Trucking accidents have been steadily increasing in the U.S. over the past couple of years. In 2016 there were 475,000 crashes involving larger trucks, according to police reports. Twenty-two percent of the crashes resulted in bodily injury while almost 4,000 of the crashes ended up being fatal. This is why one should always be prepared when driving on the road, because it is impossible to know when a trucking accident attorney marysville wa will be needed.
Rules and Regulations for Trucking Industry
Trucking accidents can lead to serious legal disputes, especially if an injury or death has occurred. Therefore, understanding the relevant laws and regulations is of utmost importance for those who have experienced a trucking accident. Most of the federal regulations regarding the trucking industry are in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Federal agencies in charge of regulating the trucking industry are the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
Liability for Trucking Accidents
During a legal dispute arising from a trucking accident, one must be aware of the potential liabilities of each of the parties involved. The driver of the truck could be found to be liable if his or her actions while behind the wheel is the cause of the incident. The owner of the truck, who is not always the truck driver, can also be held liable for injuries caused by the driver of the truck. Even the manufacturer of the truck, tires or any other vehicle parts may be found to have contributed to the severity of the incident. Also, those responsible for loading of the truck’s cargo can be held liable if the improper loading of cargo contributed to causing the crash.
Trucking Company Liability
In the past trucking companies used to try to avoid liability by creating legal distance between themselves and the truck driver, the truck and the equipment. The trucking company may obtain all of the required permits for operating the truck but may not actually own the tractor, truck or other related equipment utilized in hauling the cargo. Instead, the trucking company may lease these items while also hiring the truck drivers as independent contractors rather than having direct employees.
However, changes in federal regulations and laws have increased the potential liability of trucking companies. Now, any company or entity that owns a trucking permit is considered liable for crashes involving any truck with the company’s name or placard displayed on the vehicle, regardless of whether the driver is an independent contractor or an employee. It also does not matter if the vehicle is being leased or what the leasing contract states in its terms.
Find a Competent Trucking Accident Attorney in Marysville
On the other hand, each individual case is different which means if one is involved in a lawsuit over a trucking accident it may be necessary to obtain legal advice from a licensed and experienced attorney. The facts of the case will need to be determined and then applied to the relevant body of law. This can be difficult without the essential knowledge of how to apply complex legal theory as well as navigating through the court system.