Who is Liable for a Commercial Truck Accident?

If a commercial truck is involved in an accident, usually the company that owns the truck and the insurance company that provides coverage for the truck are the parties that are liable for any claims. If the driver was negligent, the driver of the truck might also be sued. However, the responsibility for what a commercial truck driver does usually falls back on the company that employs the driver.

The states of California and Nevada follow “at-fault” negligence laws regarding traffic accidents. This is the opposite of a “no-fault” state. In California and Nevada, injury victims in traffic accident cases must prove the liability of another party to recover compensation from them and/or their insurance coverage,

Determining which party is the responsible “at-fault” party for causing an accident with a truck is a complex process, especially if multiple vehicles are involved in an accident.

How Crash Investigators Determine Who is At-Fault

Crash investigators who work for the insurance companies that provide insurance policy coverage that may be subject to an accident claim will review the evidence regarding the accident as part of the crash investigation. This investigation tries to determine who caused the accident.

The evidence that the investigator’s review includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Condition of the Drivers, Passengers, and Other Accident Victims

The first consideration is, were any of the drivers of the involved vehicles under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol? The same goes for any pedestrians that were hit or passengers who were injured or killed.

The investigator will seek phone records to find out if the driver was distracted by using a mobile phone and/or texting at the time of the accident. There may be a search of health records to determine if any person had a history of physical or mental health problems.

Previous accident records will be reviewed, especially any paid insurance claims involving the driver(s).

Road Conditions

The weather and road conditions will be evaluated for a possible contribution to the cause of the accident.

Excessive Speed

The speed of the vehicles involved in the accident will be estimated. In some commercial trucks, the location is determined by GPS, and the speed is recorded and limited by a governor.

Mechanical Conditions

The vehicles involved in the accident will be inspected for mechanical failures or other problems with the vehicle that might have contributed to the cause of the accident.

Accident Recreation

Frequently, there is a dispute between the involved parties (and their respective insurance companies) about who is at fault. One way that crash investigators try to show the results of a crash investigation is to create a simulation of the accident using drawings and sometimes computer illustrations or animations. If the case goes to court, this type of evidence will be entered at the trial.

Seek Legal Advice

Often, there is no certain way to determine which party is fully at fault for causing an accident. In these cases, there is a portion of the fault attributed to the ones that share the responsibility for causing the accident.

If you or a loved one is involved in an accident with a commercial truck, before you talk to anyone else about it, contact a personal injury attorney by calling (281) 475-4535 or go online to request a free consultation.