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Is the driver or owner liable in a commercial vehicle accident?

On Behalf of | Feb 4, 2022 | Car Accidents, Commercial Vehicle Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents |

If you are involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, the situation involving insurance and liability can become confusing. There may be more than one responsible party, but it highly depends on the details of the situation.

The California Vehicle Code says an owner is responsible for any accident he or she causes, but there are scenarios when the driver is also liable.

General rule

Under California law, vehicle owners have a lot of liability. If they give someone permission to use their vehicle and that person causes an accident, the owner is responsible at least in some part. Owners usually only can get out from under any liability when the person driving stole the vehicle.

Possible alternatives

If you have an accident with a commercial vehicle, you should always get the information for the owner and the driver. You can usually make a claim against the owner for allowing a negligent driver to operate the vehicle. At the same time, you usually will also have a claim against the driver for the actual negligent actions.

The situation may become complicated if there was something wrong with the vehicle that caused the accident. In this case, if the owner is liable for the issue with the vehicle, then the owner will likely have full liability. However, if it was due to something the driver did wrong, the owner may have a case to refute any responsibility.

Another situation is when a driver is negligent due to a lack of training. This is a direct responsibility of the owner to ensure the person he or she entrusts with the vehicle is able to safely drive it.

A commercial accident can be complex, so it is a good idea to consider all potential claims and responsible parties.