A crash between a passenger vehicle and a semi-truck is one of the worst kinds of wrecks that can possibly occur. Especially when these collisions occur at high speeds, they can leave vehicles completely unsafe to drive and may result in catastrophic injuries – especially for the occupants of the smaller vehicle.
Those affected will understandably want justice and financial compensation for their losses. They may need to file an insurance claim or possibly a lawsuit in civil court. Who might ultimately be responsible for a commercial vehicle crash?
The driver may be to blame
Oftentimes, when a commercial vehicle is the one that caused a crash, a mistake made by the driver led to the wreck. However, unless they are an owner-operator in their own vehicle, the people affected by a commercial vehicle collision typically don’t bring a claim against the driver of the semi-truck. Instead, they pursue a claim against the employer of the driver, typically by filing an insurance claim. Companies are typically liable for the actions of their employees while on the clock, including when commercial drivers cause collisions.
The company might be at fault
There are several scenarios in which the transportation company and not the driver is actually the party that caused the crash. Maybe the company has unsafe practices that force its drivers to do things like handle a mobile device or stay on the road in violation of the hours of service rules. If the crash is the result of an issue with the vehicle, as is the case with roughly 10% of commercial crashes, the company that owns the vehicle could be to blame for the wreck and therefore subject to legal action or insurance claims.
Occasionally, an outside party, such as a client that hired the transportation company or a service provider that maintained their vehicles, could be partially liable for the crash because cut-rate services or improper trailer loading caused the collision. Seeking legal guidance and reviewing a collision report can help those affected by a semi-truck crash better determine who may be liable for a wreck and the harm that resulted from it.