How is compensation and liability for truck accidents determined?

If a manufacturer notices a defect in a particular batch of vehicles, they must issue a recall or they can be held liable in the event of an accident.


Commercial truck accidents can be some of the most serious and fatal accidents on the road. When a tractor-trailer, large truck or utility vehicle encounters an accident, the results can be catastrophic.

You may be wondering how to determine compensation and liability if you sustain injuries in a truck accident. The determination of compensation and liability in the event of a truck accident depends on the assessment of the negligence of the driver as well as the responsibility of the trucking company and the manufacturer.

Trucker’s negligence

The law holds truckers to higher standards than other drivers on the road. They must obtain a commercial driver’s license and follow strict rules on hours of service.

When truckers break the law or fail to follow industry standards, the law holds them responsible for an accident. These drivers must meet higher standards because they drive large heavy vehicles that can cause serious damage.

According to a report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 32% of fatal accidents in the United States are due to driver error. Speeding is the most common driving error that has led to fatal accidents. Other leading causes of truck accidents include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Fatigue
  • Dangerous driving
  • Tailgating

A New Orleans truck accident attorney can help you investigate the accident and gather evidence to prove the truck driver’s negligence. If it is proven that the driver of the truck was negligent in the accident, he becomes liable for any damages. This includes medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Trucking Company Liability

The trucking company that employs the driver may also be liable for accidents. The company expects to hire safe and qualified drivers and properly maintain their vehicles. If the company does not select or train the driver correctly, it can be held liable in the event of an accident.

Additionally, if the company failed to properly maintain the truck and the lack of care resulted in an accident, it can also be held liable. The company must ensure regular inspection and prompt repair of the vehicle.

Trucking companies are also required to follow federal regulations. They are liable if they violate these regulations and this results in an accident. Some federal regulations trucking companies must follow include:

  • Service hours
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Driver Testing and Training Requirements

Some companies place the role of maintenance and inspection on the drivers. Thus, drivers must complete these tasks before setting off. This can be a dangerous practice as it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure the vehicle is safe.

Trucks in mechanical bays for service; image by Carlos Daniel, via Unsplash.com.

The company can be held liable if an accident occurs and the court finds that the company has not properly maintained its vehicles. In this case, the driver must prove that the accident did not occur due to his negligence.

Liability of the vehicle manufacturer

In some accidents, the vehicle manufacturer is liable if a design or manufacturing defect led to the accident. An example of this would be if there was a problem with the brakes that caused the crash. If it is proven that the manufacturer was aware of the defect and did not take measures to remedy it, its liability may be incurred.

The law requires manufacturers to design and produce all vehicles to meet specific safety standards. For example, all vehicles must have working brakes, lights and seat belts.

Manufacturers are also liable if they fail to meet these standards and an accident occurs. If a manufacturer notices a defect in a particular batch of vehicles, they must issue a recall or they can be held liable in the event of an accident.

A lawyer can help identify the responsible party

Determining who is responsible for a truck accident can be a complex matter. Many parties can be held liable, including the truck driver, the trucking company, and the vehicle manufacturer. If you are involved in a truck accident, you should speak to an experienced lawyer who can help you investigate the accident and determine who is at fault.