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Driver Liability for Commercial Truck Accidents

February 6, 2021 By John Torgenson

Driver Liability for Commercial Truck Accidents

The aftermath of an accident involving a large commercial truck can be incredibly confusing for those involved. If the careless or negligent actions of a truck driver or trucking company caused a crash, it is crucial for victims to be able to secure compensation for their losses. However, securing compensation following a truck crash in Arizona can be complicated. This is particularly true when victims are left going up against well-funded trucking companies and their insurance carriers. Here, our Phoenix truck accident lawyers want to discuss instances where a truck driver or company can be held liable as well as how an attorney can help prove liability in these cases.

Truck Driver Liability in Arizona

Truck drivers are often found liable for accidents involving their vehicles. In some cases, they may have total liability for a crash. In other cases, and they may only share partial liability. There are various ways the truck drivers can be responsible for a collision. In some cases, the very nature of truck driving places significant demands on drivers which can, in turn, lead to poor decision making. Some of the most common causes of truck crashes that could lead to the truck driver being liable include the following:

  • Operating the vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • Operating the vehicle while distracted by phones or other devices
  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Failing to abide by hours of service requirements set forth by the FMCSA
  • Failing to properly secure the cargo load
  • Operating the truck recklessly
  • Disregarding basic traffic laws

The liability of the truck driver may also depend on whether or not the driver is an employee of a company or an owner/operator. If the driver owns and operates their own truck and contracts with other companies, the liability may fall onto the shoulders of the driver completely. However, if the driver is an employee of another company, then that company may be held vicariously liable for the actions of the driver in the event that a crash occurs.

Trucking Company Liability in Arizona

Aside from being held vicariously liable for the actions of a truck driver, there are various other ways that a trucking company could share liability in a truck crash. Truck companies are responsible for abiding by federal and state regulations concerning the operation of these large vehicles. Truck companies could be held liable if they:

  • Fail to properly inspect and maintain the vehicles
  • Do not conduct background checks on drivers
  • Encourage unsafe driving practices such as operating more hours than necessary
  • Fail to follow up on safety complaints related to drivers

What is Needed to Prove Liability?

Determining liability after a commercial truck crash in Arizona can be challenging. It is strongly recommended that victims in these cases work with a skilled Phoenix car accident attorney who can use their resources and legal expertise to fully investigate the case. An attorney can use their resources to obtain evidence needed to prove liability, such as photo or video surveillance, eyewitness statements, police reports, truck company records, driver safety records, electronic data recorders, and more.

We do want to point out that trucking companies will likely have legal teams of their own as well as aggressive insurance carriers on their side that will do anything they can to avoid liability for the incident. When a truck crash victim works with an attorney, they will be gaining an advocate with the resources to level the playing field.

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John Torgenson

After high school, John attended the University of Utah, graduating in 2001. John then attended his dream school, Notre Dame Law School, where he graduated, with honors, in 2004. John is licensed to fight in court for real people in the State of Arizona, the United States Federal District Court of Arizona, and the 9th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

Before establishing what is now Torgenson Law, John practiced in the litigation group at Fennemore Craig, the oldest law firm in Arizona, and one of the largest firms in the Southwest. Having practiced at Fennemore Craig in both the defense and plaintiff’s practice areas gives John a complete perspective of the litigation process, and valuable insight into how to efficiently and effectively advance his clients’ interests. His unique and balanced background enhances his credibility with defense lawyers, insurers, and defendants as well as with judges and arbitrators.