ClickCease Is the Trucking Company or Driver Responsible in an Accident?

Is the Truck Driver or Trucking Company Responsible in a Truck Accident?

Is the Trucking Company or Driver Liable in a Truck Wreck?

If you were in a trucking accident, you may be wondering who can be held responsible – the truck driver or the trucking company? In many cases, the negligent actions of both parties may be found at fault for the accident. But how is negligence determined in a truck accident case?

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How Can the Truck Driver and Trucking Company Be Responsible For the Truck Accident?

Determining liability in truck accidents can be complex as numerous parties can be at fault. However, in many incidents, there are generally two parties to blame for your injuries – the truck driver and/or the trucking company. Talk to an experienced DC truck accident attorney to discuss your claim.

But what proof do you need to show the trucking company, the truck driver, or both parties are responsible for your injuries?

Let’s take an example: Suppose a truck driver had been on the road for over 15 hours. The company has a policy to give an incentive to any driver who beats their deadline to deliver goods, and the driver is close to reaching the destination. But since he’s been driving for 15 hours, he’s exhausted and he begins to fall asleep behind the wheel. He doesn’t notice the traffic ahead has begun to slow down and the tractor-trailer rear ends another vehicle and causes severe injuries to the family inside.

To determine who is liable in the above example, you will need the answers to the following questions:

  • What caused the accident? In the example above, it is obvious that the truck driver had fallen asleep, causing the truck collision to occur.
  • Was the driver following the law at the time of the accident? Truck drivers not only have to follow the same rules of the road as everyone else but need to follow federal regulations. For instance, truck drivers can only be on the road for so many hours before taking a break.
  • What are the trucking company’s policies? The truck company’s policies don’t always follow federal regulations. In the example above, the truck company’s policy of incentives for beating deadlines could mean the company could be held responsible for the accident.
  • Whether the driver is a full-time employee or a 1099 employee of the trucking company. If the truck driver is an independent contractor, they can be held liable for the victim’s injuries. However, if they are full-time, both the trucking company and the driver may be held responsible. Under the law of vicarious liability, should a truck driver cause an accident while being employed by a trucking company, the company is responsible for their employee’s actions, meaning they will compensate victims.

Who Else Can Be Held Responsible in a Truck Accident?

What many truck accident victims may not realize is that there are more than one or two potential defendants who contributed to the truck accident. Because of this, you may want to work with an experienced truck accident attorney to determine who contributed to the accident and what other third parties may be at fault.

In addition to the truck driver and the trucking company, other at-fault parties in your truck collision may include:

  • The owner of the freight being carried in the truck
  • The shipping company that had loaded the cargo into the truck
  • The truck manufacturer for any defective parts that may be on the truck
  • The mechanic or entire automotive shop for faulty repairs
  • The safety inspector if violations were missed
  • The government responsible for road upkeep
  • Other automobile drivers on the road at the time of the accident

Due to the size and weight of semi trucks, there is an increased likelihood of fatal accidents when an incident occurs. In fact, from 2017-2019, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that roughly 20% of all accidents involving a semi involved only one other vehicle, meaning nearly 80% of all truck accidents include two or more other vehicles.

How to Establish Liability in Truck Accident Claims?

In order to establish liability in a truck accident claim, you must establish that the truck operator meets the four criteria for negligence. These include:

  • Duty of care
  • Breach of duty
  • Causation
  • Damages

In order to establish liability, all four of these negligence criteria must be met to make sure the large truck driver is held accountable.

State Laws and At-Fault Compensation

Establishing liability in a truck accident is complicated and that includes determining who foots the bill. Depending on the state you live in will ultimately determine the type of insurance you are required to hold.

For example, some states require no-fault insurance policies, which cover the driver’s medical bills and property damage as a result of the accident regardless of who is at fault.

However, at-fault states will require each driver’s insurance company to determine negligence for the accident; from there, the at-fault driver’s insurance must pay for all victim’s damages. In these cases, do not be shocked that the insurance companies will only want to cover the minimum.

It is important to know that if your damages exceed the maximum amount the insurance companies will cover, you may be able to seek additional compensation from the party responsible for the accident.

truck driver stepping up into truckHow a Truck Accident Attorney Can Help Your Claim?

When it comes to truck accidents, the insurance companies of any and all parties (including your own) are going to try to minimize fault to reduce the compensation you need for your injuries. This is why it’s so important to speak with a truck accident attorney from Regan Zambri Long PLLC as soon as possible to start the investigation and to protect your rights following a truck accident. Our truck accident lawyer will be able to review the facts of the case and determine what parties are truly at fault.

We will:

  • Obtain and get the data from the truck’s “black box,” a device that tells what was happening prior to and during the accident.
  • Use expert witnesses, private investigators, and accident reconstructionists to find out what really happened during the accident.
  • Get a rough estimate of how much your claim is worth based upon your injuries, the time you spent away from work, and any property damage.

Evidence is important in these cases to establish who is responsible and that’s why you need to contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible.

Time Is of the Essence to File an Accident Claim

Depending on the state you live in will ultimately determine what the statute of limitations is for you to file your truck accident claim. Further, if you are filing a personal injury claim, this can also impact the statute of limitations.

Your big rig accident lawyer will be able to determine the length of time you have available. Remember–if you accept an early settlement, you cannot sue.

Regan Zambri Long Will Develop a Solid Case as Your Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck accident victims need to call the truck accident attorneys of Regan Zambri Long.

We will hold the trucking company liable, put through a trucking accident claim, and provide you with legal advice. Schedule your no-obligation, free legal consultation by calling (202) 960-4596 or sending us a message now.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

Call 202-960-4596

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