Who is Typically Involved in a Truck Accident?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Sean A. Koch with Law Office of Bruce A. Ralston.
Truck accident cases can be particularly complex to litigate due to the variety of parties involved. Unlike car accident cases which generally involve two drivers and their respective insurance providers, truck accidents often involve the driver, the trucking company, insurance providers, manufacturers, mechanics, and more. Additionally, truck accidents tend to be more severe than car accidents due to the immense difference in the size and weight of the vehicles. To learn more about who might be liable for a truck accident, or for help filing a claim, reach out to a truck accident attorney.
There are a variety of parties which might be involved in a truck accident case, including but not necessarily limited to the following:
- The truck driver: In many cases, the truck driver is considered liable for an accident. Truck drivers are required to follow standard traffic rules in addition to a strict set of safety guidelines specific to semi-trucks whenever they are on the road. These industry safety regulations are set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and include directions such as how long a truck driver can travel before stopping to take a break, as well as what kind of information must be recorded along the ride. While most truck drivers are skilled and responsible individuals, just like standard vehicle drivers they are subject to human error.
- The trucking company: Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for trucking companies to pressure their drivers to break the rules in the interest of profit. As a general rule, if a truck isn’t moving it isn’t making money. This is often the motivation for trucking companies to pressure their drivers to violate hours of service rules, foregoing mandatory rest breaks, violating speed limits, and leaving highly fatigued drivers to operate massive 18-wheelers with little support.
- The insurance company: It is important to note that trucking companies typically have their own insurance and legal teams on standby. These parties will often be the first to the scene of the accident after an 18-wheeler collision. The insurance company is supposed to conduct an investigation into the cause of the accident, but in many cases does not have the best interest of the accident victim at heart. Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for these teams to alter important evidence at the scene of the accident to protect their client.
- The manufacturer: Like any vehicle, large trucks come from a variety of manufacturers. Just as cars are subject to the dangers of auto defects, tractor-trailers are subject to the dangers of similar defects in the manufacturing process. If the manufacturer allowed a defective truck or part to go out on the road, and an accident occurs as the result, the manufacturer may be considered liable for the accident.
- The mechanic: Semi-trucks are required to undergo standard, routine maintenance, and to be fixed immediately whenever there is a problem. However, if a mechanic makes a mistake or fails to adequately repair the truck, and an accident occurs, the mechanic may be considered liable. However, it is also important to note that truck drivers are required to examine their own truck for any potential mechanical problems before going out on the road.
It is important to seek out an experienced truck accident attorney.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident with a large truck, it is important to seek help from an experienced truck accident attorney. Certain kinds of evidence exist at the scene of a truck accident that is not present in standard vehicle accidents. However, it takes an expert to obtain that evidence before it can be altered, lost, or destroyed. A successful truck accident case also takes the help of experts in the field who can recreate the scene of the accident and reliably predict how and why the accident occurred.
The good news is that the cost of hiring an experienced truck accident attorney is no different than hiring any other kind of personal injury lawyer. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations to potential clients and work on a contingency fee basis; this means they only get paid if they win the case, and if not, the client owes them nothing. This payment structure is designed to allow injured parties to focus on healing and recovery rather than worrying about finances.
To learn more about your options for physical and financial recovery after an accident with a large truck, reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as possible.