Truck drivers and trucking companies are required to follow specific regulations in order to operate safely on the road. Trucks are subject to strict maintenance and upkeep codes, and truck drivers are required to follow specific rules regarding work hours and the amount of sleep they should receive. Failure to follow any of these guidelines can lead to severe accidents, exacerbated by the sheer size and weight of the semi-truck involved.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Truck Accidents in B.C.?
In civil litigation, truck accidents present a very different set of issues than car accidents. This is primarily because most trucks are driven for commercial purposes. Thus, most truck drivers were acting as employees within the scope of their employment when the accident occurred.
The legal doctrine of respondeat superior holds that the employer is also liable for the negligence of their employees and any personal injuries that they might cause. This means that a plaintiff who has been in an accident with a truck may be able to sue not only the truck driver immediately responsible, but also the trucking company the trucker works for.
Trucking companies can indirectly cause accidents. Sometimes, because of delivery deadlines and other pressures, truckers do not take care of themselves properly. They do not rest sufficiently and then drive while extremely fatigued. This fatigue will adversely affect their reaction times and directly contribute to accidents. There are laws in British Columbia requiring a certain number of hours of rest time during long trips and also requiring a detailed log of driving and rest times. The logbook can be a fruitful source of evidence.
Truck accidents are also sometimes the result of problems with the truck itself. Faults with a trucks engine, transmission, or breaks can lead to serious accidents, regardless of how alert the driver is. Defects in other equipment used in shipping, such as the bindings use to secure the cargo, can lead to an accident with no involvement of the driver at all. In this case, the manufacturer of the defective product may be held liable for the accident.
What Damages Can I Collect in a Truck Accident?
After a trucking accident accident, a person can be left with large financial burdens and ongoing medical issues. In your trucking accident claim with ICBC or any other insurance provider, you may be eligible for damages, including but not limited to:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages, including future earnings
- Loss of benefits
- Pain and suffering
It is important that you do not accept a settlement before you have an experienced lawyer assess your situation. You may be eligible for more than you think.
Vancouver Truck Accident Lawyer
Because there are several parties involved in trucking accidents, there may be some ambiguity as to the extent to which each is liable. In British Columbia, the employer is generally liable for the actions of his employee, so both would be named in any ICBC lawsuit. However, there may be an issue about whether the truck driver is an employee or an independent contractor.
Experienced truck accident lawyer Bruce Lemer can analyze all the variables involved, develop necessary evidence and retain top experts. If liability is an issue, it is beneficial to retain an experienced truck accident lawyer promptly so that the evidence can be preserved and your rights can be protected when dealing with ICBC.