Who is liable for fatal truck accidents?

A recent crash involving an out-of-control semi-truck that killed four and injured others is a reminder of how dangerous large trucks can be. If you live in Texas, you may wonder who is liable for an accident of that magnitude. It may be the driver, the trucking company or both, considering the factors involved.

According to 9News.com, the accident occurred just outside of Denver, and the driver of the truck is facing four counts of vehicular homicide, although official charges are not currently pending. Perhaps the reason for this is because investigations may show that it was not the driver's fault the truck lost control and slammed into backed-up traffic. The driver has a current commercial license and has a clear traffic record.

There are some questions about the company that owns the truck, however. In the last two years, the company has had 30 violations, with 10 of them being brake-related. According to the driver, the reason the crash occurred was because the brakes stopped working. Hence, the company may be mainly liable for the deaths and injuries.  

FindLaw reports that this falls under product liability, and victims may file a claim against the company, brake manufacturer or brake supplier. This does not, however, necessarily put the driver off the hook for liability. During the course of the investigation, some of the factors that agents will examine include:

  • Weight of the load the truck was carrying
  • Regulation of hazardous material
  • If the driver took appropriate rest and break time
  • Negligence on the part of the driver 

 

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