U-Haul Accidents: Who Is Liable and How to Pursue Compensation

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If you have been in a crash that involved a U-Haul truck, you might wonder who will pay for your losses. It can be intimidating to go up against a giant corporation and make a claim for damages. You might suspect that another driver could have been negligent. Max Meyers Law will make sense of who may be responsible for the collision and help you get the compensation you deserve.

Who is Liable for a U-Haul Accident

When there is a wreck involving a U-Haul truck, the person whose negligence caused the accident is responsible for the damage. Potentially liable parties may include U-Haul, the person driving the U-Haul truck or pulling the U-Haul trailer, and other drivers.

How to Determine if Someone is Liable for the Wreck

Although a crash involving a rented truck or trailer is factually a little different from your standard car accident, the law evaluates the liability the same. Here are the four factors for assessing liability in these cases:

  1. Duty of care: All drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles in a safe and cautious manner. U-Haul has a duty to ensure that its trucks and trailers are in roadworthy condition at all times.
  2. Breach of the duty of care: When someone breaches the duty of care, it is negligence. Examples of negligence in wrecks involving U-Hauls trucks or trailers include a driver of a U-Haul truck driving too fast for the conditions, a person in another car driving while impaired, and a U-Haul facility renting out a truck with bad brakes.
  3. Causation: If the negligence is one of the things that caused the wreck, the facts satisfy the causation element. For examples, if the bad brakes failed while the U-Haul truck was going down a mountain, resulting in the truck rear-ending a vehicle, U-Haul’s negligent maintenance of its vehicles caused the crash.
  4. Quantifiable damages: If you suffer measurable economic losses as a result of the negligence, like medical expenses to treat your injuries, you meet the fourth element of liability.

When U-Haul Can be Liable

Putting people who are not professional truck drivers behind the wheel of large rental trucks that contain heavy loads creates several scenarios in which U-Haul could be responsible in the event of an accident. These situations can include:

Improper Maintenance of Vehicles

If U-Haul does not inspect, maintain, and repair its vehicles with sufficient frequency to ensure that all its trucks and trailers on the road are in safe operating condition, the company can be liable. Examples of improper maintenance can include renting out trucks with bad brakes or improperly inflated tires.

Excessive Weight of Loads

There are claims that U-Haul allows people who rent trailers to pull loads of far greater weight than the towing vehicle’s manufacturer recommends. When a car or truck pulls a trailer that contains more weight than is safe for the towing vehicle, the trailer can sway, jerk, jackknife, or overturn on hills or sharp turns.

Failure to Instruct or Warn About Proper Loading

Contents can shift inside the moving truck or trailer if it is improperly loaded. Sudden shifting can cause the truck or trailer to flip over or jackknife. Some customers do not receive the user guide from their U-Haul store, or the manual is inadequate.

Failure to Instruct or Warn About Safe Speeds and Other Safety Information

U-Haul has a responsibility to provide customers with the information they need to operate U-Haul’s equipment safely. Handling a large truck or pulling a trailer is different from driving a typical passenger car or truck. When customers do not receive sufficient safety information, they might unknowingly drive too fast or fail to brake or negotiate turns in a safe manner, which could lead to an accident.

When a Driver Can Be Liable for a U-Haul Accident

This issue involves three different scenarios:

  • You were in a vehicle that a U-Haul truck or trailer hit.
  • You were in a U-Haul truck that another vehicle struck.
  • You were a passenger in a U-Haul truck whose driver was negligent.

Regardless of the situation, we will apply the four-step analysis to determine who was negligent, and whether that negligence caused you to suffer measurable damages.

Making Sense of Multiple Insurance Policies

In cases involving rented vehicles, there can be multiple insurance policies, such as:

  • Your auto insurance policy
  • The other driver’s auto insurance policy
  • Rental truck coverage purchased through U-Haul
  • U-Haul’s liability policies

You do not have to try to figure out which policy or policies might cover your damages. The motor vehicle accident team at Max Meyers Law can sort out the convoluted insurance issues so that you do not have to.

How to Get Compensation for a U-Haul Accident

At Max Meyers Law, we only handle cases involving motor vehicles or transportation. We will investigate the accident to see if you might be eligible for compensation. We will handle the claim and deal with the insurance companies. We do not charge any legal fees until you get paid.

Call us today at 425-399-7000, or fill out our contact form so that we can help you get your life back on track.

Max Meyers
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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.