If you are hit and hurt by a car in Georgia, liability is usually straightforward if the other driver is to blame. You file a claim against his or her insurance company. It’s more complicated after a commercial vehicle crash.
If you are injured by a tractor trailer or a box truck, a number of parties can be to blame and it may not always be obvious.
Truck driver negligence is the most common cause of a commercial vehicle crash. Reasons for trucking accidents include:
- A truck driver following too closely;
- A trucker speeding;
- A driver who is tired and in violation of federal Hours of Service regulations;
- A driver under the influence of drugs of alcohol;
- A distracted truck driver.
- Dangerous defects on a truck.
Although the driver is directly responsible for most of these causes, his or her company can usually also be sued under the concept that an employer is responsible for the actions of employees.
Which Parties Can be Sued After a Trucking Accident with Injuries?
1 The Driver
If the trucker caused an accident, he or she can be sued directly. However, a trucking company usually has a larger insurance policy.
2 The Driver’s Employer
A trucking company or the trucker’s employer is often liable for injuries and deaths caused in a crash. In 2015, Wal-Mart settled a multi-million-dollar lawsuit brought by the comedian Tracy Morgan who suffered brain damage in a wreck in New Jersey.
The Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia was accused of not sleeping for 24 hours before the wreck in a criminal complaint. Wal-Mart later successfully recovered the money from its insurer, reported the Daily News.
3 The Owner of a Truck or a Trailer
In some cases, the owner of a truck may be different from the company the truck is doing business for and can also be liable for injuries caused.
4 The Person Who Was Leasing the Truck from the Owner
In cases where a different party is leasing a truck, they may also be liable for an accident.
5 The Manufacturer of a Truck or Parts
When trucks are defective, the consequence can be serious for other road users. People have been killed and seriously injured in Georgia from tires that detach from trucks or parts like disintegrating transmissions. Defective tires may cause a blowout, impacting other vehicles. If a failure occurs due to improper maintenance, a trucking company or mechanics may be liable. However, a manufacturer would be liable if the part was inherently defective.
6 A Shipping Company or the Loader of Cargo
There are many stringent regulations related to the loading of trucks. Nevertheless, commercial vehicles flip over regularly. On occasions, they may have been badly loaded, leaving a shipping or a loading company liable. A poorly secured load can fall off a truck, posing a hazard to other motorists.
7 A Broker or an Agent Who Arranged Transportation
A broker plays an important part in a commercial shipment. If a broker hires a trucking company with a poor record or fails to carry out due diligent, the agent can be held liable for injuries.
Trucking wrecks are often very complicated. Often they cross state jurisdictions and a number of parties can be liable. If you have been hurt in a commercial vehicle crash, you should contact an experienced Georgia trucking lawyer. Contact the Law Office of Michael West via this link.