Who Can Be Held Liable For a Truck Accident?
A semi-truck pulling an empty trailer weighs approximately 35,000 lbs, while the average passenger vehicle weighs between 2,750 and 4,000 lbs. Therefore, truck accidents often result in severe or life-threatening injuries to those who survive the collision. Injuries sustained in truck accidents often require significant medical procedures and therapy, which results in costly medical bills. After receiving these medical bills, you may wonder who is liable for a truck accident that caused your injuries. In a truck accident claim, the answer to this question depends on what circumstances led to the collision and whether you can show the parties involved were negligent.
In many cases, businesses own the trucks traveling on the road, not the driver. Thus, multiple parties may bear some liability in a truck accident claim. If you were injured in a semi-truck accident, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer right away. One of our personal injury attorneys at Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C., can help you determine who is liable for a truck accident. Contact our office today to begin your free initial consultation.
Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?
Truck accidents present complexities that do not often exist in regular car accident cases, including the possibility that multiple parties bear liability in your accident with the semi-truck.
The most obvious party facing liability is the truck driver. Hundreds of thousands of accidents occur every year due to operator error. Truck drivers make mistakes just like regular drivers, and when those mistakes result in a crash that causes your injuries, the truck driver may face liability.
Many trucks and trailers are owned by a company that employs truck drivers to drive them. Thus, issues stemming from improper maintenance of the semi-truck itself could fall on the company rather than the driver. Proper maintenance of trucks prevents issues like worn tires and defective brakes that lead to hundreds of accidents yearly.
Additionally, trucking companies employing drivers must ensure that the drivers meet the necessary qualifications, like possessing a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate the truck legally. If a trucking company hired a truck driver without a valid CDL and the truck driver caused an accident, the trucking company may bear some responsibility based on their decision to hire an unqualified driver.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes regulations designed to reduce fatigued driving by semi-truck drivers. Trucking companies may not disregard the regulations or encourage their employees to disobey them. However, most trucking companies offer bonuses to drivers who meet high mileage quotas and encourage long hours. Proof that a trucking company influenced a driver to go against FMCSA regulations could result in liability for the company if an accident occurs.
Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents
In 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported approximately 159,000 injuries sustained in crashes involving large trucks and approximately 5,005 fatalities. The occupants of other vehicles involved in a crash with a large truck made up 71% of those fatalities.
Truck accidents can happen for almost any reason, just like any other car accident. The size and mass of semi-trucks make basic maneuvers like turning and stopping more complicated. Factors that may contribute to a truck accident include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
- Driving too fast for the conditions,
- Making wide right turns,
- Improper truck maintenance,
- Poor road conditions,
- Truck loads shifting while in motion, and
- Distracted driving.
When a truck accident happens due to another person’s negligence, they should be held responsible. The nature of the product shipping industry enhances the risk of negligence occurring due to the emphasis on fast turnaround times and long hours. After all, trucking companies incentivize quick delivery times. Therefore, truck drivers aim to beat deadlines and arrive ahead of schedule, sometimes prioritizing speed over safety.
How to Prove Liability After a Truck Accident
A qualified personal injury lawyer can help gather evidence to prove the truck driver or trucking company’s negligence caused your damages. We will gather information and evidence that bolsters your claim, such as:
- Accident reports and photographs;
- Names, contact information, and statements of any witnesses to the accident; and
- Identifying information for the truck driver involved in the crash and the trucking company they work for.
We will use this information to negotiate with the insurance company and obtain a settlement offer that fully compensates you for your losses. Without an attorney, the insurance adjuster may bombard you with lowball settlement offers that do not cover all of the damages you incurred.
Common Injuries in a Truck Accident Liability Claim
Many semi-truck accidents result in severe, sometimes life-threatening injuries. Injuries commonly seen in truck accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries,
- Loss of limbs,
- Back injuries,
- Spinal cord injuries,
- Broken bones,
- Concussions, and
Any treatment in a hospital or emergency room may result in expensive medical bills—especially if you spend a long time in the hospital or need rehabilitation to recover from your injury.
Still Curious About Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident? Contact Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover Right Away
Our team at Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover has decades of experience navigating personal injury claims and securing favorable settlement agreements for our clients. Not to mention, our firm has recovered over a hundred million dollars on behalf of our injured clients. One of our attorneys, Gerald Sloat, has received the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards by a national rating service and been named a Colorado “Super Lawyer.”
We pride ourselves on devoting individual attention to each one of our clients. Our team is dedicated to providing the highest level of legal service possible and fighting to ensure our clients are compensated fairly. If you were injured in a semi-truck accident, speak with one of our personal injury attorneys at Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover as soon as possible to discuss your claim.
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