Determining Liability in Your Truck Accident Case
Walking away from a truck accident as an uninjured driver or passenger of a standard-sized vehicle is rare simply due to the sheer size and force of a moving truck. The injuries that occur in a truck accident are generally severe, often including head trauma, internal bleeding, and back and neck injuries.
Yet, seeking compensation for medical bills, ongoing treatment, wages, and even wrongful death in a truck accident is extremely challenging and tedious. Large trucking companies are prepared with legal teams and massive insurance policies that have the goal of protecting their company, their manufacturers, and their drivers from a large payout.
Working with a truck accident attorney who has experience handling claims against trucking companies, drivers, and manufacturers, as well as aggressive insurance companies, is crucial to the success of your case and your peace of mind while you heal.
Attorneys can determine the cause of an accident through an extensive and in-depth investigation that will involve visits to the crash site, a review of the driver’s black box, driver log, and other factors including police reports, weather conditions, and eyewitness reports. Attorneys will address the potential for multiple parties involved by reviewing the trucking company’s history of accidents, manufacturing issues, or other logistical concerns. A detailed investigation can take months to review critical evidence in a truck accident.
Layers of trucking laws, specific investigative procedures, and multiple involved parties can make a successful truck accident lawsuit seem out of reach. Unlike a typical car accident, truck accidents can possibly involve multiple negligent parties in addition to the driver. It is crucial for you and your attorney to understand the connection between various parties including the trucking company, manufacturer, and even cargo loaders. Determining which parties were negligent and should be held liable for injuries and damages is an essential part of your truck accident claim.
Who Can be Held Liable in a Truck Accident?
The trucking industry has so many interconnected roles that negligence, as early in the process as manufacturing, can create potential harm for anyone on the road. Truck drivers, manufacturing companies, truck owners, and trucking companies, among others, can potentially hold responsibility for an accident.
The most common defendant in a trucking accident, the negligent behaviors of a truck driver can have tremendous consequences for others on the road. Common negligent actions among truck drivers include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving impaired
- Failing to follow state or federal laws
- Drowsy driving
- Failing to maintain driver’s log
Truck Companies/Truck Owners
The truck’s owner, whether an individual, a company, or a leasing firm, is responsible for ensuring the truck is completely safe and roadworthy. If the truck’s owner fails to properly maintain the truck, and that lack of maintenance causes an accident, the owner can be held liable for any damages. In addition, companies are responsible for hiring fully licensed and experienced drivers and ensuring those drivers comply with trucking laws. Common negligence among truck companies and owners includes:
- Poor truck maintenance
- Hiring unqualified drivers
- Insufficient training of employees
- Encouraging their drivers to violate hour and sleep restrictions
Manufacturing errors are significant factors in truck accidents. Recorded data from 2021 showed that about 30% of all truck-related accidents are caused by tire defects. Even when warnings and recalls are in place, the truck manufacturer can still potentially be held liable for damages.
The companies that hire trucking companies to transport their materials and products can potentially be held liable if their materials are not securely fastened and come loose. Over-loading, improper balance or the use of unsafe straps, levers, or other securing devices are all common factors in trucking hazards.
How We Can Help
California remains among the top states with the highest fatal trucking accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Patrol’s 2019 statistics, 7.7% of California truck drivers were involved in fatal crashes during that year.
Truck accidents are complex and require an experienced eye. Our Bakersfield trucking accident attorneys of Rodriguez & Associates have handled hundreds of truck accidents. Founder and senior attorney Daniel Rodriguez, along with attorneys Chantal Trujillo and Danay Gonzalez, obtained the highest personal injury verdict in Kern County history of over $70 million for a truck vs SUV case. Our firm is familiar with truck engineering, truckers’ fatigue, and other issues that lead to catastrophic accidents.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a truck accident, contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and possible legal options.