Every activity comes with a certain amount of risk and driving is no exception. With a large number of vehicles on roads already and more joining them every year, it is no surprise that motor vehicle accidents happen. While modern safety measures do a relatively good job at reducing the damage caused by vehicle accidents, there is no eliminating the risk. This is especially true when it comes to commercial vehicles.
Commercial vehicles in general and trucks in particular are generally massive. They often haul huge loads and even if they are not towing anything, they still have to be able to do so, which generally results in very large vehicles.
Because of their mass, any accidents involving commercial vehicles generally result in significant damage and someone has to be responsible for that damage. While determining liability after a commercial vehicle accident may initially straightforward, it may actually depend on more than people think.
It can be tempting to immediately blame the operator of the vehicle for crashes and resulting damage, but drivers are not always responsible. Sometimes individuals and/or entities who were not present during the accident can be held liable. This is known as “vicarious liability.”
Liability for an accident is generally determined by whatever factors caused the accident itself. Depending on the cause of an accident, liability may fall on,
· The driver
· The company that employs the driver
· The company that manufactures parts (if a part failed, causing an accident)
· Those responsible for maintaining equipment
Once the cause of an accident has been determined, the next step is to prove liability.
Under various laws, most companies that use large trucks and vehicles are required to keep records that prove that their vehicles and equipment meet set quality standards. If records show that these standards were not met, a company may be found negligent. Forms of negligence include,
· A lack of proper equipment maintenance
· Drivers with expired or otherwise invalid licenses
· Drivers who have been driving for too long without adequate rest
There are many regulations companies are required to follow in order to operate legally and a failure to meet these regulations could cause an accident.
Because so many factors can be involved in these types of accidents, they can become very complex very quickly. If you are involved in a commercial vehicle accident, it is highly recommended that you obtain the services of a legal professional who specializes in this area of the law.