In a truck accident, the trucking company could be held indirectly responsible for the driver’s actions. If you experience injuries after crashing with a commercial truck, the process of determining liability is sometimes more complicated than during a car crash. Even if the truck driver is noticeably impaired or negligent, there are several other factors regarding proving liability.
Data from the New York Department of Motor Vehicles indicates that, during 2014, the state saw 10,742 large truck crashes. One can only imagine how the growing population has contributed to this number years after. Out of these crashes, questions often come up regarding who is responsible in a trucking accident. It may be either the driver, the trucking company, or both.
About the Factors Leading to a Trucking Accident
Looking at a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on the causation for large truck accidents, a variety of factors can contribute to a collision, some of which include driver negligence or inexperience. For example, if a driver did not observe regulations regarding hours of service and rest or if they failed to have their vehicle properly inspected once in a while, the driver may have caused the accident.
Understanding Who Is Liable for Damages in a Trucking Accident
Typically, if driver error occurs, the trucking company (not the driver) is liable. The main reason is that there is a rule in place about responder error. What that means is, if the employee operates by the scope of their duties, employers are responsible for their errors.
Therefore, when you file trucking accident actions, the trucking company is typically the defendant. So, when the court or insurer issues a settlement award, those damages come from the trucking company’s liability insurance company.
Despite this liability rule, some trucking companies might try to avoid liability by stating that their driver is an independent contractor. By stating the driver is not an employee, the company is trying to avoid financial responsibility.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, 49 C.F.R. § 390.5 removes the distinction between independent contractor and employee. That means, according to the law, all truck drivers, no matter their status, are considered employees of trucking companies. You can preempt these types of problems by securing an experienced legal team.
About Filing a Negligence Claim for a Trucking Accident
Just like any other vehicle crash, truck accident cases must prove that a company or driver was acting negligently. That proof must also establish that the victim’s injuries were the direct result of negligence. During trucking accident cases, your attorney must prove that:
- The truck company, driver, or another third party owed reasonable or duty of care to the victim
- The truck company, driver, or another third party failed to meet that reasonable or duty or care
- Failing to meet that care resulted in damages
- Damages or injuries were the ultimate results
Even though the steps regarding establishing proof of negligence are straightforward, that does not mean proving who is at fault is not going to be difficult.
Let Morelli Law Firm Help You Seek Compensation
If you are involved in a minor trucking accident, keep in mind that all trucking accidents are different. Because there are many factors regarding who is responsible for a trucking accident, the driver or the trucking company, you have a right to legal representation to help determine fault.
Factors that trucking accident attorneys focus on regarding building a successful case include:
- Their knowledge of federal trucking violations
- Understanding how to collect and preserve evidence
- Looking for evidence trucking companies typically “lose”
- Knowing what recoverable damages are available
Minimum Liability Requirements for Truck Drivers
Working with an experienced legal team means they are using every possible resource to recover the full amount of compensation that crash victims need. These damages cover incapacitating injuries, hospitalizations, and pain and suffering. According to federal law, all truck drivers must have minimum liability coverage if an accident occurs. Under this coverage, insurance is available for the trucker’s property damage and bodily injuries if they are responsible for the crash. While many insurance companies offer higher levels of coverage, a trucker must carry a minimum liability policy.
Recoverable Damages for a New York Trucking Accident
We understand the immediate and long-term consequences victims and their families face following a trucking accident. We can work toward receiving recoverable damages to help victims cover expenses. Examples of recoverable damages include:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of normal life
- Lost wages or disability
- Pain and suffering
Recoverable damages always depend on the specifics of your case.
Consider a Trucking Accident Lawyer in New York Today
If you experienced an injury from a trucking accident, we are available to help recover the compensation you need and deserve. Call Morelli Law Firm today at (212) 751-9800, so we can review your case today.