Truck accidents occur for various reasons, with negligence being common in most of them. This makes you, the victim, eligible for compensation.
To maximize your reimbursement for losses and injuries suffered in a truck crash, you must determine who’s liable. Determining liability in a truck accident lawsuit is not easy because several parties might be responsible for the damages.
Most of these parties are often partially at fault, even when they weren’t present during the crash. Based on the circumstances of the accident, others could be fully liable. This post helps you identify who can sue in a truck accident lawsuit.
When determining who to sue in a truck crash, the truck driver is usually the prime suspect and the first to be scrutinized. For the driver to be held responsible, an experienced attorney, such as a Truck Accident Lawyer in Duluth, GA, must prove that their negligence or actions led to the accident and the subsequent damages. The driver may be liable due to:
- Driving under the influence
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted driving
- Not stopping at stop signs or red lights
- Reckless driving
- Over speeding
- Violating the FMCSA’s hours of service regulations
In some instances, the driver can share liability with other parties.
2. The trucking company
A trucking company may be potentially responsible if the actions of their employees contributed to the crash. It’s their responsibility to recruit qualified, competent drivers. Trucking companies can be held accountable for hiring drivers who don’t meet the required threshold.
The company may also be liable if it doesn’t offer proper driver safety training. Violating hours of service rules may result in driver fatigue, raising accident risk. The driver’s employer may be held responsible for deliberately allowing or encouraging drivers to break the hours of service rules.
A trucking company is liable for ascertaining that their vehicles undergo proper maintenance and regular inspection. Failure to do so may make them liable for the resulting damages. If the company fails to ascertain that cargo is correctly loaded and secured, it can be sued in a truck accident lawsuit.
3. The manufacturers
Auto part and truck manufacturers may also be found responsible for truck crashes resulting from mechanical failures occasioned by manufacturing or design defects. A truck is viewed as defective when it poses an unreasonable harm threat to the public.
Truck defects are grouped into the following classes:
These arise due to negligence in the manufacturing procedure. For instance, faulty rubber can lead to a tire deformity, resulting in the tire’s tread separating.
They happen when a truck design or a portion of the truck is dangerous. They occur before trucks or truck parts are made. For instance, a truck design that’s too high implies a higher tipping-over risk, which can cause a catastrophic accident.
They occur when the truck manufacturer knows that there are risks related to the product but doesn’t warn the consumer about it. For instance, a commercial truck utilizes air brakes as they generate and emit high forces over extended distances.
Unlike hydraulic brakes, air brakes aren’t as easy to use. Failure of the manufacturer to include an operating guide in the manual might be deemed negligence, leaving them responsible for the accident
To get compensation for a defective auto truck, you should prove that one or more of these defects caused the accident you were involved in. Common defects that a truck manufacturer may be held liable for include:
- Steering assembly defects
- Brake defects
- Transmission defects
- An imbalanced center of gravity that raises the risk of rollover or jackknife truck accidents
- Third-party part manufacturers that supply assembly parts to truck manufacturers may be sued for providing defective parts.
4. Maintenance service provider
While ensuring proper truck maintenance is a trucking company’s responsibility, they might share the blame for an accident with the maintenance company. However, if the trucking company kept up with scheduled maintenance, they may not be accountable for maintenance-related mechanical failures. The service provider may be found solely liable if the truck accident occurred due to negligent repairs or service.
5. The cargo loading company
Trucking sector regulations govern weight restrictions and correct truck loading/ securing. Failure to abide by these laws may result in cargo falling off the truck and onto the road.
If falling cargo directly strikes another vehicle or its landing on the road creates an unanticipated hazard, a crash may happen. The loading company may be held responsible if they:
- Overloaded the truck
- Left cargo unsecured, exposed, or loose
- Didn’t maintain sufficient records
- Allowed unqualified parties to load the truck
Government entities may be held liable for a truck accident under specific conditions, including:
Dangerous road circumstances
If a truck accident is due to a hazardous highway/public road condition, like potholes and uneven pavements, and the government entity should have known or knew about this condition, the entity might be held responsible for any damages or losses resulting from this negligence.
Government entities are liable for ensuring safe construction zone conditions.
If the truck accident occurred due to unsafe conditions, like inadequate barriers or signage, the responsible government agency could be held liable for the accident and the resulting damages.
Not maintaining traffic signals
Government entities may be responsible for truck accidents resulting from poorly maintained or malfunctioning traffic signs or signals
If a negligent/ recklessly conducted police pursuit is the reason for the truck accident, the police department that performed the pursuit could be held liable for paying compensation for the accident-related damages and injuries.
Negligently designed roads
At times, roads may be created without considering large trucks. For instance, there may be too low overpasses, excessively acute on-and-off ramps, or too narrow lanes.
A temporary design flaw may also be the reason for the crash. If your accident’s proximate cause was a design flaw, you may have a legal right to sue the responsible government agency for the truck accident
Passenger vehicle drivers
Small passenger vehicles, such as light trucks and cars, might be the reason the truck accident occurred. Cars indirectly or directly involved in the truck accident may be held responsible.
For instance, if a vehicle driver takes an illegal turn and ends up colliding with a truck, they’re directly involved as the at-fault driver.
Alternatively, a car driver may cut off a truck driver, causing them to lose control and get into a crash. Such a driver indirectly causes the accident and may be held liable.
Determining liability in truck crashes is complex due to the involvement of multiple parties. Familiarize yourself with the parties you can in a truck accident lawsuit to ensure maximum compensation.
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