Who’s Liable When a Truck Rolls Over?

by | Dec 20, 2016

Liability for a rollover accident involving a large truck is often assigned to the driver, the loader, the maintenance company, the entity operating the truck, or a combination of any of these. Many rollover accidents are not the result of a single cause and so it is necessary to determine what factors played a roll in the vehicle rolling over.

Causes of Large Truck Rollovers

Large trucks can rollover if they take a corner at a high rate of speed. They can roll if they are improperly loaded. They can also roll if they experience a tire blowout. Each of these will considerably shift a vehicle’s center of gravity making it impossible for the driver to maintain control over the vehicle. When a truck rolls over, it is necessary to investigate these and other potential causes to determine which factors led to the accident.

Poor Maintenance is a Common Factor

Faulty brakes, worn tires, and malfunctioning suspension systems make large trucks unsafe to operate. When a truck company, government entity, or independent driver neglects maintenance or chooses to defer necessary repairs, they place other motorists at risk. It is not uncommon for the maintenance record to show that the responsible party neglected proper maintenance prior to a rollover accident.

Assigning Liability for an Accident

Liability for a rollover accident can fall squarely on the driver if they took a corner at excessive speed, or if they chose to operate the vehicle in adverse weather conditions such as high winds. It can be assigned to the manufacturer if a design defect is at fault. It can even be assigned to the cargo loaders if the vehicle was loaded improperly. These are all common reasons for large truck rollovers. Other responsible parties may include a government entity that created hazardous road conditions, or another motorist if their actions led to the truck rolling over.

Because the cause is not always clear, it is often necessary to conduct a thorough accident reconstruction with the assistance of a truck accident attorney. An accident reconstruction can show which factors existed and the extent to which each contributed to the accident. Reconstructions are created using everything from photographs and video evidence, to police statements, insurance records, and maintenance logs. In cases where multiple parties are responsible, each individual or entity can be assigned liability based on their share of responsibility.