Who is responsible for a truck accident?

Earlier this month, PennDOT reported which counties were the most dangerous regarding truck accidents. Lancaster County fell in second–only down by one from Lehigh County in first place–with 48 fatalities in 2018.

Most people in Lancaster understand just how dangerous truck accidents are. These monstrous vehicles are essential to ship products across the country, but they can make our roads incredibly perilous. And things are almost always worse for smaller vehicles in the event of an accident because of the truck’s size and weight. So, if these vehicles are so dangerous, why are truck accident cases often so challenging to prove?

Truck accidents are uniquely complex compared to any other motor vehicle accident because of the number of parties involved. So, here is a brief overview of three of the parties who are most commonly responsible for truck accidents.

1. The driver

Motor vehicle accidents often happen because of a driver’s negligence or recklessness behind the wheel. Unfortunately, truck drivers are no exception from this.

Usually, truck drivers receive extensive training to operate these large vehicles. However, drivers might contribute to an accident if they are negligent and:

  • Inexperienced or not trained properly;
  • Fatigued after long shifts and strict deadlines;
  • Distracted by cellphones or eating behind the wheel; or
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

However, truck drivers are not often the only party that could be responsible for a truck accident.

2. The trucking company

When it comes to trucking, there are many more parties involved than just the driver. If drivers are employed by a trucking company, then the company also has a certain liability to all other drivers on Pennsylvania roads.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has several safety regulations that companies must adhere to, including:

  • Hiring responsible and qualified drivers;
  • Training these drivers properly;
  • Inspecting all vehicles carefully; and
  • Conducting regular safety audits.

If a trucking company’s disregard for these regulations results in a catastrophic accident, then the company could be held liable.

3. Cargo loaders

Trucking companies are not the only parties that are subject to FMCSA regulations. Anyone in the employ of a trucking company must follow these regulations, including cargo loaders.

Loading cargo safely and properly requires a specific process and a careful inspection. This helps to ensure that tractor-trailers are properly balanced–which is fundamental to avoid accidents.

If cargo loaders, or any of the parties involved in the trucking industry, are negligent in their duties, then they could be held responsible for any resulting accidents and injuries.