Before determining who you can hold liable for a truck accident, you need relevant facts, witness accounts, and evidence related to the truck accident. You can hold a truck driver liable, in which case you can hold their employer liable, too. You can hold a truck manufacturer liable, or a municipality. In some cases, you can hold multiple parties liable for a truck accident.
A lawyer can diagnose liability in a truck accident case. Specifically, an attorney who frequently represents truck accident victims may know the most efficient steps for establishing liability in your case. If you’ve been in a truck accident, reach out to a truck accident attorney for expert legal advice.
Parties Who Can Be Liable for a Truck Accident
Some of the potential defendants in a truck accident lawsuit include:
The Truck Manufacturer
Vehicle manufacturers have a responsibility to:
- Design vehicles in a way that considers occupants’ safety
- Crash test vehicles.
- Actively seek to identify any flaws that can increase the likelihood of an accident or the likelihood of injuries when an accident happens.
- Rectify any vehicle defects.
- Recall any defective vehicle that has already entered the consumer marketplace.
- Provide all necessary safety labels and warnings.
The manufacturer of a specific component may be liable if that component fails and causes an accident.
The Truck Driver
Data and common sense suggest that a driver has the greatest capacity to cause or prevent accidents.
A truck driver may dramatically increase the risk of an accident if they:
- Are too old to drive such a heavy, complex vehicle
- Have a medical condition that makes them a danger to themselves and others
- Engage in distracted driving behaviors
- Drive beyond hours of service limits, which can lead to fatigued driving and is against industry regulations
- Drive while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
Suppose a driver does anything that increases the likelihood of an accident or fails to take reasonable measures to prevent an accident. In that case, they may be liable for the victim’s damages.
Another Motor Vehicle Driver
If your truck accident is a chain-reaction collision, another motorist (a non-trucker) may be at least partly responsible. For example, if a car driver rear-ends a truck, then the truck rear-ends your vehicle, the car driver may have liability for your damages.
In this example, you can hold the truck driver liable for failing to leave enough room between their vehicle and yours. However, the driver who started the chain-reaction collision may share liability.
A Trucking Company
Trucking companies are generally liable when their employees cause a collision. A trucking company may engage in negligence that leaves no doubt about its liability.
You can hold a trucking company liable for its negligence when its leadership:
- Hires drivers or other employees who are unfit to do their jobs
- Fails to monitor drivers or other employees whose actions can contribute to accidents (such as fleet managers)
- Fails to test drivers for drug and alcohol use
- Fails to repair or replace defective trucks, trailers, or other equipment
- Commits any other failure that increases the likelihood of a truck accident
Trucking companies have broad liability for their own actions and the actions of their employees, including drivers. If you are the victim of a truck accident, there is a realistic chance that a trucking company can be liable for your damages.
Municipalities are generally responsible for roads in their jurisdiction.
Therefore, you can hold a city or other governmental body liable when a truck accident results from:
- Malfunctioning traffic signals
- Lack of signage, such as a yield sign
- Flaws in the road, which may include potholes, uneven pavement, unclear lane markings, and any other flaw that increases the risk of an accident
- The dangerous positioning of work crews
Twenty-six percent of fatal work zone accidents involve a large truck, highlighting the danger that emerges when a city fails to protect workers and motorists. When suing a municipality, you may face a shorter filing deadline, so do not wait to retain your truck accident lawyer.
Your Attorney Will Determine Liability for Your Truck Accident
While you may have an idea of who you can hold liable for your truck accident, an attorney can confirm who owes you compensation.
Your truck accident lawyer may answer the question of liability by:
- Reviewing witness statements and speaking with any witnesses whose perspectives may be valuable
- Obtaining and reviewing evidence related to the truck accident
- Consulting experts whose specialty is determining liability for traffic accidents
- Weighing all relevant information about the accident and identifying all liable parties
Negligence Is the Standard for Liability in Truck Accident Cases
As your lawyer reviews the actions of those involved in your accident, they’ll consider a critical question: Was this person or organization negligent?
Negligence is failing to act as a reasonable person should in the same circumstance. A vehicle manufacturer who fails to conduct extensive safety tests is negligent. A motorist who speeds is negligent. A municipality that fails to fix a defective traffic signal is negligent.
When your attorney identifies someone whose negligence contributed to your accident, they will pinpoint that person (or organization) as a liable party.
Additional Responsibilities a Truck Accident Lawyer Will Complete for You
Establishing liability is one of many responsibilities a truck accident lawyer will handle for you. Your attorney will also fight for your financial recovery by:
Securing Evidence from the Trucking Company
One of the unique challenges of truck accident cases is obtaining evidence from trucking companies. These companies may know you are suing them but may possess evidence critical to your financial recovery.
