Driving next to a large commercial truck can put anyone in a nervous frenzy. Being struck by one can change someone’s life dramatically due to the devastating injuries and costly expenses that come along with large truck crashes.
Who can be held liable in a truck accident?
When a trucking collision occurs, various parties may be held liable. The driver, the owner of the truck, the company that loaded the truck’s cargo and the company that hired the driver, all may have contributed to the crash individually, and in certain instances, more than one party can be held liable for the damages they have caused.
Collisions involving trucks whether they are delivery trucks, 18-wheelers or other large commercial trucks, occur for numerous reasons, many of which could have been prevented. Liability in a truck accident centers on identifying and proving negligence or recklessness of one or more parties. Law enforcement, attorneys, investigators, and insurance companies will examine all factors to identify and determine fault.
Investigating a commercial truck collision
Typically law enforcement will be the first to investigate the collision by reviewing crash site and taking witness statements. The officer then issues a report describing how it is believed the collision occurred, based on their evaluation. Although the report completed by the officer may contain a statement of fault, that’s not be enough to prove guilt ultimately, but can be used as evidence to help support a case.
Insurance adjusters for all vehicles involved will review the details of the crash as may even inspect and photograph the vehicles themselves. After each party’s adjustor independently completes their investigation, they too will assign fault and liability.
If the injured party hires an attorney to protect his or her rights, the attorney will also use their resources to gather evidence and interview witnesses to prove fault and determine who is liable for their client’s injuries. Factors that are essential to proving fault include:
Negligence: Whether the negligence comes from the driver or the trucking company, there are consequences, and unfortunately, many times innocent victims end up paying the price.
- Driver negligence can include:
- Distracted driving
- Failure to check blind spots
- Dangerous lane changes
- Driving under the influence
Trucking company negligence can include:
- Overlooking safety regulations
- Pressuring drivers to make unrealistic deadlines
- Inadequate driver training
- Utilizing drivers who are not equipped to handle an oversized vehicle safely
- Allowing trucks to be loaded improperly
Fatigue: Too often drivers are expected to work long hours beyond those allowed by federal law, increasing the risk of a collision.
Impairment: Operating a truck under the influence of alcohol, narcotics or prescription medications is a roadway recipe for disaster waiting to happen.
Bad hiring practices: The trucking company may have hired a driver who does not possess a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL), or a driver who has an extensive bad driving record.
Failure to properly maintain trucks: The company that owns the truck is responsible for making sure the truck and its parts are in good, safe condition, such as having effective brakes and tires and not allowing trucks with faulty parts to operate.
Getting the help you deserve
Collisions with commercial vehicles such as delivery trucks, buses, dump trucks, utility trucks and 18-wheelers are not just another car crash. The sheer size of the commercial vehicle causes a significant impact, adding more chance of catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries and wrongful death.
These companies are backed by their defense attorneys, and insurance companies whose job is to protect the trucking company even it means leaving you in distress. They will work hard to shift blame your way and settle your claim for the least amount possible. The person responsible for causing you harm should be held accountable. In order to build the strongest case possible, it is critical that you seek the legal guidance of an experienced Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney to protect your rights and pursue maximum compensation for your losses including the cost of medical treatment, loss of wages, pain and suffering and more.
If you were hit by a company vehicle whose negligence was the cause of your injuries, contact The Carlson Law Firm where our top priority has been protecting the rights of injured victims and ensuring the health and well-being of our clients for over 40 years.