Accidents of all kinds are emotional experiences. There’s the stress of dealing with injuries, or even fatalities, as well as the damage to your vehicle. Not to mention the insurance process that goes along with it. But when a commercial truck driver is involved in the accident, the insurance process and pursuit of compensation is different. Independent investigations are generally required to determine who or what is at fault, and therefore who should be held responsible for your injuries and other losses.
How Trucking Accidents Are Different Than Car Accidents
Commercial trucking accidents differ from crashes that include passenger cars only. One reason is that the truck drivers involved in accidents are usually employed by trucking companies, also known as carriers. As the employer, a carrier may bear legal responsibility for its truck drivers’ actions. In addition to a truck driver and the carrier, several other parties may be liable for a truck accident. In addition, because of the size of commercial vehicles, the injuries are often much worse than the typical car crash. Last, and importantly, trucking companies often send their own investigators to the scene – sometimes having investigators and lawyers on the scene in less than an hour. In fact, J.L. worked for an insurance defense firm that was on-call 24/7 to send lawyers to the scene of bad wrecks. While it often is not possible for those injured in a wreck or their family to get someone on the scene that quickly, significant information is often gathered in the hours and days following a wreck that simply cannot be found weeks later.
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Truck Accident
A comprehensive investigation needs to take place to gather evidence in order to identify the correct party at fault. After a thorough review, the evidence may indicate one or more parties should be held liable for the accident. It is important this review occurs as soon as possible after the wreck as marks on the road and debris that may give vital clues may not be present as days and weeks go by.
The trucking company is accountable for the truck drivers and the actual trucks it puts on the road. This includes responsibility for hiring and training practices. We are skilled at identifying when a carrier cuts corners on training or truck repairs and maintenance in order to save money.
The Truck Driver
Truckers can cause accidents through negligent behavior such as speeding and driving while fatigued or distracted. If improper maintenance or a cargo shift caused the accident, the trucker can be held responsible for the wreck.
Cargo Shipper and Loader
Carriers occasionally work as contractors, meaning they transport cargo for other companies. If the cargo is sealed the entire time the trucker is in control, the cargo originator, shipper, loader and transporter all need to be examined.
Truck and Equipment Manufacturers
If the evidence points towards a mechanical failure that is beyond repair, such as brake failure or a tire blowout, the part itself could be defective. We can bring a product liability claim to hold the manufacturer or distributor accountable.
Government Agency or Road Work Contractor
If a trucker crashes due to broken pavement or the way a work zone is set up, then the local or state government in charge of that section of highway or even the maintenance contractor might be held accountable.
Gathering Evidence to Determine Fault
The King Firm examines a multitude of data after a commercial truck accident in order to piece together exactly what happened and who is legally responsible. In addition to reviewing the trucker’s activity logs – crucial pieces of evidence that document the driver’s time behind the wheel and at rest – our team gathers evidence from the crash scene, inspects police reports and speaks with witnesses to paint an accurate picture of what led up to the crash.
Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney at The King Firm
If you or someone you love was injured in a commercial truck accident, we can help you seek justice against the responsible parties, as well as pursue compensation for your injuries. At The King Firm, our team has the experience and knowledge necessary to pursue the best possible results for your case. Contact us today at 229-515-8585 for a free case consultation.