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Determining liability beyond the truck driver

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2023 | Truck Accidents

Driver factors, whether we look at trucks or the other motor vehicles they share the road with, account for a substantial part of crash causation, but they don’t tell the whole story. Every vehicle crash must be reconstructed, investigated and understood, and with that, a host of variables come to light.

Rarely, if ever, can a crash be attributed to a sole factor.

Investigations will dig into the drivers’ decisions just preceding the crash, the drivers’ condition, training and skill, weather hazards, roadway conditions and vehicle malfunctioning.

Investigations will also look into concentric circles of influence around the trucker. The trucking company that hires the trucker, the owner of the truck, the cargo loader, the truck’s manufacturer, all have systems and processes that may have been troubled or defective, that may have helped bring about the final outcome.

Vicarious liability

Exploring the trucker’s universe will include identifying the various entities who may share liability for the accident, such as:

  • Employer of the driver
  • The truck’s owner
  • The truck’s manufacturer
  • Owner of the truck trailer
  • The leasing company
  • The truck maintenance company
  • The motor carrier’s insurance carrier

Some of these entities potentially bear vicarious liability, a principle of law that holds larger entities responsible for the acts of their agents.

Strict liability

If it’s determined that there was an operational flaw, for instance, brake problems, the manufacturer may have strict liability exposure. This would be the breach of the absolute duty to make something safe.

With possibly hundreds of elements to explore, truck accidents are very complex events. Georgia’s statute of limitations for personal injury is two years and for property damage four years. That’s not a lot of time to get it all sorted out.