A lot of victims of truck-related accidents think that getting compensated for the incident legally is an easy matter for two main reasons. One is that most truck drivers happen to be at fault in such cases. For another reason, the trucking company can almost always be held accountable on some level for the losses which the victim sustained.
However, there are exceptions to this; simply naming these two parties as defendants does not mean you will surely walk away with legal compensation in hand.
The Driver vs. the Trucking Company on Liability
It makes sense to wonder why anyone would bother going after the trucking company in the first place. The answer is just as simple: if the company’s fault can be proven, then the value of the claim you can bring thereof skyrockets. That said, you cannot hold a trucking company responsible for every single accident that one of its drivers causes or gets into.
The Cause of the Accident
It bears remembering that every accident can be different in its own way, in that it can have many factors at its center which distinguish it from others. Maybe it was just that the truck driver was operating his or her vehicle while under the influence, or maybe they had unsecured cargo (which would be the trucking company’s fault), or perhaps the driver was flouting traffic rules at the time of the collision.
Regardless of what caused your accident; it pays to have the trucking company investigated at the get-go to see if some of the liability for the incident can be traced back to them. This needs to be done whether the driver was hired as an employee or an independent contractor.
Where Does the Liability Fall?
- If the truck driver can be shown to have been at fault for the accident, and based on their legal status with respect to the trucking company (employee or independent contractor), damages recoverable in court would differ.
- If the trucking company can be shown to have given insufficient training to its driver, followed improper policies, violated California trucking regulations, maintained the truck poorly, or been otherwise negligent or reckless, damages from the accident can be attributed to it.
- If the manufacturer, seller, assembler, supplier, or retailer of the truck—or anyone else inside the distribution chain—can be showed responsible for the truck having been faulty according to state product liability laws, they can be held liable for the accident.
At any rate, your best way forward from a truck accident is to get a proficient vehicle accident lawyer on your team. They can help ensure that litigation or settlement proceedings end in the way most conducive to you getting maximum compensation for your pains and losses.