Truck accidents are a serious problem. The size of semi-trucks and other large vehicles can cause substantial damage to other vehicles on the road, so the physical, emotional, and financial pain suffered by victims can be massive. Though, people injured in truck accidents are not without recourse.
They can seek compensation for their damages by filing a truck accident claim against the at-fault parties. To file a truck accident claim successfully, you must effectively prove that someone else was liable for your damages. This can be difficult because there are usually several parties that hold some level of liability in truck accidents.
Getting to the root of the issue takes legal expertise, which you can find at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation.
What Parties May Be Liable in Truck Accidents?
Truck drivers are normally employees of trucking companies. Therefore they may not be entirely at fault for accidents they are involved in. Similarly, maintenance companies that fail to perform adequate maintenance can be responsible for accidents that occur due to a mechanical failure.
There are other parties that can be found responsible for truck accident claims. They include the following.
If a truck driver’s actions led to an accident directly, there is a chance you can hold them responsible for the accident. The process of placing blame on them is often easier if you can prove that they were violating the law or skirting regulations designed to keep truckers and other drivers safe on the road. For example, if a trucker violated the restriction on service hours and then got in an accident with your vehicle, you will have a strong case against them, their employer, or an insurer.
There are some circumstances wherein trucking companies that operate a truck are liable for accidents their drivers were involved in. There are a variety of reasons why a trucking company might be liable, including but not limited to:
- The trucking company did not provide adequate training to drivers.
- The trucking company did not keep their truck in proper working condition.
- The trucking company advised their drivers to ignore trucking safety regulations.
Finding out whether a trucking company is liable for your accident is more complex than placing responsibility on the driver. You will need to recover evidence that is held by the trucking company, which is inherently difficult. By hiring a lawyer immediately, you can improve the odds that you will have access to the documentation you need to secure reasonable compensation from the trucking company.
Sometimes trucks have flaws in their design or construction that cause issues. If the reason an accident happened was one of these flaws, the truck’s manufacturer can potentially be at fault for the accident. Engineering issues are uncommon, but there are instances where a truck has been known to have issues, and other plaintiffs have successfully proven that the vehicle is defective.
If this is the case in your truck accident claim, your lawyer may suggest pursuing a lawsuit against the manufacturer rather than the truck driver.
Truck Maintenance Companies
Many trucking companies 3rd parties to perform maintenance on their vehicles. If one of these companies failed to perform a proper inspection and released a vehicle that was not safe to operate, they could be liable for your accident. Proper maintenance is key to proper truck performance.
If a system breakdown occurs and causes an accident, this is an important place to look for fault.
If a truck has an unbalanced load, it may be more difficult for the driver to control. When accidents occur due to improperly loaded cargo, the party that was tasked with loading the truck might be liable. Though, without the proper evidence, this can be hard to prove in court.
Other drivers may make decisions that impact truck drivers, causing them to collide with you. Knowing what happened leading up to the accident will help make clear whether it was another driver who was responsible for the accident or one of the previously listed parties.
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How Is Fault Determined in Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents tend to have a variety of factors contributing to them. Sometimes one party is fully at fault while you share no blame, but this is not the case every time. To determine fault accurately, you must file a claim against whoever you think was responsible for the accident.
Through the claims process, you can collect evidence and hear their case. You also have the opportunity to prove that you were not the one who was completely at fault. Your ability to recover compensation depends entirely on your ability to prove that you were not at fault.
To do this, you need to build a strong case that proves your argument. While it is possible to do this independently, doing so may be unmanageable for the average individual. Determining liability requires significant evidence, which you may not be able to collect on your own.
Why Hiring a Lawyer Is a Good Idea
You need to hire a lawyer to protect your rights and interests. An experienced truck accident lawyer will evaluate the facts of the accident and build a case that shows how much liability you and other parties have in the accident. When dealing with large companies, this requires requesting a variety of crucial documents and then waiting for them to be provided.
If you try to get these documents on your own, there is a chance that the trucking companies will choose to ignore you instead.
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Find Out Who Was at Fault in Your Trucking Accident
In some states, it is not enough to simply prove that you were not completely at fault. If any of the blame can be placed on you, comparative negligence laws may take effect. These laws dictate that parties who were partially responsible for an accident will have their compensation reduced based on the level of liability they held.
In some cases, plaintiffs only recover compensation if they are less than 50% responsible for an accident. To determine who was mostly at fault in your truck accident and how much liability falls on you, get in touch with Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC. To get started with a free consultation, contact us today using our contact form.