Can Commercial Trucking Companies Be Liable For Accidents?
Truck accidents are often some of the worst on the road. The sheer size difference between a tractor-trailer and a standard vehicle means that truck crashes are more likely to cause more severe injuries. Most of the time, the occupants of the other car experience the worst trauma.
In the wake of a truck accident, it’s easy to place blame quickly. However, accidents involving commercial trucks are often more complex because multiple parties may be liable for the crash. Knowing which connection exists is vital for the victim in seeking compensation.
Who Can Be Found Responsible for a Truck Accident?
Multiple parties can be found liable in a truck accident. What often makes these cases complicated is determining who is responsible for what and to what extent. Most likely, the blame for the accident will be on the truck driver. However, semi-truck accidents are not as simple as car accidents. Preparing a truck for travel involves multiple parties and all or some of whom may share responsibility for the crash.
Determining liability following a truck accident takes much time and a thorough investigation. Commercial trucking companies have their own team of investigators ready to protect the trucking company, not you, following an accident. If you or someone you know was injured in a truck accident, you’ll need good, solid evidence to back up your claim. Simply put, you’ll need a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer by your side.
When A Trucking Company Can Be Found Liable
If the truck driver was seemingly the one at fault for the accident, it might seem strange to sue the trucking company. But in many instances, you can file a lawsuit against the trucking company and recover more damages, considering they can be legally to blame directly for their own actions or vicariously for the actions of their drivers. A commercial trucking company may be at fault in any of the following situations:
- Not allowing drivers to take mandatory rest breaks
- Hiring unqualified drivers
- Negligent cargo loading
- Ignoring weight, size, and route limitations
- Skipping maintenance schedules
- Failure to perform repairs
- Cutting corners around safety
- Unrealistic expectations, pressuring employees to meet unreasonable delivery schedules
Both truck drivers and the businesses they work for are required to follow both state and federal standards. Because these laws are designed to prevent accidents, the company may be liable if violating them leads to an injury. Since there are so many factors determining whether a trucking company can be sued for an accident, proving fault is not always easy. An expert witness and a lawyer may expose violations of relevant statutes and use them to build a strong negligence case for you.
What If The Truck Driver Was An Independent Contractor?
After an accident with a commercial truck, the discovery that the driver is an independent contractor could make a victim assume the company cannot be found liable for damages. However, this is not the case. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations eliminated the distinction between “independent contractors” and “employees.” All drivers for a company, including independent contractors, are now legislatively deemed “statutory employees,” —which prevents trucking companies from escaping responsibility for their trucks and drivers because of employment status.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in Kansas City
Proving an employer’s liability for a negligent or reckless driver’s actions may be difficult in Missouri. Victims may benefit from a car accident attorney in Kansas City helping them investigate their accidents. The truck accident attorneys at Goss Law Firm know how to investigate truck accidents thoroughly and how to develop solid cases against negligent truck drivers, trucking companies, manufacturers and distributors, and other third parties. Our team will work diligently and aggressively to maximize compensation from all available sources for you. Contact us today at 816-839-6452 to schedule your free, no-risk legal consultation.