Unlike car accidents, truck accidents have many involved parties that can contribute to who’s liable for injuries caused by the accident.
In 2017 alone there were 450,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks. In 2018, there were 4,136 deaths because of truck accidents. Because a commercial truck weighs 20-30 times more than a passenger car, these accidents can be deadlier even if they’re less common.
What Parties Can Be Held Liable After a Truck Accident?
Truck accidents can be more complicated than other motor vehicle accidents simply because there are more parties involved. A commercial truck is operated by one person. However, the trucking company, the truck owner, and others are involved in the whole system. Depending on the causes of the accident, any combination of these parties may be held liable for injuries caused.
With these types of cases, it’s important to find an attorney who has experience with truck cases. You’ll want to hire someone with a proven track record in winning trucking cases, as they’ll have the experience dealing with multiple different parties at the same time.
The Truck Driver
Like the driver of any non-commercial motor vehicle, a truck driver can be held liable for a host of different things. If they’re under the influence, driving while distracted, or driving while drowsy, the liability could fall on them. Basically, if they cause the accident by breaking any rule, they could be liable. In truck accidents, the liability runs a little bit deeper. For example, if the accident occurred because the driver fell asleep at the wheel, why did he fall asleep? If he was scheduled hours over the legal amount, it could be the fault of the trucking company and so on.
The Trucking Company
The trucking company can be liable for a few different reasons. The trucking company oversees the employees that work there as well as the schedules of those employees. If the trucking company were to put unrealistic expectations on the driver, for example, driving longer than normal, then they may be liable for the accident as this is a breach of trucking regulations. Trucking companies can also be held liable for not supervising or enforcing the existing regulations in place to make commercial trucking safer.
The Owner of the Truck
If the trucking company doesn’t own the truck, then the owner of the truck could also be involved in the case depending on the circumstances. The truck owner is often responsible for performing inspections of the vehicle and maintaining it. This includes things like checking the tires, maintaining the brakes, and the electronic system, among other aspects of the truck. If the crash were to occur because of a malfunction in the truck, the truck owner could be liable.
The Cargo Loaders or Manufacturers
Commercial trucks often carry a lot of cargo around the country. If that cargo wasn’t properly inspected before loading, there could be an issue that may cause an accident. Another issue could occur if the cargo wasn’t properly secured upon loading. Additionally, the manufacturer could be liable if there’s a defect in any of the products. For example, if a piece of machinery has a factory defect, the manufacturers may be liable for the accident.
Truck Repair Shop
A truck repair shop could be liable for an accident if the accident occurs after getting the vehicle fixed. If the accident is caused by a repair being faulty, the truck repair shop could be liable for the accident depending on the repair and how it was linked to the causation of the accident.
Government Agencies and Contractors
Roadway hazards, like potholes, broken pavement, or soft shoulders can cause truck accidents as well. Hitting a bump in the wrong way can cause a truck to rollover and potentially cause a build up on a road or the highway. An accident like this could go two different ways. Either the government agency that fixed the road or the contractor that the government hired to fix the road could be liable in this situation.
Determining liability for a truck accident can be a hard task. There are many different liable parties. How are you supposed to decide exactly who your lawsuit is against? How do you determine when there are multiple parties liable for your accident?
Liability can be placed on a variety of different parties at the same time, in any combination. It could be the fault of the contractors, manufacturers, and driver, or the repair shop, manufacturer, and trucking company. The liable party (or parties) will be different depending on the circumstances of your specific case.
When it comes to gathering evidence, this is where it helps to have a lawyer with experience. Gathering evidence can be tricky and time consuming. You’ll want to find a lawyer who has tenacity and won’t give up when it looks like no one wants to talk about the accident. Gathering evidence could include talking to potential liable parties and witnesses. An inspection of the vehicle for any maintenance or manufacturing errors will also occur at this time to rule out mechanical error.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
Commercial trucking accidents can be scary and overwhelming, but an experienced lawyer can help you get through your case without too much headache. The truck accident lawyers at Sand Law LLC are experienced in truck accident cases and have plenty of experience when it comes to working with multiple liable parties. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, the lawyers at Sand Law are happy to take on your case. For more information, please contact us online or at 651-291-7263.