Who Is Liable After A Truck Accident?Last updated on: November 4, 2022
With the increased amount of products being shipped, it’s no surprise trucking accidents rose by a significant margin in 2021. Following an accident with a semi-truck can be devastating to your financial and medical life, leaving you wondering where and who can help.
If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident with a semi-truck, contact Zinda Law Group today to begin the process of recouping your compensation. You won’t have to pay unless you win.
Understanding Who Is Liable For Damages In A Trucking Accident
After a truck wreck, naturally you’ll be wondering who will be liable for the damages caused to your vehicle and person. Oftentimes this can be a confusing situation when considering the truck driver might be covered by their driving company’s insurance or their own.
Regardless of fault, you should first make sure you’ve assessed the situation and made sure you or someone else is not in urgent need of an ambulance. Following this, make sure you’ve secured all information of the driver and the company they drive for.
Determining Fault After A Truck Accident
Since semi-truck accidents can be quite dangerous and damaging, trucking companies are required to adhere to strict standards and practices that best ensure their drivers are prepared and ready to take on the road.
If you’re suspicious that the driver in question had not been following protocol, make sure to have an officer of the law make a detailed report of the accident.
There can be several parties at fault in a truck accident
When it comes to determining fault, you’ll want to focus on who was acting negligently. In some cases, this is obvious. While others require an extensive investigation into each facet of the accident.
Passenger Vehicle Drivers
It’s often we don’t know what happened until it happens. Meaning, you very well could be driving negligently and caused the truck driver to swerve or brake leading to an accident. In this case, the driver of the vehicle that caused an unsafe act could be considered as acting negligently.
On the other hand, if you’re a truck driver who believes you couldn’t have done anything to prevent the accident you will also be required to show evidence of such an instance. This will be assessed through investigation which means it’s important to note all road defects, environmental factors, and other issues that might have caused the wreck that you had no control over.
As a truck driver, it is possible that you could be held liable for any injuries sustained to another party. If it’s determined that you were either under the influence of drugs or alcohol then as the truck driver who caused the injury you will have to compensate the injured party.
If it’s determined that the driver was acting negligent in any way that’s outside of their scope of employment, a claim against the driver of the 18-wheeler may be appropriate.
Both of those determinations will be evaluated through investigation and will require expert testimony should the case be complicated. In this case it’s always best to have an attorney by your side to help you understand the process and your chances of winning.
Shipping companies or cargo loaders
A truck driver is not the only person who has hands on the cargo. If it’s determined that an accident was caused by faulty loading or improper handling of cargo then the case will find its way to the responsible party.
This can also result in a solo accident which would require the same sort of investigation, usually internal. But if you’re a driver that believes your truck was improperly managed by the company, you may have a case against the company as it is their duty to provide you with a safe and secure mode of transportation.
Like noted above, a trucking company is responsible for maintaining and updating your truck on a scheduled basis. Should something go wrong with the vehicle and cause an accident, the company handling the truck is responsible for cleaning up the mess.
Trucking companies will have strict adherence to safety compliance when driving, so it’s always best to double check and take note of all areas of importance on your vehicle.
Vehicle parts manufacturers
If it’s determined that the vehicle itself had been improperly manufactured then the manufacturer may also be held responsible for the accident. Though this type of claim will be harder to confirm with evidence in court, it’s best to have a licensed attorney look into this level of claim.
Differences between truck accidents and car crashes
More than the physical differences are the technical aspects of these different crashes that make them different.
Minimum liability requirements for truck drivers
Commercial truck drivers are generally required to carry up to $1 million in liability coverage. Trucking companies will also have their own liability coverage for these drivers.
It’s also up to what type of cargo they are carrying that determines their rate of coverage, though generally they’ll all have at least $750,000 in injury liability.
Recoverable damages for a trucking accident
In an accident of this scale it isn’t unlikely to have both economic and non-economic damages you’re seeking compensation for.
Economic damages can be anything from vehicle repair to medical bills while non-economic damages will be things like:
- Emotional distress
- Physical pain and suffering
- Permanent disabilities and impairments
- Loss of life
- Diminished quality of life
For these damages to be considered you’ll be best off with a licensed attorney who can argue these claims for you in the best and most concrete way possible.
Proving Negligence in a Trucking Accident Claim
While proving negligence can be easy if the driver was visibly drunk or camera footage is available, you’ll need a specialized attorney to determine more complicated situations.
Like the list of potentially liable party’s above, it’s not always easy to determine who was at fault in an accident and takes attorneys weeks or even months to find the proper specialist that can provide concrete evidence of negligence.
Gathering evidence to determine liability
Before you contact an attorney make sure you’ve taken the following steps to assess your situation.
- Contact an ambulance should someone need it.
- Gather an accident report from a police officer.
- Get the driver’s information along with their company’s information.
- Take pictures of the road, the cars, and any other vital piece of information.
- Secure a witness if possible.
Following these steps will ensure a lawyer can help you find the compensation you deserve.
A truck accident lawyer can help build your case
With regular accidents it might not always be necessary to hire an attorney. However, in semi-truck accidents the stakes can be higher because the accident might be more severe. Going through the grueling process of seeking compensation from a stingy insurance company could take weeks and months only to end up with an unfair settlement.
Contact the Zinda Law Group for experienced attorneys that can walk you through the steps and provide you with a timeline of how things will go, taking the stress off you allowing you to rest.
At Zinda Law Group, our attorneys are ready to help guide you through the complicated process of filing a claim against a semi-truck driver. Our experienced team offers a no win no fee guarantee along with free consultation.
Call 800-863-5312 for your free consultation today.