A crash between a semi-truck and a smaller vehicle will often be devastating for those in the passenger vehicle. The vehicle itself will likely become unsafe to drive, and the occupants could very easily suffer major injuries.
Although semi-trucks typically have more sizable insurance policies covering them when compared with passenger vehicles, that insurance coverage might still fall short of what the people affected by the crash require to compensate them for their losses. Pursuing a personal injury lawsuit is a way to close the gap between the actual costs generated by a wreck and available insurance coverage.
People often think that their only option is to file a lawsuit against the semi-truck’s driver, but they may not have many personal resources. Who else could potentially have liability for a semi-truck crash?
Businesses often have a degree of responsibility
Companies that hire commercial drivers have liability if they do something negligent while on the job. Businesses are also responsible for scenarios in which company policies might put the public at risk. Requiring that a driver answer their phone or deliver a load no matter how long it takes could lead to regulatory infractions and preventable collisions.
Unless someone is an owner-operator, their employer will likely have some degree of responsibility for the crash. That will be particularly true if the situation involves an issue with the vehicle. Roughly 10% of semi-truck crashes occur because of an issue with the truck. If the company performs its own fleet maintenance, the transportation business might be liable for any crash that results due to poor vehicle maintenance. An outside company could also be responsible if a transportation company contracts with another business to service its fleet.
Finally, there may be scenarios in which the client that hired the transportation company is liable. Improperly-loaded trailers can be the vehicle issue responsible for a wreck. Establishing that dock workers loaded a trailer the wrong way or did not warn someone about the presence of liquid contents might lead to that business having liability for a crash.
Companies tend to have more robust insurance policies and more resources to compensate those who file personal injury lawsuits in civil court than individual employees have. Knowing when someone other than a semi-truck driver may have liability for a crash might make it easier for people to pursue full compensation for their losses.