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Los Angeles Law Blog

By John Kristensen of Kristensen Weisberg, LLP posted in Truck Accident on Friday, February 16, 2018.
Determining Who’s At Fault For a Trucking Accident: Truck Driver vs Trucking Company

Victims of trucking accidents think seeking compensation for their injuries and damages is relatively easy, given that (a) the vast majority of truck drivers are at fault for motor vehicle accidents in Los Angeles, and (b) the driver’s trucking company can always be held accountable.

The truth is: not always. And it cannot be said that proving a truck driver’s fault is possible just because he or she is a truck driver. Our Los Angeles trucking accident attorney at Kristensen Weisberg, LLP explains that people make this mistake over and over again: thinking they can easily obtain compensation just because you can name both the driver and his/her trucking company as defendants.

In reality, you will not be able to even bring a personal injury claim against the trucking company, unless you’re represented by a lawyer who can prove the company’s liability.

Truck driver vs trucking company: who is liable?

But is it really worth it? Why would you want to file a lawsuit against a trucking company if it was the driver who caused the accident?

Here’s why: if you have evidence of the trucking company’s fault in a trucking accident, the value of your claim can skyrocket in an instant. And while it may seem as if you can hold a trucking company responsible for every accident their drivers/employees get into, it’s simply not true.

Every trucking accident is different, and the factors that contributed to it vary greatly from one case to another. In one case, it may be only the truck driver who caused the accident (for example, due to distracted driving). In other cases, it can be a combination of factors such as improperly secured cargo (the company’s fault) and the driver’s violation of traffic rules.

No matter what was the factor that caused your accident – drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding, running red lights, drowsy driving, carrying heavy loads of cargo – it’s always worth investigating whether the trucking company, which hired the driver as an independent contractor or employee, bears any degree of responsibility for the accident.

Who can be held liable in a trucking accident?

Truck driver. Depending on the truck driver’s legal status – if he/she is an independent owner-operator or employee of some trucking company – the amount of damages that can be recovered by a victim will vary.

Trucking company. Companies that hire truck drivers as employees or independent contractors may be held liable for inadequate training, improper policies, violations of trucking regulations in California, poor maintenance of trucks, or other types of negligence or recklessness that contribute to a trucking accident either directly or indirectly.

Truck manufacturer and/or supplier. Operating a faulty truck with defects or flaws can be just as dangerous. In this case, not only can you hold the truck driver and trucking company liable, but also the truck manufacturer, assembler, seller, retailer, supplier and other parties involved in the distribution chain and recognized under California product liability laws.

Customer. If a customer using the services of a trucking company and its truck drivers fails to provide adequate information about the goods and cargo he or she is hiring them to carry across the state or country, the customer may be held liable for your injuries and damages as well. The customer can also be held responsible if the goods were unreasonably dangerous and weren’t properly packed.

Hold multiple parties responsible

In fact, our best trucking accident attorneys in Los Angeles note that multiple parties can be held responsible for your injuries, losses and damages in a truck accident thanks to California’s legal doctrine of “pure comparative negligence,” which can make multiple defendants liable for their percentage of fault.

As you can see, it can be rather confusing and complicated to determine who is at fault for a trucking accident to hold liable parties responsible for your injuries and damages. That’s why it’s highly advised to speak to a Los Angeles trucking accident lawyer and launch an investigation into your particular case.

Contact our attorneys at Kristensen Weisberg, LLP today to get a free consultation. Call our offices at 310-984-1297 or complete this contact form.