Although there might be more car accidents than truck accidents, the sheer size and weight of trucks make them more likely to cause catastrophic and deadly crashes. Suppose you have been in an accident that involved a truck. In that case, you may have sustained extensive injuries, and your vehicle might be completely destroyed. As you consider bringing a claim against the driver who injured you, you may be wondering if any other parties may also be found liable through their negligence. Read on to find out more about how fault in a truck accident may be established.
Who is at fault in a truck accident?
Three crucial pieces of evidence may shed light on who might be at fault for a truck accident. These are:
When you find yourself involved in an accident, the first rule that you should remember is never to leave the scene of the accident unless you are severely injured and need to be transported to the nearest emergency room. At the scene, dial 911 and wait for the police to arrive. When they finish their report, you should request a copy. You may find information on whether there was any negligence involved in the accident and by whom. You may discover that they have determined that the truck driver was at fault for speeding, for driving while fatigued, or for other violations.
Statements provided by witnesses may also shed light on what happened. This is invaluable because it comes from someone who was not involved in the accident and has nothing to gain by embellishing the facts. Witnesses may reveal that they saw the driver fail to obey a traffic sign, speed, or was distracted as they crashed into your vehicle. Their statement could serve to validate your claim.
You should take pictures of the scene that include skid marks, the damage to the vehicles, and their positions on the road. Also, take pictures of anything else that you think may have contributed to the crash, such as the truck’s cargo, an oil spill, or anything else. You may find that nearby security cameras were able to capture the accident. This could prove to be crucial in presenting an accurate picture of how the accident took place.
Additional Parties May Also Be at Fault
In accidents involving trucks, it may not be enough to show that the driver was at fault for the accident. There might be other parties who also bear some of the responsibility. Besides truck drivers who are tired or speeding, other parties that can also carry some of the blame may include:
- The trucking company
- The company that performs maintenance on the truck
- The manufacturer of the truck
- The company that loaded the truck
- The shipping company
- Other drivers
In general, t the company that owns the truck is considered responsible for all accidents involving their vehicles. It is not easy for them to try and shift the blame to the driver or other parties. Also, when laws that mandate how much weight the truck should carry, how long the driver can work consecutively, the procedure for transporting toxic materials are broken, it can prove there was negligence, thus determining liability.
The FMCSA has established rules and regulations that truck drivers must follow. They will likely be found liable for the collision if they violate those rules. Some of those rules are:
- Not drinking while driving
- Not using drugs while driving
- Not driving beyond the allowed driving time
- Following all sleep requirements
- Taking all mandated breaks
- Keeping accurate and detailed logbooks
- Carrying a valid commercial driver’s license
- Obeying all traffic signs and rules of the road
Suing the Driver or The Trucking Company
Although it may seem obvious when to file a claim against the truck driver or the trucking company, in most cases, it is not that straightforward. When a truck is involved in an accident, you must prove which entity or entities are at fault, and there may be more than one.
In many cases, the trucking company does not own the trucks but leases them from someone else, or they hire drivers as independent contractors. In general, trucking companies are covered by insurance policies that protect them from liability and lawsuits.
This fact may make you decide to bring a claim against a company rather than a single person but if this is the way you want to proceed you should be prepared for a fierce battle. The trucking company and their insurance company have considerable resources they will not hesitate to use to fight any lawsuits or claims against them.
Get Legal Help for Your Truck Accident Injuries
As you can see, bringing a claim against a trucking company is something you should not attempt to tackle on your own. Both the company and their insurers know the law and have the resources and professionals ready to defend them. Working with a NJ truck accident attorney can level the playing field.
Your attorney will be prepared to conduct a thorough investigation into the truck accident and will gather evidence to build a strong case on your behalf. After gathering the facts, your truck accident lawyer will be able to get a clearer picture of where the fault lies and suggest the best course of action. They will help you recover the compensation you need to cover your medical expenses and the personal property that you might have lost in the accident.