Truck accidents are prevalent nowadays and can have devastating consequences on the victim. A truck accident case might not be straightforward because there could be several people liable for the accident. In case of any doubt, a truck accident attorney can explain who is at fault in your case.
The party involved can be sued for personal injury, or if they are the victim’s employer, they are required by law to compensate their employee. Here, we will discuss individuals and companies who might be liable after a trucking accident.
Who Could Be Liable in a Truck Accident?
1. The Truck Driver
If a negligent driver caused the accident, then you have the right to sue the driver at fault. Negligence, in this case, includes driving while intoxicated, fatigued, using a phone, and so on. The truck driver might also be liable if they failed to inspect their truck and perform the necessary maintenance routine.
They might also have failed to secure their cargo correctly, and a cargo shift can easily cause an accident. All these scenarios could indicate a negligent driver. However, your lawyer will advise you whether to go after the driver, depending on their insurance coverage.
2. Trucking Company
The lawyer might advise you to skip the driver and head directly for the trucking company. This is because the trucking company is more likely to have a comprehensive insurance policy than a simple driver. However, you might want to investigate before deciding to go for the trucking company because some companies require their drivers to be independent contractors.
A good truck accident lawyer might bring up the relationship between the driver and the company by asking essential questions such as these:
- Does the driver work exclusively for the trucking company in question?
- Who determines the driver’s routes and work schedule?
- Who pays the driver’s insurance?
- Does the driver get worker compensation?
- If the driver is an independent contractor, why do they perform the work of an employee?
These are essential questions that could make the court question the liability of the trucking company. The lawyer will then use the federal regulations to argue that the company whose name and logo appear on the truck is liable for any accidents involving the truck.
3. Cargo Shipper and Loader
The trucking company may just be in charge of transport and might not handle the cargo. That means that if the shipment is poorly sealed by the shipper or loaded incorrectly, then the liability is assigned to the shipper and cargo loader.
4. Manufacturer of the Truck Parts
A truck is a vehicle like any other and might be affected by faulty parts from the manufacturer. Sometimes truck accidents are caused by brake failures, tires coming off or blowing out, steering wheel issues, and more. If it can be proven that a faulty part caused the accident, then the liability falls on the truck manufacturer.
5. Local Government
The local government is responsible for the construction and maintenance of roads in the area of their jurisdiction. Therefore, if accidents are caused by potholes, loose gravel, flooded roads, poor road designs, lack of guardrails, etc., the fault might be assigned to the local government. The local government must also provide sufficient warnings when there is construction or other dangers on the road.
What to Do After Getting into a Truck Accident
After going to a hospital, you might want to get in touch with a truck accident lawyer who can advise you on the way forward. Their expertise will help you determine the best course of action to maximize the payout from a personal injury claim.