Accidents involving commercial trucks are not only devastating, but are often a challenge to navigate legally. Determining liability for an owner/operator is a daunting task that requires the aid of a truck accident lawyer. The following are facts about liability that every driver and employer should know.
Between separate trucking companies, independent contractor employees, and leases, placing financial responsibility on any party becomes an interwoven nightmare. With owner/operators, however, there’s less of a maze to navigate.
As a driver and the owner of the truck, liability is generally placed on the employee operating the truck at the time of the accident. While primary trucking insurance or surety bonds will pay for the damages, the owner of the vehicle is considered financially responsible.
Some lawyers are able to shift the blame back to the trucking company, however, when unreasonable expectations are placed on the driver. Extremely long shifts with tight deadlines create a situation where drivers lack the required sleep to operate any vehicle safely, let alone a commercial truck. Once again, insurance covers the cost despite liability being placed on the company.
A Note on Insurance
Owner-operators generally have more than the required insurance for their vehicle weight class. They may also have alternative insurance policies that any injured parties can receive compensation through. Contingent, bobtail, and general liability insurance all help pay for injuries and damages.
A car accident attorney operating in Louisiana has tried multiple cases for injured victims of trucking accidents. The owner/operator is liable in most cases, allowing the injured party to seek various routes of compensation at once during trial.
Manufacturer and Loader Liability
There are two instances where the owner/operator cannot be held liable for the accident. The first is when responsibilities fall on the manufacturer of the truck or a trucking part. Defective construction on these vehicles can cause deadly accidents, but the owner of the vehicle would have no way to know about them or prevent the crash.
The second is called loader liability. The individuals and companies responsible for loading commercial trucks must do so in a safe manner. Overloading the cargo bed or improperly distributing weight makes the truck difficult to operate, leading to misjudged turns and the cargo bed overturning.
In both cases, liability shifts to the company at fault. These third parties are then responsible for covering all damages and injuries following a thorough investigation. It takes a skilled lawyer and cooperation from law enforcement to determine when these cases happen.
The Attorney Benefit
Whether you were injured in a trucking accident or are the owner/operator involved, hiring legal representation is essential. Determining liability in these instances is a difficult area of the law that requires education and skill to navigate.
If you are the victim of an accident, then a lawyer can get you the compensation you deserve while you can focus on your recover. If you are the owner/operator, then a lawyer can help determine who is at fault for the accident and determine if you or a third-party should pay for the damages.