By Adam B. Lawler | March 8, 2024

Who Is Liable for a Commercial Truck Accident?

Who Is Liable for a Commercial Truck Accident?
truck accident

After a commercial truck accident, victims need to search for the at-fault parties and deal with complex legal and insurance issues. They need a lawyer who can establish liability since it is one of the key steps toward Recovering fair compensation.

The best way to establish liability is with help from an experienced Marion truck accident attorney.

Understanding Commercial Truck Accident Liability:

Many parties run and maintain commercial trucks used for business purposes.

The outcome of liability determination largely dictates who you can hold responsible for compensating you. In American jurisprudence, you can hold the following entities liable:

Truck Drivers

You can hold the truck driver liable for negligence. Negligence can include traffic violations, fatigue, drunk driving, or distracted driving.

The Trucking Company

Under the respondeat superior legal doctrine, an employer may assume responsibility for its employee’s actions - committed within the course of employment.

Some examples of unsafe practices include overlooking regulations governing transportation or the poor training or supervision of drivers, thus making them responsible for the accident.

Cargo Loaders and Shippers

If an accident occurs due to improper loading or overloading of cargo on a truck, then shippers and cargo loaders can face liability for ignoring safety precautions.

Truck Manufacturers and Parts Suppliers

If an accident happens because one component breaks down or is faulty due to a defect, product liability law will hold parts suppliers or makers accountable.

Maintenance Companies

A maintenance service can be sued if it improperly maintains a vehicle, resulting in an accident.

Exploring State and Federal Regulations:

The commercial trucking industry is regulated extensively under state and federal laws. Some regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) include hours of service restrictions, regular vehicle inspections, and maintenance requirements for commercial trucking companies and drivers. If these rules are violated, it can lead to liability in case of an accident.

The Role of a Truck Accident Lawyer:

Every victim involved in a commercial truck accident should retain the services of a seasoned lawyer who handles such matters. Hiring an attorney can provide several benefits.

In-Depth Knowledge of Trucking Regulations 

Truck accident lawyers have extensive knowledge of both state and federal regulations, which control matters of transportation, thus making them critical when establishing liability.

Investigative Resources

Investigative Resources

Truck accident attorneys have the means to carry out investigations with professional contacts at their disposal. This allows them to collect important pieces of evidence. Evidence may include driver logbooks, black box data for trucks, records about maintenance, and surveillance videos.

Expert Witnesses

Truck accident lawyers will also involve experts like accident reconstructionists - professionals who will give credence to the case against those liable for the injuries.

Negotiation with Insurance Companies

Truck accident attorneys can negotiate with insurance adjusters who are mainly interested in reducing payouts. Because of their negotiation skills, lawyers can counter and increase settlement offers.

A good truck accident attorney will ensure that a client’s compensation is commensurate with the loss incurred, reflecting the full extent of damages or the losses suffered.

Litigation Experience

If a truck accident attorney cannot achieve an equitable settlement out of court, they are ready to take the matter to trial. Their trial background can make all the difference in obtaining a favorable verdict.

From providing advice on legal rights to handling complex forms, lawyers offer invaluable guidance throughout the legal proceedings. This helps victims of accidents to make informed decisions and understand what their claims involve legally and financially.

Types of Big Rig Truck and Car Accidents

Collisions involving commercial vehicles can happen in many ways. Below are some of the common types of accidents and causes.

Rollover Accidents

Rollover accidents

Rollovers happen when a truck driver loses control, causing the truck to tip over onto its side. This can be caused by various factors, such as speeding, taking a turn too sharply, or driving on uneven terrain.

Rear-end collisions

Rear-end collisions happen when a car rear-ends a truck, or the truck runs into an auto - often because the truck or car was following too closely. Sometimes, a vehicle’s brake lights are not working properly.

Jackknife truck accident

Jackknifes occur when the truck’s cab and trailer fold in on each other.

Underride accidents

These incidents occur when a smaller vehicle crashes underneath the back of a truck. These accidents are often deadly, as the weight of the truck frequently crushes the occupants of the smaller vehicle.

T-bone accidents

These mishaps happen when a truck crashes into the side of another vehicle, forming a T-shape. These accidents can be caused by running a red light, failing to yield the right of way, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Sideswipe accidents

Sideswipes occur when a truck's side collides with another vehicle's side. These accidents can be caused by changing lanes without checking blind spots, merging onto a highway without yielding the right of way, or driving too close to another vehicle.

Wide turn accidents

Wide turns happen when a truck turns too wide and hits another vehicle or object. The truck driver can cause these accidents by misjudging the width of their vehicle, or by turning in an area with insufficient space.

Consult a Truck Accident Lawyer About Your Rights

Consult a Truck Accident Lawyer

Determining liability following a commercial truck accident is complex but essential for injured parties seeking compensation. The regulatory landscape of commercial trucking and the number of potentially responsible parties involved can make the truck accident process overwhelming.

Consequently, hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer significantly increases the chance a victim will get justice and receive the compensation they deserve.

The first step for anyone affected by a commercial truck accident should be to contact an experienced truck accident attorney. With their experience and support, victims can focus on recovery while their legal representatives handle the challenges of proving liability and holding the negligent parties accountable.

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Adam B. Lawler

Attorney at Law / Partner

Adam Lawler is the founder of Lawler Brown. Adam is a 2004 graduate of Saint Louis University School of Law. Adam worked for a local firm until founding the Lawler Brown in 2009. Adam’s practice areas focus in Personal Injury, Business, Real Estate, Probate/Trust/Estate Administration and general litigation.

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