Who Is Typically Liable in a Palm Desert Truck Accident?

Accidents involving large trucks often result in complicated legal claims. Liability is not always clear, and it’s not uncommon for victims to wonder who is typically liable in a Palm Desert truck accident. Because truck drivers operate these vehicles as part of their employment, liability can fall on multiple parties after a Palm Desert truck accident. If you or a loved one recently sustained injuries and other losses from an accident with a commercial truck, call our office. An experienced attorney can help you determine who is liable for your accident.

What Happens When a CDL Driver Has an Accident?

Every commercial truck driver in the United States must obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Some drivers may need to complete additional training for special commercial vehicles. When a CDL driver causes an accident, the circumstances of the accident generally inform the outcome. If the driver caused the accident due to forces beyond their control, liability may fall to their employer or one or more other parties. If the driver caused the accident due to negligence or intentional, dangerous conduct, liability would likely fall on the driver. In such cases, the penalty will be severe.

Can You Lose Your CDL for an Accident?

A CDL holder who causes an accident due to gross negligence or intentional recklessness will likely absorb liability for the damages resulting from their actions. Losing their CDL is just one likely penalty they will face in this situation. For example, a commercial truck driver who caused a serious accident due to driving under the influence will likely face criminal prosecution as well as civil liability for victims’ damages.

Is CA a No-Fault State for Truck Accidents?

Sometimes a truck accident occurs, and the driver does not absorb fault. While some may assume this is due to a no-fault statute protecting truck drivers in California, this is not the case. The legal concept of vicarious liability comes into play whenever a truck accident occurs due to the actions not of the truck driver but their employer or another party. For example, if a trucking company failed to verify a driver’s experience level before assigning them a hazardous route, the company might be held vicariously liable for the accident.

Whose Responsibility Is It to Determine Who Was at Fault in a Collision?

It is often difficult to determine liability after a commercial truck accident. These incidents often involve multiple vehicles, conflicting witness reports, and physical evidence that is only available for a short time. In a civil claim, a plaintiff must identify the defendant responsible for their damages and provide a full accounting of their claimed damages. They must also prove those damages resulted from the defendant’s alleged negligence and not some other cause. This burden of proof rests on the plaintiff.

It’s possible for a defendant to challenge a truck accident claim by contesting the validity or strength of the plaintiff’s evidence or by highlighting the negligence of other parties. Ultimately, a truck accident lawsuit can escalate into a very complicated legal matter with unclear levels of liability across multiple defendants.

Potentially Liable Parties in a Truck Accident Claim

When it comes to who is typically liable for a Palm Desert truck accident, liability for these incidents often falls to one or more parties, including:

  • The truck driver. If the driver made an egregious error or did not operate their vehicle safely, it is possible for the driver to absorb partial or complete liability for the resulting damages. The driver’s behavior may also validate a claim of vicarious liability against their employer.
  • The trucking company or business that employed the driver. Improper, incomplete, or rushed hiring and training practices, failure to verify driver credentials and experience, and failure to maintain commercial vehicles provided to drivers are just a few of the ways a truck driver’s employer might absorb liability for a truck accident.
  • A distributor or other company. For example, in the event another party was responsible for loading the truck and failed to secure the cargo properly, creating an unbalanced load that led to an accident, that party would be at least partially liable for the damages in the accident. It is also possible for a party responsible for maintenance to absorb liability if they did not conduct required maintenance properly or failed to notice and fix a mechanical issue during the truck’s last service appointment.
  • Third parties. It’s possible for another driver to cause an accident with a commercial truck that results in damage to you and your vehicle. Filing a legal claim in this situation would be similar to any other car accident claim. However, it is possible for the truck driver or another party to also share liability for your damages.

One or all of these parties could be liable for your damages after a truck accident in the Palm Desert area. It’s vital to consult with an attorney as soon as possible about your legal options if you intend to maximize your recovery after an accident involving any commercial vehicle.

Increasing Your Recovery After a Truck Accident

A good Palm Desert truck accident attorney can analyze the evidence in your claim to determine which party or parties bear fault for your losses. If there is room to claim vicarious liability on the part of a trucking company or other party, this can help. You could maximize the potential recovery from an insurance claim or lawsuit. Trucking companies typically aim to settle civil claims quickly and quietly, and it’s far more likely to secure a substantial recovery from a large trucking company than any individual driver.

If you are wondering who is typically liable in a Palm Desert truck accident and are feeling unsure about your legal options, it’s best to speak with an experienced Palm Desert truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to determine your options. If your damages are minor, it’s possible you may obtain full recovery through a straightforward insurance claim. However, if you or a loved one experienced serious injury, missed time from work due to recovery, and suffered severe physical pain due to the actions of another party, call our firm. A good attorney can help you explore every potential route to compensation available to you. Contact the Law Offices of Susan Handel today if you are ready to discuss your legal options with a reliable and compassionate Palm Desert truck accident attorney.