Who’s Liable in a Moving Truck Accident?

Moving trucks are large. If you’re renting a truck to move your own belongings, chances are you aren’t familiar with driving something five to six times the size of your everyday vehicle. There’s a learning curve to driving a larger truck and you likely won’t have it long enough to become comfortably skilled at driving one. Even for skilled truck drivers, these vehicles can be tricky to maneuver when you consider that there may be cars and enough personal property to fill a very large home stored inside the containers.

Some of the primary causes of moving truck accidents are:

  • Improperly loading and securing boxes, furniture and other items that shift while driving causing the vehicle to tip over.
  • Speeding or reckless driving used to maintain a schedule to either deliver your property under a contract, or for you to return a rental truck under contract.
  • Distracted driving from checking GPS or texting, eating, or adjusting controls inside the vehicle.
  • Being unskilled at driving a large vehicle or understanding how to properly maneuver one in traffic or inclement weather.
  • Maintenance has not been kept up on the truck causing brakes, steering or other mechanisms to fail.

There are different ways to move your things via truck, which can each change where the liability lies. You can rent a truck and drive it yourself, or you can hire a moving company who handles everything.

DIY moves with rental trucks

When you rent a moving truck, such as U-Haul, to drive yourself, you are accepting liability for your actions behind the wheel and any damage that you may cause. You sign a rental agreement that includes acceptance or waiving of insurance coverage through the company. Many people who have full coverage auto insurance tend to waive the company’s own insurance to save money. This is typically a mistake as most auto insurance carriers limit the types of vehicles covered under your rental protection. That leaves you personally vulnerable to lawsuits if you should cause a truck accident.

However, if the U-Haul or other rental company’s truck was not properly maintained and the renter had no way of knowing this prior to pulling off the lot, the rental company and its insurer then become liable for any injuries resulting from that mechanical failure.

Professional moving companies

When you contract with a moving company to provide door to door service, you are assigning liability to them and they have the responsibility of getting your things to their final destination without causing injury or damage along the way. That said, the moving company may not be liable all on its own. The driver could potentially be at fault if he or she behaved negligently behind the wheel.

Say the driver left late for personal reasons and decided to make up time by driving longer than permissible by law. If the driver becomes exhausted and drifts to the shoulder, consequently hitting a car stalled in the emergency lane, the truck driver is going to be responsible along with the moving company for all damage and personal injuries caused as a result of hitting that car. Even if the driver of the car isn’t present, a large truck hitting a car on a highway has disastrous effects.

At Larson Law Firm, P.C. we take truck accidents very seriously. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you need to speak with an attorney who will take an aggressive approach to your claim. To schedule your free consultation in our Bismarck or Minot offices, call 701-484-4878 or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact page.

 

 

 

 

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