Your lawyer may file a letter of spoliation. This letter will demand that the trucking company preserve evidence useful to your case.
Managing the Insurance Process
When a lawyer accepts your case, they accept every responsibility related to it—including the insurance process.
Your lawyer will:
- Lead all communications with insurance representatives, protecting you from any attempts to pressure you into a settlement agreement, twist or manipulate your words, and coax you into making self-harming statements
- Provide any documentation and evidence the insurance company requests
- Ensure that the claims process proceeds in a timely fashion
Insurance companies do not necessarily have a positive reputation among truck accident lawyers. Lowball settlements, stall tactics, and other bad-faith tactics are challenges that your lawyer may need to overcome.
Helping You Make Recorded Statements
You may need to make one or more recorded statements as part of the insurance process.
To help with this, your lawyer can:
- Arrange for you to make written statements, which may pose less of a risk that you will make errors and compromise a financial recovery
- Help you remember every detail of your truck accident
- Alert you to the potential pitfalls of making a recorded statement
- Vet your statement before you submit it to an insurer
Insurance companies can use a recorded statement to deny a claim. With this in mind, a lawyer’s assistance with your recorded statement may save your settlement.
Leading Settlement Negotiations
Your attorney will negotiate a settlement on your behalf. The negotiation process may be tense, complex, and—possibly—the most direct path to your financial recovery.
Review a firm’s case results as you vet attorneys. A firm with a long record of large settlements may be a firm you can trust to negotiate your financial recovery.
Completing Any Necessary Trial
Though trials are relatively rare in truck accident cases, your case can end up in a courtroom. Always hire a truck accident lawyer who will take a case to trial if necessary, as insurance companies, trucking companies, and other liable parties do not always offer a fair settlement.
Benefits of Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer You Must Consider
When you hand over your truck accident case to a capable truck accident lawyer, you immediately realize several benefits, which may include:
Total Financial Support for Your Case
Injury firms recognize that many auto accident victims are under intense financial stress. Most do not have the money to pay for a lawyer, so law firms offer a low-risk fee structure.
With the contingency fee structure common among truck accident lawyers, you will:
- Pay zero upfront fees or costs to your lawyer
- Agree to pay your lawyer a percentage of any settlement or jury award they secure for you
- Trust the firm to build a strong case and pay for all expenses out of their own resources
This fee structure aligns your financial motivations with the law firm. The more money the law firm secures for you, the more money the law firm also receives—this is how a percentage split works. Therefore, every law firm that uses contingency fees has a strong financial motivation to win.
Peace of Mind and the Freedom to Focus on Your Health
Stress is a word commonly associated with truck accidents, insurance claims, and lawsuits. When you trust your case to a truck accident lawyer, you choose to say no to additional stress.
And why not? You are surely facing plenty of stress already due to your injuries, disruptions in your professional life, and other accident-related headaches.
If you take on any more stress by handling your claim or lawsuit, you may jeopardize your health and recovery.
The Guidance of an Experienced Legal Professional
Sound advice is priceless. Therefore, having an attorney drawing their advice from years (or even decades) of experience is priceless. An attorney will avoid common mistakes truck accident victims make, and they’ll develop a strategy for pursuing the entire financial recovery you deserve.
If you have questions or concerns about your claim or lawsuit, contact your lawyer for an immediate answer.
Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
Two of the most important steps to take after a truck accident are:
- Receiving a comprehensive medical exam and keeping all paperwork and imaging related to your medical care
- Hiring a lawyer to begin seeking your financial recovery immediately
If you take these steps, you may position yourself to recover from injuries and receive the compensation you deserve.
Damages Truck Accident Victims Suffer
Truck accidents are notoriously dangerous due largely to the weight difference between large trucks and smaller vehicles.
You may have damages with steep financial and non-financial costs, including:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Counseling or psychological and emotional trauma
- Vehicle repairs
- Temporary transportation
- Lost earnings
- Diminished earning power
Your lawyer will seek compensation for these and any other damages you suffered from your truck accident.
What Is a Truck Accident Case Worth?
Each case has a different value. Factors that can increase the cost of a truck accident case include:
- Serious injuries, including disabilities
- Severe psychological or emotional conditions, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Lengthy injury-related absences from work
- Expensive medical procedures such as surgery
An attorney will calculate exactly how much money you deserve. Your lawyer will secure a financial recovery for the cost of your damages.
Do Not Hesitate to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer
Your attorney may face a non-negotiable deadline for filing your truck accident case, so don’t wait to research personal injury attorney and hire the firm most suited to lead your case.