One of the main concerns in a trucking accident is trying to determine exactly where liability or fault lies whenever a victim has suffered injuries or property loss as a result of the accident. In such situations, it is very important to be sure to hold the correct party responsible for the damages and recover the necessary or adequate compensatory damages from them.
Available reports, trends and statistics give us a glimpse into just how large the trucking industry really is. That very same statistic shows us the kind of impacts that accidents in the industry can have both on those directly and indirectly affiliated with it.
For instance, there were 33.8 million trucks that have reportedly been registered and were being used for various businesses all across the United States in 2015. This is excluding government and farm businesses.
With that many trucks crisscrossing the roads all over the United States each and every single day, as well the many human, mechanical and other factors involved it is not so difficult to see how injury and fatalities, and moreso very serious ones, will be a part and parcel of the industry.
It is for this exact same reason that truck accident lawyers and law firms are an equally important part of the equation in ensuring that those who are unfortunate enough to be involved in or injured by a truck accident, or are otherwise affected by it, get the necessary help and support in receiving the compensation and other kinds of support they need to see them through the trying times.
Therefore, one of the most important things that a victim of a truck accident or their family should do, is to speak to an auto accident lawyer to see if they potentially have a claim given the specifics of the accident and injury suffered.
Determining the Potential Responsible Party In the Accident:
As mentioned above, there are usually several parties involved in a truck accident and the resulting claim from a personal injury, if any. It may involve the manufacturer of the truck if it can be proven that there was some defect or other issues with the truck, thereby leading to or causing the accident. Alternatively, it may be that the company or agency that hired the trucker may not have properly vetted, trained or verified the credentials of the truck driver. In such situations, you can be sure that the company or employer will be seen to be partly responsible for the accident and may be joined in a suit if there is one. There might also be a whole host of other factors or third parties that might directly or indirectly be implicated as a causating factor in the accident and injury suffered by the victims.
Liability of the Truck Driver:
The driver of the truck that has been involved in an accident in which someone was injured or killed will almost always bear some responsibility. Such as the driver may have violated a rule of the road, been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or may have been negligent in the proper maintenance of the truck.
Apart from these, other factors that may also contribute to such an accident in which the drive is directly responsible may include driving for very long hours in a single trip without adequate rest, drowsy or distracted driving, driving at night, lack of sleep, or poor health conditions. In most of these situations, the truck driver can be held responsible for a resulting personal injury and property damage.
Liability on the Trucking Company:
The agency or company that hires a trucker company, most often, is held responsible for the accident. But unless an expert or attorney exposes certain issues, it becomes difficult to prove that the company was responsible for the accident. These matters can include an incomplete inspection, the company trying to save money on safety measures, setting unrealistic expectations that push the driver to work further than he should do.
In many cases, the trucking company, as well as the manufacturer, share responsibility in an accident because of the faulty equipment used in trucks. Such faults can be discovered by an expert witness or lawyer during an investigation after the automotive accident.
Liability of the Truck Owner:
When the trucking company does not own the truck but provides the truck for the trucker, the owner may be held liable for an accident. The owner holds responsibility in terms of maintaining and inspecting the vehicle, checking the tires, and ensuring that the engine is in good working condition. The truck owner must check and maintain the parts including brakes, lubricants, electronic system and tires. There are federal regulations that govern the maintenance of trucks and whenever a truck owner is found to not be in compliance with any of these guidelines, they may be held liable for the damages or injuries caused in a trucking accident.
Liability of the Cargo Loaders and Manufacturers:
As has been implied in this article, there are usually various parties that are involved in and can be held liable after a trucking accident. The truck cargo loader is one of such parties. In situations where the payload of the truck has not been properly inspected, loaded or securely fastened onto the truck, the loader can potentially be held jointly liable for any resulting accident and injury. This is especially true in situations where this cargo is loaded by a different party or entity from the driver or company that owns the truck.
Laws Pertaining to Truck Accidents:
The truck industry is governed by federal laws and regulations. These laws determine the standards that owners, trucking companies or drivers must meet. Most of these laws can be found in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Departments that deal with these accidents include the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Moreover, each state has its own department of transportation that deals with trucking accidents with its own set of rules and regulations.
Legal Assistance in Determining Liability:
A skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer is an absolute necessity in helping a victim of a truck accident, and their family, get the help and assistance they will need to see them through the trying times that they will face in the months and years after the accident.