
Just because a truck is larger than the car, it does not mean it is always responsible for a crash. A motor vehicle driver who is texting while driving or speeding may be responsible for hitting the truck during an accident. The trucker would not have any liability in a case like this.
If a different driver swerves in front of a truck, causing a truck driver to lose control and crash into you, this other driver could be liable for the crash, even if they had no physical involvement in the accident.
We Will Work to Determine Who Is Liable for Your Truck Accident
The truck accident attorneys at Morelli Law Firm are ready to investigate your case to determine fault. We work hard for our clients, aiming to give them the best chance of winning a personal injury claim related to the truck accident.
For a free case review, call us at (212) 751-9800 as soon as possible. We will review your next steps, including steps to take after a truck accident. We work on a contingency basis, so you do not owe us any money if we do not recover a monetary award for you.