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What drivers should know about truck crash fault and liability

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2024 | Truck Accidents

A crash with a semi-truck is likely the last thing someone wants to experience when on their way to work or the grocery store. Unfortunately, the proliferation of commercial vehicles on public roadways makes commercial collisions a constant safety risk in traffic.

Large trucks can cause absolute devastation to smaller vehicles and the people inside them. The other people involved in such collisions are often unsure of what steps to take for their own protection. They know that fault plays a big role in compensation but may be unsure of how to prove who was to blame for the crash. They may also have questions about liability and who may be held accountable for paying for the costs of the collision.

What do drivers generally need to know when asking questions about liability and fault following a collision caused by a semi-truck?

There are sources of evidence available

Most semi-trucks have special devices installed that can provide information to investigators following a crash. Police officers may be able to verify details ranging from the vehicle’s speed to the actual maneuvers conducted depending on what devices the truck has installed. Many semi-trucks have dashboard cameras that can provide video footage of the collision and may help make it clear that the driver of the semi-truck made a mistake. Even without footage from inside the semi-truck, there can be other types of evidence that can show the commercial driver was at fault. Traffic camera footage and witness statements could help with that. Even the scene of the crash could make it clear to those with experience investigating collisions that the bigger vehicle was to blame for the wreck.

Who is liable for the expenses of the crash?

Liability is less straightforward than fault after a crash involving a commercial vehicle. People might assume that the driver is liable, but that isn’t necessarily the case. If they are an owner-operator in their own vehicle, then they may have personal liability. However, vicarious liability rules for employers generally make trucking companies responsible for the crashes caused by their employees. Additionally, the factors that contributed to the crash may also make the trucking company culpable for the incident.

If the crash occurred in part because of improper vehicle maintenance or inappropriately demanding schedules for drivers, it may be possible to take legal action against the trucking company for contributing to the collision. Typically, semi-trucks have large commercial insurance policies covering them that can provide $750,000 worth of coverage or more.

Of course, it can be very difficult for someone to navigate the process of establishing faults and holding a business liable for a crash. Seeking legal guidance to begin the process may make it easier for people to secure an appropriate outcome after a crash caused by a semi-truck.