When it comes to truck accident lawsuits, determining fault can be a complex issue. When an accident involves an 18-wheeler or other large truck, there could be more than one party at fault. It’s up to a truck accident lawyer to prove who that is. It is important to identify all parties who could have a portion of the liability, which means your truck accident lawyer will need to conduct an extensive investigation.
Investigating a Truck Accident
Truck accidents can be large-scale, and as a result, they are investigated not only by the local police but also by state agencies and even the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in some cases. The authorities will have a keen interest in ensuring that any mechanical faults, errors, and safety violations are addressed to avoid future incidents. The trucking company and the insurance providers that represent them may also carry out their own investigation. However, their focus will be on what sort of financial ramifications the accident could have on the business if they are found to be at fault. All of these people will have the ability to gather evidence and piece together exactly what happened during the accident, but none of them is firmly on the side of the victims. That’s why you need a truck accident lawyer to represent you and carry out an investigation on your behalf as well. An experienced truck accident lawyer will be able to work with the accident reports and recovered evidence to identify which parties are at fault and file a lawsuit for the compensation you are owed.
Who Might be at Fault?
When you first hire a truck accident lawyer, you may assume you will be suing the truck driver. They are the ones at fault, right? Maybe not! While the truck driver may be partially at fault if they are driving erratically, depending on the circumstances, there can be other parties at fault as well. Your truck accident lawyer will evaluate the evidence and determine who should be named as liable parties in the lawsuit. Some of these might include:
- The Truck Driver -If the accident was caused by excessive speed, reckless driving, dangerous lane changes, tailgating, driving under the influence, or any other risky behaviors that a driver might participate in, then they are liable for the accident.
- The Trucking Company - Although some truck drivers are independent contractors, many are employed by a trucking company. As an employer, that company has certain legal responsibilities. Suppose your truck accident lawyer can prove improper hiring practices, lack of training, poor vehicle maintenance, or encouraging drivers to violate hours of service regulations. In that case, the company could hold partial liability for the accident.
- The Truck Manufacturer - If an accident is caused because a part of the vehicle has malfunctioned through no fault of the driver, then the manufacturer may be held liable. It is their responsibility that components meet the required safety standards.
- A Mechanic or Service Center - If an accident is the result of a mechanical error due to negligence during maintenance, then the mechanic or service center can hold liability for causing the accident.
- The Shipping Company - Improper loading or overloading of a trailer can result in accidents, so it is important to follow the correct procedures. If a separate shipping company has loaded the trailer, they share liability for the accident resulting from that. However, the truck driver is also responsible as they should have inspected the load before departure and rejected it if it was not correctly loaded and secured.
- Additional Parties - In some instances, other parties may be liable for truck accidents. For example, what if it wasn’t the truck causing the problem but another vehicle forcing the truck to brake suddenly or take evasive action? In some cases, it is also possible to argue that the road itself was dangerous if not properly designed or maintained. In this case, the truck accident lawyer must identify the government agency responsible for those roads.
If you have been involved in a truck accident, finding a truck accident lawyer with experience in this type of case is important. As you can see, assigning fault can be tricky, with multiple parties potentially involved. A great lawyer will be a valuable asset in determining fault and getting you the compensation you are owed.
Butler, Vines and Babb is a leading law firm in Knoxville, TN, with extensive litigation experience in Medical Malpractice Law, Birth Injury Law, Trucking Accident Law, Personal Injury Law, and Business Law. Contact us today at www.bvblaw.com or call 865-637-3531.
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