Who is Involved in a Truck Accident?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Patrick DiBenedetto with Metier Law Firm.
Due to the size and weight of semi-trucks and 18-wheelers, when a truck accident occurs with a passenger vehicle, the injuries tend to be severe. Not only can the severity of the collision play into the complex nature of truck accident cases, but the sheer number of parties involved in a truck accident case can make the whole matter even more complicated. If you or a loved one were injured in an accident with a large truck, it’s important to reach out to a truck accident attorney to discuss your options for physical and financial recovery.
Parties involved in a truck accident case may include some or all of the following:
- Standard motor vehicle driver: Passenger vehicles are often involved in truck accidents, both as victims and sometimes even causing or contributing to the wreck. The general damages sustained in a tractor-trailer accident by drivers and passengers in standard vehicles tends to be severe, and may even result in fatalities. However, standard vehicle drivers can help increase their safety on the road by giving large trucks plenty of space and avoiding changing lanes quickly ahead or behind one of these larger vehicles. That said, when an accident occurs between a large truck and standard vehicle for which the standard vehicle was not at fault, multiple parties could be considered liable for their damages.
- Truck driver: The truck driver plays an important role in any accident. In some cases, failing to follow safety procedures and industry regulations could cause an accident. Other times, an accident may occur when there is a mechanical issue with the truck or another vehicle is driving recklessly in the vicinity. In any truck accident, the truck driver’s actions before, during, and after the collision will be under close examination to determine if the driver should be held liable for causing or contributing to the accident.
- Trucking company: Trucking companies in some cases have been known to pressure their drivers to cut safety corners in the interest of increased profits. As a general rule, if a truck is not moving it is not making money, so trucking companies may pressure their drivers to ignore hours of service regulations, drive longer than allowed, and even drive while dangerously fatigued. These companies are also required to hire drivers they genuinely believe have been properly trained and are able to drive safely. Trucking companies may be considered liable when a safety oversight on their part was directly linked to the accident in question.
- Mechanic: Like any vehicle, large trucks require maintenance. When a mechanic fails to properly service a truck in need of maintenance, and an accident occurs as a result, the mechanic may be considered liable, at least partially. This same rule goes for standard vehicles which are affected by a maintenance issue that was supposed to be serviced by a mechanic, but is more commonly applicable to semi-truck maintenance problems.
- Manufacturer: The manufacturer of any vehicle or vehicle parts, including those used by large trucks, may be considered liable when a defect in the design or manufacturing process of a specific compnenent led directly to the accident in question.
- Insurance companies: Insurance companies can be one of the trickiest parties to deal with after an accident between an 18-wheeler and passenger vehicle. It’s important to remember that insurance companies make money by accepting customer premiums and paying out as little as possible. In some cases, this may result in an insurance provider reducing or denying an otherwise valid claim. After any significant accident, especially one between a large truck and standard vehicle, it’s a good idea to let your attorneys handle all communications with the insurance companies involved.
Each of these parties has certain responsibilities when it comes to safety on the road. When any party fails to meet basic safety standards and an accident occurs, they may be considered fully or partially liable for any resulting damages. Insurance companies who deny or reduce valid claims may open themselves up to a separate injury claim referred to as an insurance bad faith claim. To learn more about who is involved in a truck accident, or for help filing a claim, reach out to a truck accident attorney as soon as possible.