Before you file a wrongful death claim following a commercial truck accident, you must determine who was liable for the accident. Commercial truck accident liability may rest with the driver, their employer or both parties. Understand the key elements of the accident to determine who you should file your claim against.
The incident report can help you decide where liability lies.
Is the driver at fault?
If the accident occurred as a direct result of the driver’s negligence, he or she may be liable. For example, disregarding traffic laws, such as running a red light or ignoring street signs, could be negligence on the driver’s part. Driving while intoxicated may also be the driver’s liability. Distracted driving, whether from a cell phone, onboard computer or even a coffee cup, is also the driver’s liability.
Is the employer at fault?
Commercial trucking companies have a responsibility to ensure that any driver they dispatch has the skills and training to operate the equipment safely. Dispatching a driver with insufficient training is a liability for the employer if that driver causes an accident.
Are both parties at fault?
Both parties might share liability. If the driver misrepresented their status, such as a driver without a valid CDL, and the company did not do sufficient due diligence to validate their license status, that results in shared liability. The same is true if the company permits the driver to exceed driving hour restrictions or bypass mandatory rest periods.
With this information, you can consider a wrongful death claim if you lost a loved one in a commercial truck accident.