When it comes to crashes involving commercial vehicles, those who are traveling in smaller vehicles have the most to lose. Most importantly, the occupants of a passenger vehicle involved in a crash with a commercial truck are much more likely to end up hurt than the person in the semi-truck.
People who are affected by a semi-truck crash may need to file an insurance claim or possibly even a lawsuit in order to remedy the financial consequences resulting from a crash. To pursue compensation, the affected parties must first understand who is to blame and who may be held liable for the financial consequences of any particular wreck.
The commercial driver is often at fault
When one looks at a review of commercial vehicle crashes performed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), it is quite clear that the majority of the crashes that occur are the fault of the commercial driver.
The semi-truck is more likely than the smaller vehicle to be at fault for the crash, and mistakes by the driver are the top cause of such collisions. In roughly 87% of semi-truck crashes caused by the bigger vehicle, the commercial driver made some kind of mistake. The driver could be personally liable if they are an owner-operator. Typically, the employer of a commercial driver will ultimately be liable for the crashes caused by a professional, even if the driver made a clear mistake.
Another 10% of these crashes occur because of issues with the vehicle. In those cases, it may be poor maintenance by an employer, mistakes by a mechanic or bad loading habits by a client that ultimately caused the crash. The company to blame for the vehicle issue may have to cover the costs of the crash.
Those who have been physically harmed by a wreck involving a truck may be able to make use of a commercial insurance policy. They could also potentially file a lawsuit against the commercial transportation company or another party whose mistakes or negligence partially contributed to the cause(s) of the crash. Determining who is actually to blame for a semi-truck collision is a crucial first step for those who are hoping to seek compensation, with the assistance of an experienced legal professional, after one occurs.