Responsible Parties

Who is Responsible for a Truck Accident

If you are injured in a truck accident, it is important to determine the parties responsible for the crash so you can recover full compensation under the law. Commercial trucking companies and their drivers must abide by special rules and regulations designed to protect the motoring public. Commercial drivers must undergo special training, and commercial operators must adhere to strict guidelines regarding truck maintenance and safety, licensing, insurance, and driver management. Likewise, brokers, shippers, and loaders have special guidelines they must follow. When someone fails to adhere to the special rules that govern the trucking industry, serious accidents occur, resulting in injuries and death to innocent motorists.

If you have been seriously injured in a truck accident and want to recover compensation for your injuries, it is important to have a truck accident attorney that understands how to identify the parties involved, the rules they must abide by, and the evidence needed to hold them accountable for your harm.

Contact us online or call us at (281) 801-5617 to learn how our truck accident attorneys can help you recover compensation for your injuries. 

Proving Fault in a Truck Accident Lawsuit

Negligence is arguably the most common cause of action in a personal injury lawsuit. The law of negligence deals with situations where someone is harmed by another person or entity’s actions that fall below a certain standard of care. While this body of law varies from state to state, the general idea is that we all have a duty to avoid actions that harm others.

For instance, motorists must obey the law and take reasonable steps to avoid collisions.

The law of negligence is important because when you are harmed by another person or entity’s negligence, you have a right to recover compensation for the harm caused by their actions. However, you cannot simply accuse someone of negligence; the law has set forth specific requirements that must be established before a wrongdoer is held responsible for someone else’s injuries.

  • The liable party had a duty to act reasonably
  • The liable party failed to act reasonably
  • The liable party’s unreasonable acts caused the harm complained of

Whether a trucker’s actions are negligent depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. There are obvious situations of negligence that can cause a truck accident, such as rear-ending a vehicle, and more complicated situations of negligence, such as failing to load or secure cargo or failing to maintain the truck. In other situations, a truck accident may be caused by a factor completely outside a truck driver’s control.  Whatever the case, trained truck accident attorneys can identify the root cause of a crash and determine who is responsible.

Identifying the Responsible Party in a Truck Accident Case

A host of issues can arise when proving negligence in a semi-truck accident. This has little to do with your injuries and everything to do with the parties involved.

When two standard motorists are involved in a crash, one driver may accept responsibility and admit that their actions were negligent. Truck accident cases are rarely that simple. This is because 18-wheeler cases involve many different parties, the injuries are usually more serious, and there is typically much more money at stake. When dealing with a truck accident, a skilled truck accident attorney will consider the actions of:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company responsible for the driver and truck
  • Repair or maintenance providers that recently serviced the truck
  • The loading and shipping company
  • The manufacturer of the truck

In a lawsuit, all wrongdoers have the same goal—limit liability by blaming someone else. As you can imagine, the more entities involved, the more difficulties arise and must be dealt with before receiving fair compensation. Even when you did not cause the accident, recovering compensation may be difficult.

It is generally wise to have an experienced 18-wheeler accident attorney on your side to ensure your rights are adequately protected. A trained and experienced lawyer understands how to identify the parties responsible for an 18-wheeler crash and the information needed to prove their negligence.

Gathering Evidence to Prove Liability

Every day, motorists share the road with commercial truckers, expecting the professional behind the wheel to be a qualified and safe driver. Unfortunately, sometimes, truckers fall far short of these expectations, and you may be involved in an 18-wheeler accident. When this happens, determining liability can be difficult. As mentioned above, there are usually multiple parties involved in a single 18-wheeler crash, and no party wants to accept liability.

To determine who is responsible for your injuries, a detailed investigation of the accident must be conducted. At the Ammons Law Firm, our trained truck accident lawyers conduct extensive investigations for our clients to ensure all parties responsible are appropriately identified and prosecuted. This investigation includes:

  • Recovering dashcam footage
  • Interviewing the truck driver and employer
  • Obtaining accident and incident reports from local and federal authorities
  • Obtaining surveillance footage within the accident vicinity
  • Interviewing first-hand witnesses
  • Reconstructing the accident sequence
  • Inspecting the truck
  • Obtaining records from the truck driver and employer, including data from the truck’s electronic data recorder; the truck driver’s logs; cargo manifest records and bills of lading; truck, trailer, and load inspection records; truck and trailer maintenance records; the truck driver’s driving record, both the official state driving record and prior incident reports from the employer

Information is power in truck accident cases because it provides a picture of what happened before the accident. While some truck accidents are simply driver errors, many involve negligent shippers, brokers, and corporations that are not discovered until all relevant information is gathered and analyzed.

Our truck accident lawyers have extensive experience identifying all responsible parties and prosecuting truck accident claims. Contact us online to learn how we can help you without any upfront fees or expenses. 

Truck Accidents Caused by a Truck Driver’s Negligence

To hold a truck driver responsible for your crash, it must be shown the driver’s action fell below those of a reasonably prudent trucker in the same situation. 

