Determining liability for damages in a commercial vehicle accident can be complicated. It involves various factors such as the driver's compliance with federal and state regulations, the driver's actions at the time of the accident, and whether the driver was "acting within the scope of employment." In cases where the driver was not complying with regulations or was driving recklessly, both the driver and the company may be held responsible for damages.
When someone is hit by a company vehicle while the driver is "acting within the scope of employment," the employer is often held responsible for damages since they are responsible for their employees' actions during work-related duties. However, accidents that occur during personal use of a company vehicle can be more complex, and even if the driver is held responsible, the company could still be found liable for their employee's actions. Therefore, determining who is responsible for damages in commercial vehicle accidents requires careful investigation and analysis of various factors. Parties frequently at fault in commercial truck accidents include:
- Truck driver, if they were driving recklessly, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or violating traffic laws.
- Trucking company, if they were negligent in hiring and training the driver, failed to maintain the truck, or if the accident occurred during the course of the driver's employment.
- Manufacturer, if a defect in the truck or its parts caused or contributed to the accident.
- Maintenance provider, if they failed to properly maintain the truck.
- Cargo loader or owner, If the accident was caused by improperly loaded or secured cargo.