Trucking accidents can result in serious injuries. In most truck accident cases, insurance companies usually dispute what or who had caused the accident. An experienced truck accident attorney will fight for your legal right to get the guilty party pay for the injuries.
If you have been involved in a truck accident, you should understand who exactly is liable in the case of a truck accident. In this article, you will learn how to identify who is responsible for this kind of accident.
Truck Accident Injury Cases: Who is Responsible?
Truck drivers are required to follow road rules similar to other vehicle drivers. If they don't follow the rules, they will be held responsible for injuries due to a truck accident. Although, most commercial truck drivers drive safely, some drive recklessly while being intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
The negligent driver, whose reckless disregard of road rules causes an accident, is responsible for injuries. However, the driver is not the only defendant in truck accident cases. Depending on the case, there might be other defendants including:
· Employer of the driver
· Leasing company
· Truck parts manufacturer in case of defective or dangerous parts
· Auto repair shop if the accident occurred due to faulty repairs.
Identifying defendants in a truck accident is not easy. A careful investigation is required to know who to sue in case of a truck accident. Again, an expert truck accident attorney will help you identify parties responsible for the accident. This can increase your chances of getting a reasonable compensation for injuries and the associated costs.
Proving Negligence in a Truck Accident Case
Recovery of a truck accident is based on proving negligence. You need to prove negligence in insurance claim and truck accident injury lawsuit. A negligence claim alleges that a person did not act according to rules and regulations. As a result, the defendant (the guilty party) must recompense the plaintiff (the injured person).
Proving negligence in a truck accident case requires a plaintiff to demonstrate four types of specific elements in the court.
· The defendant had a duty to act in a reasonable manner
· The defendant breached the duty of care
· The breach of duty resulted in the accident
· The plaintiff had suffered serious injuries for which the defendant must compensate
The attorney of the plaintiff gathers evidence in order to prove negligence of the guilty party. Some of the investigated possible causes for determining the liability for a truck accident include the following:
a. Alcohol/Drug Abuse
A lot of vehicle accidents occur due to the driver being intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol, drugs and other such substances while driving. Trucking companies are required to screen drivers for illegal use of substance before hiring.
Drivers are also required to avoid driving when intoxicated. In case of a crash, drivers have to submit to a driving under the influence (DUI) and drug test.
If the driver was found to have used drug or alcohol above the legal concentration, the court will hold the driver responsible for the accident. If the driver was convicted of a DUI offense or had a history of drug abuse before the appointment, the truck company will be jointly held liable for the driver.
b. Failure to Follow Road Rules
Even if the driver was not intoxicated, the court can hold the driver guilty of a truck accident. This is the case when the driver fails to follow the road rules. Driving over the speed limit, not stopping at the red light, or giving way to pedestrians crossing the slip lane or crosswalk can all make the truck driver liable for truck accident injuries or death.
c. Mechanical Failure
Sometimes a truck accident can occur due to a mechanical failure. The accident can occur when defective parts are installed during augmentation or repair of the vehicle, such as
· Transmission defect
· Brake defect
· Defective or broken Tractor-trailer hitch
· Worn out tires
· Defective lighting
Trucking companies are required to inspect the vehicles regularly. They are required to keep a maintenance schedule that should contain details about service and repairs. Not keeping the maintenance log can make the company liable for a truck accident.
In addition, if a vehicle manufacturing company had installed defective products, or an auto repair shop had not followed the manufacturer's recommendation in repairing the vehicle, they could also be held responsible for the injury. In one case, an auto repair shop in Dallas, TX was told to pay $42 million to the plaintiff for substandard repair work that resulted in a vehicle accident.
d. Driver Fatigue
All property and passenger carrying drivers must follow 'hours of service rule' of FMCSA. The rule restricts the maximum number of hours drivers are allowed to drive without sleeping in different situations.
Sleep deprivation can prevent a driver from focusing on the road. The sleep-deprived driver will not be able to recognize traffic signs or react to sudden changes in traffic. The truck company and the driver who had not followed a strict hours-rule limit will be held liable for injuries, in case of a truck accident.
How to Determine Truck Negligence in a Truck Accident Case?
Determining negligence in a truck accident case is not easy. Various things need to be looked into to determine the fault in a truck accident. An experienced truck accident attorney will carry on a detailed investigation to find out who is responsible for the breach of duty to care.
At Christopher Jackson Law, we deal with different truck accident cases including semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, big rigs, single-unit trucks, and cargo vans. You can contact us today if you want legal help regarding a truck accident case in Kentucky.
An attorney will look at the police report, driver's prior criminal convictions, traffic tickets, and gather expert and eyewitness testimonies, and other circumstantial evidence to determine liability in a truck accident case. The attorney will also see the truck's 'black box' data recorder and know about the exact cause of the truck accident.