Driver error is the most common cause of truck accidents. According to research conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, nearly 87% of truck accidents, where fault is attributable to the truck driver, are caused by driver error. Trucking is a dangerous business, and truckers must maintain high levels of professionalism to keep themselves and fellow motorists safe. When a truck driver fails to follow the basic rules of the road or engages in illegal activity, serious accidents occur. This is why a commercial driver’s license is required and why commercial operators are subject to strict rules and regulations.

Holding a truck driver liable for an accident requires knowledge of the special rules and regulations truckers are subject to. Many of these rules are subjective and can be interpreted in different ways. For instance, truck drivers must exercise extreme caution, which depends on the facts and circumstances unique to your specific situation. On the other hand, there are many times when the driver’s actions are clearly negligent—rear-end collisions, failing to control speed, etc.

Some common causes of truck accidents include:

The first and most obvious place to look for liability following a truck accident is the driver of the truck. However, identifying the truck driver’s negligent behavior is not the end of the inquiry, and experienced truck accident lawyers understand that driver error is often a symptom of poor company culture and training.

Truck Accidents Caused by a Trucking Company’s Negligence

A trucking company is generally responsible for its driver’s actions but may be held directly responsible for its own negligent behavior. 

Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, trucking companies are generally responsible for the actions of their drivers. However, sometimes, a trucking company may be directly responsible for a truck crash.

Trucking companies can be held directly liable for an accident when corporate action contributed to the crash. For instance, a trucking company may be held directly liable for an accident when it knowingly hires unqualified drivers, fails to take reasonable steps to employ safe drivers, or allows or encourages drivers to violate known safety principles. Trucking companies must hire, train, and supervise their employees safely.

  • A trucking company puts a truck on the road without conducting routine maintenance and repair, and the truck breaks down in route and causes a serious collision.
  • A trucking company forces a driver to travel past legal driving limits to make a deadline or avoid a financial penalty, and the driver falls asleep and causes an accident.
  • A trucking company hires a reckless driver without conducting background checks or investigating the driver’s history.

Holding the trucking company directly responsible requires a detailed investigation of the company’s maintenance and repair records, safety training, hiring practices, past violations, and corporate governance. This information must be gathered by trained lawyers that understand what information is needed and how to obtain it.

Truck Accidents Caused by Negligent Repair and Maintenance

Maintenance and repair companies can be held directly responsible for truck accidents when they are negligent in the repair or maintenance of the 18-wheeler. 

18-wheelers are subject to routine maintenance and repair schedules to prevent unnecessary risks caused by mechanical failures. Given the serious risk posed by a mechanical failure on a public roadway, many trucking companies contract with third-party repair and service companies to perform federally mandated maintenance and repair. Unfortunately, like all industries, some companies may fail to perform their job correctly, and preventable accidents occur. When a contracted repair or service company fails to do its job correctly, it can be held liable for harm caused by its negligence.

  • Engine oil and filter
  • Transmission fluid
  • Drive shafts and CV joints
  • Drive belts and hoses
  • Fuel system
  • Cooling system
  • Engine mounts
  • Tires
  • Wheels and rims
  • Exhaust
  • Electrical components
  • Exterior lights
  • Braking system
  • Steering system
  • Suspension system
  • Seat belts

If you have been injured in an 18-wheeler crash, it is important that you have the accident investigated by trained attorneys to make sure all responsible parties are identified and held accountable for their actions. Actions of service companies are usually not immediately apparent at the scene of the accident and are only uncovered by a detailed investigation carried out by trained truck accident lawyers.

Truck Accidents Caused by a Manufacturer’s Defective Product

Manufacturing companies are strictly liable for all harm caused by a defective product. 

Some 18-wheeler accidents are outside the control of the safest drivers and companies. Every day defective products fail to perform as designed and cause serious, often catastrophic, accidents. When a defective product causes an accident, the manufacturer is strictly liable for all harm caused by the product.

Identifying a defective product and competently handling a product defect case takes years of experience and the assistance of trained experts who understand the inner workings of complicated manufacturing and technological processes. Product liability cases are some of the most important cases brought under our legal system because they force change at the manufacturing level, increasing safety for all consumers across the nation.

At The Ammons Law Firm, we have handled complicated product defect claims for over three decades. We have the experience, resources, and relationships to hold manufacturers responsible for their defective products.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney at The Ammons Law Firm

Selecting a law firm to represent you after a severe truck accident is vital to your ultimate recovery and must be made with great care. As with any industry, law firms have different skills and abilities. While some law firms can handle a negligence claim against a truck driver, few can identify and prosecute lawsuits against service companies and product manufacturers.

At The Ammons Law Firm, you can have confidence that your claim will be handled with the highest level of professionalism and care available. Our firm has successfully recovered over $1 billion in compensation for injured clients and is committed to helping you obtain full compensation under the law.

Our truck accident lawyers have the experience, training, and resources to get you full compensation for your injuries. Contact us online or by phone to learn how we can help you.

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