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When is a trucking company responsible for an accident?

Federal laws are in place to protect you in the event that you are in a crash with a commercial motor vehicle. There are rules that mandate vehicles to undergo periodic inspections, and federal standards that dictate the safety requirements that the vehicles must meet.

In many situations, it may appear as though the driver of the truck is solely responsible for an incident. For example, if a driver is drunk or distracted at the time of the accident, it may be easy to simply point the finger at him or her. However, you should always look deeper into the crash to determine if the trucking company could be held liable.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that motor carrier companies conduct a number of investigations into a driver, such as the following: 

  •        Reviewing three years’ worth of the driver’s safety performance from the U.S. Department of Transportation
  •        Obtaining three years of the driver’s motor vehicle record from each state in which the person held or holds a license or permit
  •        Appropriate further investigation, such as interviews and phone calls, with the driver’s past employers

Failing to follow these guidelines could mean that a company hires an irresponsible or unsafe driver. Companies are also tasked with ensuring that drivers are not overworked. Driver fatigue is a very real threat to traffic safety. If a trucker who hits you has been working too many hours, his or her employer could be held partially responsible for the incident.

Further, motor carriers are required to regularly inspect their vehicles. An unnoticed auto defect or other item that compromises the safety of the truck could be devastating.

In Georgia, you are entitled to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. State law gives you two years to file a personal injury claim.

While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.

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