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3 times a business could be liable for a semi-truck wreck

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Trucking Accidents

Anyone operating a vehicle in traffic is liable for the consequences of their decisions. The choice to exceed the posted speed limit or to roll through a stop sign could end up causing a crash. Drivers are typically responsible for any collisions they cause by making the wrong decisions in traffic or violating traffic laws.

When the vehicle to blame for a crash is a big commercial truck, the driver may only have a degree of control over the situation. They likely also lack the personal resources to adequately compensate someone involved in a major wreck. Sometimes, it is possible to hold a trucking company accountable for a crash involving a commercial vehicle.

When vehicle maintenance is to blame

Transportation companies often maintain their own vehicles. Having a proprietary fleet can be cost-effective, but it also makes a transportation company responsible for maintaining fleet vehicles. The failure to do so is the underlying cause of approximately one in 10 crashes caused by semi-trucks. Vehicle issues are a major safety concern, and transportation companies may be liable when their failure to properly maintain vehicles causes a crash.

When the worker is on the clock

Sometimes, those who drive professionally operate company vehicles even after they end their shift for the day. However, many commercial drivers are on the clock while in traffic. Under the legal concept of respondeat superior or vicarious liability, employers can be held accountable for the actions of employees while they are actively working for the company. When workers performing their jobs cause collisions that affect other people, the company that hired those workers could be liable for the losses of the other people involved.

When company policy contributes to the crash

Maybe an organization is so desperate for truck drivers that they hire people without proper experience. Perhaps the pay arrangements leave drivers feeling like they have to speed or stay on the road when they should technically be done for the day. The company might even require that workers handle dispatch devices to communicate with management or the logistics team back at the office. If a company has policies that directly contribute to the likelihood of a commercial crash, then the business might be partially liable for a crash caused by those policies.

Filing an insurance claim against a corporate policy is often an option, but semi-truck accidents may also necessitate personal injury lawsuits because of how expensive they can be. Those who establish who is liable for a crash may be able to seek compensation from the appropriate party accordingly.