It is almost instinctual for people to blame the motorists involved in a crash for their harm, especially one of the vehicle operators involved is a professional semi-truck driver. However, in many cases it could very well be the company that hired the commercial driver rather than the driver themselves who is legally responsible for the crash.
Those seeking compensation after a crash with a commercial vehicle need to understand who is at fault and is, therefore, potentially liable for the wreck if they want to take action in civil court. The three scenarios below are an indicator that the company is primarily to blame for the wreck.
Poor hiring or training practices
Perhaps the driver who caused the crash has a long history of making poor choices on the road. Maybe they are brand new to commercial driving and didn’t have enough experience on the road before the company put them out on challenging routes. When a lack of training or low standards during the hiring process very likely contributed to the crash, the employer may be to blame for the wreck.
Inadequate maintenance practices
There are numerous systems in any vehicle that play a crucial role in the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle. Balding tires, bad brakes and numerous other major issues with a vehicle can directly cause a crash or prevent a driver from taking the necessary steps to avoid a collision. According to an analysis of collision data provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, roughly 10% of the collisions caused by commercial vehicles occur specifically because of something wrong with the vehicle. If a company fails to repair or maintain the semi-trucks in its fleet, it will be responsible for any crashes that result.
Questionable demands on workers
Sometimes, a supervisor requires that commercial drivers answer their phone while on the road or accept text messages and emails from clients. They might encourage drivers to manipulate driving records to make it seem like they have complied with hours of service rules when they were actually on the road for too long. There are many company practices that could unnecessarily increase the chance of a commercial driver causing a wreck.
In scenarios where those affected by a semi-truck collision can show that a company likely caused their crash, they may have an option of pursuing an insurance claim or even a lawsuit against that business. Evaluating the circumstances of a crash can be a very important step to take when crash victims are likely owed compensation as a result of the harm they’ve suffered.