Who is liable for a semi-truck collision?

On Behalf of | Aug 22, 2023 | Truck Accidents

There are semi-trucks on almost every highway and major thoroughfare in Florida at some point during the day. Commercial vehicles cross the state back and forth delivering goods and supplies, and their presence on the road is crucial for the modern economy.

Unfortunately, given that they are substantially larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, 18-wheelers and other commercial trucks tend to cause catastrophic collisions when something goes wrong. Those involved in traffic collisions tend to assume that it will always be one of the motorists who is ultimately liable for whatever collision occurs. However, in scenarios involving commercial vehicles, the driver may not actually be a party who should rightfully incur legal and financial responsibility for a crash. Who might be responsible for a wreck involving a semi-truck?

The driver

When looking at analysis of what causes semi-truck collisions, often a mistake by the commercial driver is ultimately to blame. They might get too close to other vehicles, travel too fast given current road conditions or wrongly estimate how much space they have when completing a turn at a tight intersection. Even though drivers are often to blame, they frequently are not directly liable. However, they may be financially culpable for a crash when they are an owner-operator driving as a self-employed professional.

The transportation company

Most truckers are employees working for large transportation companies. Under standard liability rules, employers are generally responsible for the negligence or mistakes of their workers while they are on the clock. Therefore, even when a truck driver is to blame for a crash, their employer will be the one to provide insurance for compensation for the affected parties in many cases. Transportation companies are also responsible for crashes that result from poor business practices or improper maintenance of their vehicles.

The clients that hired the transportation company

Often, companies that require transportation services will have a loaded trailer ready for a driver to attach to their cab and haul to a specific destination. Clients may therefore be responsible for crashes that occur because of maintenance issues with the trailer that they provide. Clients could also be liable in rollover or jackknife collisions that occur because of improperly loaded trailers or undisclosed liquid contents.

Those who carefully determine who is actually liable for a recent semi-truck collision will have an easier time pursuing compensation from an appropriate party or parties. Seeking appropriate compensation after a semi-truck crash may involve pursuing a large insurance claim or possibly even a civil lawsuit.



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