When you have been involved in a truck accident, it is normal to feel confused and overwhelmed. Most truck accident victims are unsure about what steps to take following a collision, and they might wonder, “Who can be held liable for a truck accident?”
Commercial trucking accidents are very different from collisions that involve only passenger vehicles. One of the key differences is the size and weight of the average commercial truck.
These large vehicles have the potential to cause massive amounts of damage.
Commercial trucking accidents usually involve parties other than the drivers, as well. Truck drivers are generally employed by trucking companies or motor carriers. This can make it difficult to answer the question, “Who can be responsible for a truck accident?”
Fortunately, accident victims have the right to pursue financial compensation through a personal injury claim. If you have been hurt in a traffic accident, you might be entitled to significant financial recovery.
After a collision, make sure to contact a skilled personal injury attorney to pursue compensation for your damages. The accomplished team at Sumwalt Anderson can handle even the most complicated truck accident cases. Let our personal injury attorneys review the facts surrounding your accident to build a powerful case for you.
Who Can Be Responsible for a Truck Accident?
There are several people and entities that can be held legally responsible in the aftermath of a commercial trucking accident. The truck driver is one of the obvious candidates for liability.
If a driver operates their truck in an unsafe or illegal manner, they can be held responsible for the resulting damages. In addition to the driver, the trucking company may be liable for an accident.
However, these are not the only potentially liable parties in a collision. Who can be held liable for a truck accident? Other parties that might be responsible for a truck accident include:
- Vehicle or equipment manufacturers
- Vendors who serve the truck company
- The owner of the freight being carried
- Local contractors or governments who manage roadways.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a commercial trucking collision, it is vital to reach out to a skilled personal injury attorney. A legal professional will review the facts of your case to determine which parties might be liable for the resulting damages.
In some instances, you may be able to seek financial compensation from more than one party. Any person or entity who contributed to your accident or injuries should be held legally responsible for their actions.
Our accomplished lawyers will tirelessly pursue the financial recovery to which you are entitled. When you are wondering, “Who can be responsible for a truck accident?” contact an experienced Charlotte truck accident lawyer at Sumwalt Anderson.
How Is Fault in a Truck Accident Determined?
After a commercial truck accident, a wide variety of evidence can be used to determine legal liability. It is important to have a knowledgeable legal professional review the facts of your accident as soon as possible.
So how is fault in a truck accident determined? The more evidence that is available, the easier it will be to conclude which parties are responsible. Some examples of relevant accident evidence include:
- Photographs or records collected at the scene of the accident
- Police accident reports
- Examinations of vehicular damage
- Recordings from devices in the vehicles
- Drivers’ logs.
In complex cases, your personal injury attorney may consult with an accident reconstruction specialist. These professionals can help to recover important forensic evidence to corroborate your account of the crash.
A seasoned legal professional will also review the truck driver’s activity logs, as well. To comply with requirements from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, truck driver logs must show the time they spent driving. These logs may also contain information gained by the motor carrier or trucking company. This can include witness statements and testimony from the company’s relevant employees.
In some cases, a court order will be required to secure these records from the trucking company. Your trusted truck accident attorney will work hard to recover all of the relevant evidence to help determine legal liability in your case.
Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
In most instances, an investigation is necessary to determine liability after a commercial trucking accident. You should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to learn who can be responsible for a truck accident like yours.
A thorough assessment of the evidence may implicate any of the following parties as legally liable:
In many collisions, the truck driver’s negligent actions are the cause. Some of the typical examples of negligent driving are:
- Driving while fatigued or tired
- Driving for longer than a regulated shift
- Driving while distracted
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving while texting.
If the trucker was breaking the law, they can be held accountable through criminal courts. Regardless of the legality of their actions, you can pursue financial damages from a careless truck driver who caused you harm.
Truck drivers are also responsible for ensuring that the truck has received proper maintenance. In some cases, they may oversee the safe loading of cargo. If a maintenance or loading issue contributed to your collision, the driver may be legally liable for failure to perform tasks with the necessary care. When you are wondering, “How is fault in a truck accident determined?” it is critical to consider the actions of the driver.
Trucking companies bear the responsibility for the state of their trucks and the behavior of their employees. Companies that do not implement proper hiring practices or driver training may be considered to be negligent.
If a motor carrier hires a driver who is not adequately trained or who has infractions on their previous record, the company can be held responsible. Some negligent trucking companies attempt to save money by ignoring NHTSA regulations. Cutting corners on regulations may take the form of:
- Violating hours of service (HOS) limits
- Inadequate or infrequent truck maintenance
- Inadequate or infrequent equipment inspections
- Overloading cargo trucks.
When a company violates these legal requirements, our skilled personal injury attorneys can help you secure damages for the resulting harm that the trucking company or their driver caused.
Cargo Loaders or Shippers
Some trucking companies are contracted to carry freight for other businesses. This type of arrangement can complicate liability in a truck accident case.
Who can be held liable for a truck accident? Any entity or individual who contributed to the victim’s accident or injuries. This means the company that owns the cargo can be liable for a crash that results from a freight-related issue. The loader, shipper, and owner are all responsible for adhering to state and federal regulations surrounding commercial freight shipments.
An experienced legal professional may decide to subpoena documents from each of these parties to determine who is responsible for your accident.
Vehicle Parts Manufacturers
Some collisions are the result of faulty or defective truck parts. The following are common examples of truck component malfunctions:
- Tire failure or blowouts
- Brake system failures
- Steering issues
- Coupling/kingpin system problems.
In some cases, these types of mechanical failures happen because of inadequate maintenance. But in other instances, the crash may be the result of a manufacturing error. If your personal injury attorney finds evidence that a truck component manufacturer or distributor is to blame, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit.
These are only a few examples of potentially responsible parties. Who can be responsible for a truck accident? In some accident cases, more than one party can be legally liable.
When Multiple Parties Contributed to the Collision
Many trucking accidents are caused by several contributing factors. In cases like these, more than one party may be liable for the damage that is caused.
How is fault in a truck accident determined? The factors that determine liability will vary from case to case. For this reason, it is vital to consult with an experienced accident lawyer to discover who might be liable in your case. If more than one party is found to be legally responsible for your damages, you may be able to file multiple claims for compensation.
Be careful not to accept an initial settlement offer too quickly. Motor carriers may offer a quick settlement in hopes of avoiding further legal action. Let a seasoned personal injury attorney review the facts of your case and speak with the opposing parties on your behalf. This will ensure that you do not accept an inadequate payment or miss out on the compensation to which you are entitled.
Turn to the Experienced Legal Team at Sumwalt Anderson
If you need a truck accident lawyer in the aftermath of a collision, reach out to the trustworthy firm at Sumwalt Anderson. We have the knowledge and skills to recover financial compensation for accident and injury victims.
You should not have to carry the burden of financial losses from a commercial trucking accident that someone else caused. For a free legal consultation to discuss the facts of your case, call Sumwalt Anderson at (704) 377-3770 today.