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Semi truck Accident / 2.26.2024

When is a Truck Driver Liable For An Accident?

Accidents involving semi-trucks and other oversized commercial vehicles are inherently more dangerous than other auto accidents and often lead to severe injuries or even death. But when is a truck driver legally liable for these accidents?

In the state of Idaho, a truck driver may be liable for an accident if their actions or negligence contributed to the cause of the accident. Liability in truck accidents can be complex, and multiple parties may share responsibility, including the trucking company, vehicle manufacturer, and others. This can seem arbitrary in some cases, but there are many cases where driver negligence is clear.

Violating Traffic Laws

If the truck driver violated traffic laws, such as speeding, running a red light, or failing to yield the right-of-way, they may be held liable for any damages and injuries caused by the accident. 

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

If the truck driver was operating the vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they can be held liable for the damages and injuries resulting from the accident.

Driver Fatigue

Truck drivers are subject to Hours of Service (HOS) regulations that limit the number of consecutive hours they can drive without rest. If the truck driver violated these regulations or drove while fatigued, and fatigue contributed to the accident, they may be held liable.

This can also be an issue of employer coercion. If an employer is pressuring or even forcing their drivers to drive past the legal limit, the employer may be held liable for any damages or injuries that come from the accident. 

Distracted Driving

If the truck driver was distracted by activities such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, or adjusting controls, and this distraction caused or contributed to the accident, they may be found liable.

Improper Loading or Securing of Cargo

If the truck driver failed to properly load or secure the cargo, leading to a cargo shift or spill that caused the accident, they may be held liable for negligence.

When Are Trucking Companies Are Liable for Accidents?

While drivers may seem the most directly responsible for any potential accidents, the owners and managers of trucking companies may also play a role in accidents. Trucking is a heavily regulated industry and both drivers and companies as a whole are required to meet these regulations to continue their operations. If a company fails to comply with these regulations and this leads to an accident, they can be legally liable for any damages or injuries. They are also responsible for ensuring the safest roadway possible when they send their drivers out. Negligence in either of these cases can include a variety of offenses. 

Negligent Hiring Practices

Trucking companies have a moral and civil duty to hire qualified and competent drivers. If they fail to conduct proper background checks, verify qualifications, or hire drivers with a known history of accidents or safety violations, they may be held liable for accidents caused by their employees.

Negligent Supervision

Trucking companies are responsible for overseeing their drivers and ensuring they comply with regulations and company policies. If a truck driver's actions or conduct violate company policies, and this contributes to an accident, the trucking company may be held liable for negligent supervision.

Inadequate Training

Trucking companies are responsible for providing adequate training to their drivers to ensure they can safely operate their vehicles, regardless of their experience level. If a lack of proper training contributes to an accident, the trucking company may be held liable.

Failure to Maintain Equipment

In many cases, trucking companies are responsible for maintaining their vehicles in safe operating condition. While this may not be the case with all trucking companies, if a company has taken responsibility for maintaining their equipment, they can be held legally liable for failing to do so. 

Contact Litster Frost Injury Lawyers Today!

At Litster Frost Injury Lawyers, our attorneys understand how stressful truck accidents can be. Sometimes there are severe injuries that can be difficult or even impossible to fully recover from. Sometimes the mental and emotional trauma resulting from an accident far outweighs the impact of a physical injury. 
If you were involved in an accident in the Treasure Valley and would like to know your legal options, contact our office today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.

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