In short, determining liability after a trucking accident tends to become a logistical nightmare. Trucking accidents are typically catastrophic from an injury perspective and they are highly complex from a legal standpoint. Further complicating matters is that multiple parties can be held liable.
Depending on the circumstances of your particular accident, the truck driver, the trucking company, and the truck manufacturer can all be held liable for an accident. An injured driver can also share some degree of responsibility for causing a truck accident. It is important to recognize that an injured driver who is found partly responsible for causing a trucking accident may still recover some damages.
California is a comparative liability state. Even an at fault driver may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit for some damages, regardless of whether or not he or she was partially at fault for causing the trucking accident.
Moreover, California negligence law states that any truck driver who is found guilty of negligence can be held liable for causing injuries and damages to another motorist. Any driver who was injured by a truck driver’s negligence is entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit.
However, the injured driver needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the truck driver who hit him or her was negligent in causing the accident. In the state of California, there are three elements for demonstrating negligence in a trucking accident:
- The truck driver owed the accident victim a duty of care
- The truck driver breached his or her duty of care through negligence
- The truck driver’s breach was the significant factor in causing a victim's losses
Furthermore, according to California strict liability law, designers, manufacturers, and any companies involved in a product’s chain of distribution can be held liable if a defective product causes a trucking accident. In strict liability cases, negligence is not a factor when determining liability. Any of the above mentioned entities can all be held liable, whether or not they made any mistakes that caused the trucking accident.
Strict liability claims can be based on:
- Faulty accelerator pedals
- Faulty engine/transmission parts
- Faulty tires
- Faulty brakes
- Faulty cargo ties or straps