Determining Liability in a Truck Accident Claim
Each year, thousands of people die in large commercial truck accidents. In 2019, there were 4,119 fatalities as a result of these crashes. 67% of all fatalities were occupants of passenger vehicles, while 16% were truck occupants. The remaining 17% were vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
These accidents can be devastating, more so than a regular car accident would be, simply because of how heavy commercial trucks are. They hit with more force and greater impact, causing devastating injuries that result in lifelong care or death.
Unlike with car accidents, there are many parties that can be liable for a truck accident case aside from just the driver. If you suspect that someone other than the truck driver was liable for causing your accident, keep reading for more information—and to contact an attorney.
What Parties Can be Liable for a Truck Accident Claim?
There are multiple different parties that could be liable for your truck accident claim. Because of this, it’s important to hire an attorney to help with your case. During the initial investigation, your attorney will look into how the accident occurred and determine who was at fault. Parties that could be at fault for your accident include:
- Trucking company
- Truck manufacturer
- Owner of the truck
- Truck driver
- Truck loaders
How do Trucking Regulations Attempt to Prevent Accidents?
Trucking regulations are put in place to protect both drivers and other vehicles on the road. These regulations put restrictions on things like driving time, truck length, height, and weight, and more.
They also outline what is and isn’t allowed when operating a large commercial vehicle, such as distracted driving or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Having these regulations in place helps to reduce accidents because of driver fatigue, distracted driving, and driving under the influence, but it doesn’t get rid of them completely.
If a trucking regulation is broken by a driver resulting in an accident, your attorney can site this regulation in your case, providing strength to your lawsuit. For example, if your accident is caused by a fatigued driver who was scheduled over the legal limit, your attorney would be able to site the regulation that talks about how much drivers are allowed to drive in any given period as a way to show that they were negligent.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
There are many different things that can cause truck accidents, and what causes the accident will help your attorney determine which party was liable for your accident. The most common causes of truck accidents include distracted driving, driving under the influence, and driving while drowsy. Most of the time, these causes are the fault of the driver.
Causes that are the fault of the trucking company include:
- Overscheduling employees past legal limits, leading to fatigued driving
- Not properlyly maintain trucks
- Failing to have trucks serviced when necessary
- Failing to complete safety checks on vehicles before they’re driven
Causes that are the fault of the manufacturer include:
- Producing faulty parts and then either not noticing that they’re faulty or failing to recall them upon realizing their fault
Causes that are the fault of the truck owner include:
- Failing to properly maintain and service vehicles
- Renting out trucks that aren’t safe or up to date on their service
Causes that are the fault of the loading team include:
- Overloading a vehicle
- Not securing the load in the back of the vehicle, causing it to shift during travel
How to Determine and Prove Negligence
Determining and proving third-party liability can be difficult. You may require evidence that won’t be found at the scene of the accident. For this reason, your attorney will dig deeper into your case. They may request information from the trucking company such as timesheets and service logs for the vehicle. Your attorney may also have the truck examined by a trusted mechanic to see if the accident occurred because of defective parts or poor service.
Once your attorney has an idea of who may be at fault for your case, they’ll then have to prove it. To prove negligence, you must:
- Prove that there’s a certain level of duty of care that the at-fault party owed to the victim. When someone gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, they owe a duty of care to all others on the road, promising that they’ll do their best to keep others safe. By extension, trucking companies and other potentially liable parties also share this duty.
- You must then be able to prove that this duty was breached by a negligent act. How did what they did put others at risk? For example, if they were failing to properly service their trucks, everyone on the road is at risk of being injured.
- Then you must prove causation. This means you have to prove that the breach or negligent act directly caused the accident to occur and therefore caused your injuries.
- And finally, you must be able to prove that your damages resulted as a result of the accident.
When to Hire an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible after your accident occurs. Truck accidents can be devastating, leaving you with thousands of dollars of medical debt, lost wages, and more. To receive the compensation that you deserve, hire Jones Law Group.
Our attorneys have years of experience working on truck accident cases and are ready to take on yours. For more information or to schedule a free case evaluation, please contact us online, by using our chat box, or by calling us at 727-571-1333.