When a semi-truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the consequences can be extreme. The smaller vehicle may become unsafe to drive, and the occupants of that vehicle could sustain significant injuries. Oftentimes, such crashes are the fault of the bigger vehicle, as semi-trucks are much harder to operate safely than standard passenger vehicles.
Who typically covers the expenses generated when a semi-truck strikes a passenger vehicle and the operator is at fault for the collision?
The trucking company may be liable
Vicarious liability rules apply in scenarios where an employee hurts someone on the job. That includes a situation in which a commercial truck driver falls asleep at the wheel or otherwise makes a mistake that leads to a crash where people get hurt.
The individual driver will typically not have liability for the collision. Instead, their employer will need to cover the costs generated by the wreck. Often, there will be large insurance policies available to help provide reimbursement after a commercial collision. The federal rules for semi-truck insurance mandate at least $750,000 worth of coverage on commercial vehicles. Sometimes, companies carry even more than that because of dangerous materials or other factors that increase the overall risk that a crash could cause catastrophic losses. Occasionally, it will be necessary to file a lawsuit against the commercial transportation company to obtain full compensation for a collision.
Understanding who is technically liable for a crash can help those affected by a wreck caused by a semi-truck secure an appropriate amount of compensation given the scope of their losses.