If you were hurt in a truck accident, you’re not alone. According to information from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were roughly 114,000 truck crashes nationwide where someone was injured in one recent year. There were also nearly 4,500 accidents where someone died.
You might wonder, Who can I hold responsible if a commercial truck hit me? Most people may think the truck driver is the only one to blame. However, that’s not necessarily the case. While truck drivers often hold blame in accidents, trucking companies, vehicle and parts manufacturers, maintenance workers, cargo loaders, and other parties are often partially liable as well.
With all this in mind, the truck accident lawyers at Mann Wyatt Tanksley are here to share some information on the various parties who could be held responsible for a crash. We can help you with your questions about liability for a truck accident.
Gathering Evidence: The First Step in Determining Who Is Liable for a Commercial Truck Accident
There must be evidence to support your claim before you can hold anyone liable for a commercial truck accident. It’s crucial to contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. They know what evidence to look for and can help you find what you need. Some evidence commonly used in truck accident cases includes the following:
- Police accident reports
- Information from a truck’s electronic data recorder
- The truck driver’s personal logs
- Records from the truck driver’s employer
- The truck’s maintenance records
- Photos and other evidence from the scene of the accident
- Eyewitness accounts
- Testimony from forensic accident investigators or other expert witnesses
Evaluating the Options: Who Can You File Your Claim Against?
There are several parties who could potentially be liable for a truck accident, such as the following:
- The truck driver — If the truck driver was distracted, impaired by drugs or alcohol, fatigued, speeding, driving recklessly, or otherwise negligent, they can be held liable for a crash.
- The trucking company — Trucking companies sometimes hire drivers without proper experience or with poor safety records. This can be a form of negligence and makes an accident more likely.
- Vehicle or parts manufacturers — The companies that make large trucks and parts do not always take enough care to prevent defects. If a defective part contributed to an accident, the company that made the part can be held liable.
- Maintenance personnel — Trucks are supposed to undergo regular maintenance to minimize the chance of mechanical failure. If this maintenance is not done or is done poorly, an accident might occur and maintenance workers can be responsible.
- Cargo loaders — A truck’s cargo needs to be properly balanced and secured to keep the truck stable and minimize the chance of a rollover accident. If workers do not properly balance or secure a truck’s load, they may be negligent.
Analyzing All Angles: Commercial Truck Accident Responsibility Can Be Shared Among Multiple Parties
To maximize your compensation after a trucking accident, you must identify and file claims against all the liable parties. This may mean you need to file multiple claims to collect full compensation. This can be a challenge without help from an experienced truck accident lawyer. We recommend you speak to an attorney as soon as possible after the crash to help identify who is at fault.