The party responsible for a car crash is usually one of the drivers involved. Police officers and insurance adjusters may go over the details of a collision carefully to determine who is actually to blame. The driver at fault may receive a traffic citation and could also face large claims against their insurance coverage.
In a collision between a commercial vehicle and a smaller passenger vehicle, the fault for the crash may lie with the driver of the smaller vehicle or the driver of the big commercial truck. According to data gathered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration analyzing crashes with commercial vehicles, semitrucks are the vehicles responsible for causing just over half of the commercial vehicle crashes that occur each year.
In a minority of those cases, the truck driver may not actually be the one to blame for the collision. When isn’t the driver the one at fault for the crash?
When the wreck is the fault of the vehicle
With the exception of scenarios involving owner-operators, the commercial driver may not be responsible for a wreck caused by an issue with their vehicle. According to FMCSA safety data, roughly 10% of the collisions caused by big trucks are the result of something to do with the vehicle itself.
Poor brakes, worn tires and other maintenance issues could be the fault of the company that employs the driver rather than the driver themselves. If the issue has to do with the load, an employer could be to blame or a client that loaded the trailer before delivering it to the driver.
What are your rights when there is third-party liability?
When an employer or a transportation company client is actually at fault for a crash, you may have legal grounds to bring an insurance claim against the business’s policy. They may have general business liability coverage that applies and that will cover more than collision insurance would.
If they don’t have enough insurance, you could potentially pursue a lawsuit against the client or employer who contributed to the collision. Identifying who is to blame and who may be liable after a commercial trucking collision will help you connect with an appropriate amount of compensation given the impact of your injuries.