Who Could Be Liable for a California Trucking Accident?
The party or parties that would be liable for a trucking accident will vary based on the specific circumstances involved in an accident. Some examples of individuals and entities that could be liable for a California trucking accident include:
A Truck Driver
If the negligence of a truck driver causes an accident, they could be held liable for the damages caused by that accident. Some examples of truck driver negligence include driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, distracted driving, speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way, failing to follow traffic signals, or failing to abide by safety regulations.
A Trucking Company
Trucking companies can also be held liable for accidents caused by their negligence. Trucking companies sometimes carelessly or intentionally violate safety requirements or transportation regulations. If this type of negligent violation leads to a trucking accident, the trucking company could be held liable for the damages caused by the accident. Some examples of ways in which a trucking company could be negligent include overloading trailers, failing to properly maintain trucks, allowing overweight vehicles, knowingly retaining underqualified employees, allowing unbalanced cargo loads, or encouraging drivers to violate safety requirements.
Additionally, in California, a commercial trucking company could be held liable for a trucking accident that was caused by the negligence of a truck driver. If a truck driver works as an employee of a commercial trucking company (and not as an independent contractor), the trucking company could be held liable for their employee’s negligent actions per California Respondeat Superior laws.
A Designer, Manufacturer, Distributer, or Retailer
If a truck has a defect which results in an accident, the party responsible for the defective truck or truck part could be liable for the accident. In California, designers, truck manufacturers, vehicle parts manufacturers, or companies involved in a product’s distribution or sale could all potentially be liable for a defective truck or truck part.
City or County Governments
Truck accidents can sometimes be caused by dangerous road conditions. If the dangerous road conditions that caused a vehicle accident were the result of government negligence, a city or county government could be liable for the damages caused by the accident. Additionally, a city or county government could potentially be liable for an accident in some other situations, such as when an accident is caused by the negligence of a city employee (like a city bus driver).
Note that there is a short statute of limitations for personal injury claims involving government entities. The statute of limitations for this type of case is six months. If you believe a government entity may be responsible for your truck accident, it’s in your best interest to immediately seek legal representation.
Other Drivers Involved in the Accident
Truck accidents can be caused by the negligent actions of other drivers on the road. If another driver’s negligence caused a truck accident, they could be held liable for the damages incurred. For example, a car driver could be responsible for a semi-truck accident if their reckless driving caused them to collide with the semi-truck.
A Truck Accident Victim
A truck accident victim could be partially or fully liable for a truck accident if their actions contributed to the accident. However, note that because California is a pure comparative negligence state, accident victims that are partially at fault for an accident can still recover partial damages. For example, if you are a truck accident victim and you were 20% at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, your recovery would be reduced by 20%. But you could still receive compensation for 80% of your damages.