According to an Iowa Truck Information Guide published by the Iowa Department of Transportation, a delivery truck is considered to be a commercial vehicle. When an accident involving a delivery truck or another commercial vehicle type occurs, the injuries are often very serious. If you’ve been involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle in Iowa, here’s what you need to know about recovery and liability:
Who’s liable for a car accident caused by a commercial driver?
In the majority of cases, one of two parties will be held liable when an accident involving a commercial vehicle occurs: the driver of the vehicle, or the company who owns the truck.
If the driver of the truck is an employee of the trucking company, then the company will usually be held liable under the legal doctrine of respondent superior, which means that an employer is liable for the actions of its employees while they are acting under employ, according to the Legal Information Institute of Cornell University Law School.
If the driver of the delivery truck is an independent contractor, though, then the driver may be held liable rather than the company that contracted him or her. In some cases, neither the driver nor the trucking company will be held liable, such as when a product malfunctions, if a defective part on the truck caused the crash, for example. Instead, the manufacturer of the truck (or a truck part), the shipper, or even the party responsible for loading the truck’s cargo may be held liable.
How to Prove Liability
If you’ve been in an accident that was caused by a commercial driver, then you will have to prove the negligence of the at-fault party. Examples of negligence may include:
- Failing to perform an inspection of or maintenance on the vehicle
- Improper loading of cargo
- Impaired driving
- Aggressive driving
- Failure to adhere to traffic laws
Negligence is essentially any time someone acts or fails to act reasonably, as compared to what another person in the same situation would. You will need to prepare yourself for the trucking company to investigate a commercial truck crash.
A Des Moines Truck Accident and Commercial Vehicle Attorney Can Help
An accident involving a delivery vehicle can be very scary, and cause long-lasting injuries to the victims involved. If you’ve been in an accident with a delivery truck or other commercial vehicle in Des Moines, the attorneys at Walker, Billingsley & Bair can represent you.