Colorado Commercial Trucking Accident Cases – Who Can Be Responsible and Why?
If you have been injured in an accident that involves a commercial truck, multiple potentially responsible parties may be involved.
The DriverThe driver who caused the crash may be held liable if he or she was acting negligently when the crash occurred.
The Employer(s)If the negligent commercial truck driver was acting within the course and scope of his or her employment at the time of the crash, then the employer of the commercial truck driver may also be held liable.
The Company(ies) Responsible for Securing Cargo and Containing/Loading Hazardous Materials.If a separate company other than the driver's employer is responsible for loading and securing cargo or hazardous material on or in a commercial truck and the cargo and hazardous materials cause injury to another, then such company may also be liable for negligently securing or containing/loading hazardous materials.
How are Trucking Accident Cases Different From Other Motor Vehicle Accidents?The principles of negligence come into play in both motor vehicle accidents that involve individual drivers and commercial drivers. However, one major difference between trucking accident cases and other motor vehicle accidents is that state and federal commercial motor carrier regulations apply in cases involving commercial drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is a federal governmental agency which is a sub agency of the United States Department of Transportation which develops and enforces the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations ("FMCSRs"). The FMCSRs also provide specific regulations for cargo securement a and transportation. The Colorado Department of Transportation Regulations may also apply and govern the minimum standards for the operation of commercial vehicles in the State of Colorado. Additionally, commercial trucking industry standards, customs and general practices that are generally accepted by the commercial trucking industry may also apply to both the truck driver and employer. Lastly, the driver and/or other responsible parties may be on the hook for punitive damages if the conduct is found to be reckless and with disregard for the safety and rights of others.
If you were involved in an accident involving a commercial truck, you will need an attorney to identify all potential defendants and navigate the complex applicable trucking laws and regulations.