Can a Trucking Company Be Liable for Damages After a Sacramento Crash?

image of a truck being inspected for maintenanceCrashes involving big rigs and other large commercial vehicles cause a lot of devastation in a matter of seconds. Truck drivers have a bad reputation for always being at fault in these collisions, but did you know that trucking companies may also be liable for damages from a crash?

At Arnold Law Firm, we represent injured victims, including those injured in California truck accidents. We have decades of experience and a history of proven results. Below we talk about when a trucking company may be liable for your medical costs and other losses after a Sacramento truck crash.

Injured in an accident involving a commercial truck? If so, your first stop should always be the nearest emergency room. Once your injuries are stabilized, we recommend seeking legal help right away. Truck crash claims are extremely complex, and trucking companies always have strong legal representation.

Our Sacramento truck crash lawyers have extensive experience, and our firm takes truck accident cases on contingency. This means there are no upfront costs for you to pay.

Call for a FREE case review after a truck crash. (916) 777-7777

Why The Truck Driver Is Not Always At Fault for a Crash

Truck drivers often get blamed when they are involved in a crash, but things are rarely that simple or straightforward. Those who drive large commercial vehicles have tough jobs. They work long hours and drive on many dangerous roads. In addition to dealing with things like bad weather and poorly maintained roads, there are additional issues that are out of their control.

Drivers of smaller vehicles make poor decisions around big rigs, such as cutting in front of one of these large commercial vehicles and thinking they can stop quickly. Putting other driver negligence aside, however, it is important to understand how a trucking company may have contributed to or caused a collision.

What Are Some Reasons a Trucking Company May Be Liable for a Crash?

Truck accidents can be complicated, and sometimes, the driver is not the responsible party. Here are some ways trucking companies might be at fault for a crash involving one of their vehicles:

Did the Trucking Company Fail To Do Background Checks or Provide Proper Training?

Trucking companies have a responsibility to make sure their drivers are well-trained and qualified. This responsibility includes conducting a proper background check into the driving history and training of potential employees. Critical checks should include whether a driver has a history of violations, road rage, substance abuse issues and previous driving experience.

Failing to take these steps and engaging in other negligent hiring and training practices could make a trucking company liable for damages if one of these drivers causes a crash.

Were There Any Hours-of-Service Violations?

There are federal rules about how many consecutive hours truck drivers are permitted to work. These regulations were implemented to help prevent accidents caused by drivers becoming overly tired, drowsy or fatigued. If a trucking company pushes or pressures their drivers to work longer than regulations permit, they could be at least partially liable if driving while drowsy leads to a commercial truck crash.

How Well Did the Trucking Company Maintain Their Vehicles?

Trucking companies, just like other vehicle owners, have a legal duty to take proper care of their trucks. If the trucking company fails to maintain their vehicles and that failure contributes to or causes a truck accident, they could be held liable.

Maintenance failures that could lead to a Sacramento truck crash include:

  • Faulty brakes: Brake systems need regular maintenance to ensure they can effectively stop the truck. If brakes are not properly maintained, they may fail to slow or stop the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.
  • Worn-out tires: Tires with insufficient tread or damage are more prone to blowouts. The loss of traction could also cause a truck driver to lose control of the truck, increasing the risk of a dangerous crash.
  • Steering system malfunctions: Steering components must be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure drivers can maintain proper control of the vehicle. Malfunctions in the steering system can result in the driver being unable to steer the truck safely.
  • Transmission issues: Problems with the transmission, such as slipping gears or difficulty shifting, can impair the driver’s ability to control the truck’s speed and maneuverability, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Engine failure: Lack of maintenance can lead to engine problems, such as overheating or stalling, which can result in a sudden loss of power and control over the truck.
  • Suspension problems: A faulty suspension system can cause the truck to bounce excessively or make it harder to drive over uneven road surfaces. This situation severely compromises stability and increases the likelihood of rollovers.
  • Lighting system failures: Non-functional headlights, taillights, or turn signals decrease visibility for the driver and other road users, raising the risk of truck collisions, especially in low-light conditions.
  • Trailer hitch failure: If the connection between the truck and its trailer is not properly maintained, it could detach while in motion. A trailer hitch failure poses a serious road hazard and crash risk to other vehicles on the road.
  • Brake line leaks: Leaking brake lines could result in a loss of hydraulic pressure. The reduced braking effectiveness could make it impossible for a driver to stop in time to avoid a crash. It could also cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
  • Tire blowouts: Improperly maintained tires are especially susceptible to blowouts, which can cause the driver to lose control of the truck, especially at high speeds.

How Are Trucking Companies Responsible for the Improper Loading and Securing of Cargo?

Trucking companies and their drivers have the ultimate responsibility for ensuring cargo is loaded and secured properly. Loaders may also share some liability if improper loading and securing of cargo causes a crash. When cargo is not loaded, distributed and secured properly, the shifting weight of the cargo could cause a crash. If that occurs, the trucking company could be at least partially to blame for not training their workers how to properly load and secure cargo.

What Is Vicarious Liability and How Does It Apply in a Truck Crash?

Vicarious liability refers to the legal principle that holds an employer accountable for the actions of its employees while they are performing their job duties.

In the context of a truck crash, vicarious liability means that the trucking company can be liable for the negligent actions of its drivers if those actions occur within the scope of their employment. This liability could extend to include situations where the driver is operating the truck as part of their job, such as while making deliveries or transporting goods.

Even if the trucking company did not directly cause the accident, they may still be held liable for any damages resulting from their employee’s negligence while on the job.

Did the Trucking Company Maintain Adequate Record Keeping?

Trucking companies are held accountable if they fail to properly record certain things. For instance, they need to keep proper records of things like a driver’s logged hours and vehicle maintenance.

If inadequate record keeping leads to a truck accident, the trucking company could be held accountable.

Why Hire a Lawyer After a Sacramento Truck Crash?

Hiring a lawyer after a truck crash is often a good idea, especially if you sustained serious injuries and other damages. Truck crashes are different from car accidents. For instance, evidence could get quickly lost or destroyed if your attorney does not ask to have it preserved.

Trucking companies will have legal representation, in fact, they may have more than one attorney. Having an experienced attorney means you have someone fighting to protect your best interests and legal rights.

Call Arnold Law Firm After Being Injured in a Sacramento Truck Crash

At Arnold Law Firm, we have a history of proven results. We have been representing victims injured in all kinds of crashes for decades, including those injured in truck accidents.

Not sure if you have a truck crash case? We offer a completely FREE case review to discuss your situation and determine if you may have legal options.

If you have a case and we represent you, there are no upfront costs or fees to pay. We only get paid if you do.

We fight to get justice for you. (916) 777-7777