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Understanding Liability in Trucking Accidents: Who Is Responsible?

It’s estimated that each year there are nearly 6,000 fatal accidents involving trucks or buses. Compared to most types of motor vehicle accidents, truck crashes can be particularly devastating.

The large nature of the vehicles means that the injuries associated with the crashes tend to be a lot more serious. Unfortunately, assigning responsibility for these accidents can be easier said than done.

That’s because establishing liability in trucking accidents is often a gray area. Is it the responsibility of the driver? Or the trucking company?

If you want to learn more about liability in these types of cases, you’re in the right place. This guide will give you a quick breakdown of establishing negligence in these types of accidents.

In Most Cases Who Is Responsible for Trucking Accidents?

Most of the time, the person responsible for a trucking accident is the person driving the truck. This isn’t always the case. Sometimes it might be the other driver’s dangerous behavior that caused the accident.

However, it’s typically the most simple explanation. So what behavior might cause these types of accidents? The most common explanation is speeding. Even though many drivers do it, speeding is incredibly dangerous when driving.

This is especially true when trucks are involved. Statistics show that nearly one out of three traffic fatalities are caused by speeding.

As such, if a trucker is doing it the chances of a serious crash increase exponentially. Distracted driving is another common form of negligence that truckers will sometimes engage in. Some truckers will eat while driving to save time.

Or they might be texting, changing the radio station, or talking to other truckers. Sometimes they might just be driving when they’re exhausted. A trucker’s full attention needs to be on the road so this is an unacceptable form of negligence.

Lastly, there’s driving under the influence. This might involve alcohol. However, it’s more common for truckers to drive while high on amphetamines or cocaine to increase their energy.

Regardless, any form of influence can drastically change the way they drive. If the 18-wheeler accident was caused by any of these reasons, then it’s the trucker who’s responsible.

Understanding Who Else Can Be Liable

The problem with truck accidents is that there are often multiple parties connected to it. This simply isn’t the case with regular auto accidents.

You don’t need to consider things like the other driver’s employer or who loaded their vehicle in other accidents. If the driver isn’t responsible for the accident, then you need to consider some of these other potential liability options.

Trucking Companies

Trucking companies can sometimes be found responsible for accidents based on vicarious negligence. In some cases, this will require them to be held responsible for the driver’s accident.

The best way to prove this is either through their hiring practices or their fleet maintenance. For example, if it’s found that a trucking company didn’t engage in proper background checks on the drivers they hire, they could be found negligent if the person has a criminal record.

Similarly, if they don’t regularly maintain their fleet vehicles, they’re creating unsafe conditions.

Truck Manufacturers

Sometimes problems with the vehicles that cause an accident might not be related to the trucking company, but rather the manufacturer. Maybe it’s a faulty brake or a steering wheel problem that resulted in a catastrophic accident.

However, this can require a lot of effort to prove. Not only do you need to find evidence of a defect, but you also need to prove that the defect is directly responsible for causing the accident.

Cargo Loaders

Sometimes the cause of an accident can be directly linked to cargo problems. If not loaded correctly in terms of distribution or weight, it has the potential to flip the truck or fall out.

If this causes an accident, then it can be the cargo loaders who are negligent.

The Victim Must Prove Negligence

Sadly, regardless of who is liable for the truck accident, it comes down to the victim to prove negligence. That means that you need to have evidence that the other party behaved irresponsibly which led to the accident occurring.

That’s why it’s vital to follow all the steps you would traditionally follow after a normal car wreck. This includes gathering evidence in the form of police reports, photos/videos of the crash, and witness statements.

It also involved the careful documentation of any injuries you may have sustained. Unfortunately, in some cases, you’ll need to be rushed off to the hospital to deal with injuries.

That means that you won’t personally be able to gather needed evidence. In these cases, you should reach out to a legal professional.

They can begin the process of gathering evidence for you. That way, you can prove negligence and get the compensation you need for your injuries.

How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You

As we mentioned above, trucking accidents can be a lot more confusing than usual car accidents. This is due to the number of people involved. As such, finding who’s liable requires careful investigation and legal expertise.

A truck accident lawyer can help you determine who was at fault for your specific accident. From there, they can negotiate with the insurance companies to get you the compensation you need.

If the insurance companies aren’t cooperating, they may suggest a personal injury lawsuit. In these cases, they’ll represent and negotiate on your behalf to try to get a favorable settlement.

Or, if push comes to shove, they’ll represent you in the court of law. Just make sure you choose an accident attorney that specializes specifically in trucking accidents. That way, they know the best strategies for your specific case.

Involved In a Trucking Accident? Contact the David Bell Law Firm

We hope this guide helped you learn more about establishing liability in trucking accidents. Here at David Bell Law Firm, we know how devastating these types of accidents can be.

Oftentimes you’re so busy recovering that you don’t have the time or energy to worry about a lawsuit. That’s why we take all the stress off your plate by handling the details of your case for you.

Our extensive experience ensures that you have the best chance of getting the compensation you need. So schedule your consultation now to get the help you need.

Contact Us

If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important that you contact us right away. Schedule your consultation with one of our truck and car accident attorneys to discuss your options moving forward. You may also call (706) 724-1882

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