When you get into an collision with a semitruck that was not your fault, the trucker is most likely responsible. The driver may have been drunk, drowsy, distracted or reckless in any other way. However, in other instances, the driver may not be liable, or at least not the only one.
It is important to know who else may be liable for the collision, so you know your options in suing for financial compensation. Review the specifics of your case with a personal injury lawyer to determine if you can pursue damages from any of these parties as well.
Most notorious for being responsible for collisions with 18-wheelers are the companies that provide the service. Although drivers may know not to keep inaccurate logs or stay on the road when sleepy, their employers may push them to do these things in order to meet deadlines. Furthermore, companies may not have performed complete background checks or sufficiently trained new employees before putting them behind the wheel.
While many truckers are also owners of these massive vehicles, some belong to companies or third parties. Owners are responsible for the routine inspection and repair of semitrucks to ensure safe use. If the collision was the result of poor maintenance, then you may be able to sue the owner.
Perhaps the owner did due diligence in keeping the truck in top shape, but the manufacturer produced a faulty vehicle or replacement parts. Defective products are cause for holding the manufacturer liable for the collision.
Just as important as a fully functioning tractor-trailer is loading it securely to prevent cargo from shifting and causing the truck to roll, or from falling off the trailer and hitting other motorists and blocking the road. Additionally, an overloaded truck takes even longer to stop and is more dangerous. Companies should inspect cargo loading, and truckers should check cargo and trailers to ensure they are secure.