Are Truck Drivers Responsible for Damages?

Accidents involving large commercial trucks occur in a wide variety of ways. In some cases, these incidents occur as a result of the actions of the truck driver. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, it is important to know who is responsible for paying compensation for your injuries and property damage expenses. In many situations, the trucking carrier will ultimately be responsible in these situations.

Truck Drivers Can Cause Vehicle Accidents

Accidents involving large commercial trucks occur in a wide variety of ways, often due to the negligence of the truck driver. Some of the most common ways that truck drivers cause accidents in the state of Oregon include:

  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Operating too fast for conditions
  • Disobeying hours of service requirements set forth by the FMCSA
  • Allowing the cargo to be overloaded or improperly loaded
  • Operating while distracted by phones or other devices in the truck
  • Operating while impaired by alcohol or drugs

Who Pays After a Commercial Truck Accident in Oregon?

One of the most important things to determine after a truck accident occurs is who will pay compensation to injury and property damage victims. On the surface, it may seem like the truck driver is responsible for paying compensation, and this may very well be the case. However, if the truck driver is an employee of a trucking company, then the trucking company will likely be responsible for paying out compensation to any victims involved.

So long as a truck driver was operating within the scope of their duties when an accident occurred, the trucking company they work for will be responsible for paying for medical bills, lost wages, and property damage expenses. More precisely, the insurance carrier for the trucking company will pay these expenses.

However, it is not uncommon for truck drivers in Oregon to also be the owner-operators of their vehicles. In these situations, the driver may very well be on the line for paying compensation to injury and property damage victims. All commercial truck owner-operators in Oregon are required to carry the minimum insurance required by state law (if their vehicle does not cross state lines) or federal law (if their vehicle crosses state lines).

You Need to Contact a Lawyer Immediately

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a vehicle accident caused by the actions of a commercial truck driver, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. These cases become incredibly difficult, but an attorney can use their resources to gather all evidence needed to prove liability. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Photos taken at the scene of the incident
  • Video surveillance from nearby cameras
  • The truck’s electronic control module (ECM)
  • The driver’s electronic logging device (ELD)
  • Mobile device data
  • Truck company maintenance records
  • Cargo loading records
  • Weigh station records
  • Statements from eyewitnesses to the accident

A lawyer will gather this evidence, work to determine liability, and engage in vigorous negotiations with the insurance carriers involved. It does not matter whether or not the trucking company or the truck driver’s insurance carrier is responsible for paying compensation. A Portland truck accident attorney will work to recover maximum compensation for their client.