Who is Responsible for my Truck Accident?
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, trucks (including semi-trucks and tractor-trailers) can weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars, making the passengers of these smaller vehicles especially vulnerable. When truck accidents happen, the consequences can be catastrophic for the occupants of passenger cars. An estimated 4,136 people died in truck accidents in 2018, and over 67 percent of those deaths were the occupants of cars and other motor vehicles.
For those who have been involved in a truck accident, determining which party is responsible can be difficult. There are many complicating factors, such as the actions of the truck driver, which company owns the truck, and whether the vehicle was properly maintained before the crash. Often, victims of a truck collision may need to negotiate with multiple parties and insurance companies.
If you have been seriously injured in a truck accident, call William Mattar today. Our truck accident attorneys have experience helping injury victims receive maximum compensation. At William Mattar, there is No Fee Until We WinSM, which means that you don’t owe us any lawyer’s fees unless we win or settle your personal injury case for you. To get started on your truck accident claim, call (844) 444-4444.
Truck Accidents vs. Car Accidents
Car accidents and accidents involving large trucks can get complicated. If you’re involved in a crash with another car, there are likely fewer parties involved. In many cases, it may just be you and the other driver. In a truck accident, there can be several individuals, companies, and insurers involved. This can potentially complicate things. For instance, even if a truck driver is at fault, other parties such as the driver’s employer may be liable, depending on the circumstances.
Factors that impact liability in a Truck Crash
There are a few factors that can impact liability in a truck accident, including a driver’s employment status, lack of routine truck maintenance, and cargo loading issues.
The truck driver’s employment
Whether a truck driver was employed by another company or agency can play an important role in determining liability in a truck accident. A truck driver may be self-employed, meaning they own the truck they were operating at the time of an accident. In other cases, a truck driver may work for a trucking company, either as an employee or an independent contractor. A truck crash attorney can assess the situation to identify who can be held responsible.
Poor truck maintenance
Vehicle maintenance is an important factor in truck-related crashes. If one of the mechanical parts or systems of a truck fails, such as the brakes, it can be a danger to other motorists, potentially resulting in a serious collision. It may also indicate that the truck was not properly maintained or inspected. Typically, the owner of the truck (which can be an individual or company) is responsible for its maintenance and for ensuring that it is safe for the road. If your truck accident was caused by a vehicle malfunction, your personal injury lawyer can help investigate who may be at fault for the error.
Cargo loading issues
Improperly loaded cargo can also contribute to a truck collision. Trucks must meet certain requirements for loading material to ensure safe transport. Material that is not secured can migrate onto the roadways and hit other vehicles or create road hazards and obstacles. If a cargo problem caused your truck crash, the party responsible for loading the truck or the truck company itself may be liable.
Liable Parties in a Truck Crash
Parties that can be held liable after a truck accident include, but are not limited to:
- The Driver of the Truck: If a truck driver does not follow the rules of the road, or drives unsafely, they may be considered at fault for an accident. Many truck drivers travel long distances without a break, making fatigue and drowsiness a potential risk factor. Driving under the influence, distracted driving, and not obeying traffic laws can also factor into whether the driver of the truck was liable for the crash.
- The Trucking Company or Contractor: The company that operates the semi-truck or tractor-trailer involved in a motor vehicle accident may be liable. If the trucking company did not conduct thorough investigations, keep up with required maintenance, or otherwise failed to meet safety measures and regulations, they may be responsible for a resulting truck crash. When it comes to liability, the trucking company can also share liability with another party, such as a manufacturer or cargo loader. Notably, the truck driver’s employer can be held liable if the truck driver was working in the scope of his or her employment at the time of the accident. Moreover, New York’s permissive use statute holds the owner of a motor vehicle liable for the negligence of its operator if the operator was driving with express or implied permission of the owner.
- Manufacturer or Cargo Shipper: The manufacturer of the truck or its components is responsible for ensuring the vehicle is built to certain safety standards. Likewise, a shipper of cargo must load a truck properly to make sure the material is secure and adheres to all applicable federal regulations.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a truck accident, you may have a case. A personal injury attorney at William Mattar can look closely at the details of your situation and help determine which parties are responsible.
Defective Products in a Truck Accident
Sometimes, when a truck has a mechanical failure which results in an accident, it is not a maintenance issue. Rather, it may be an issue with the way the part or product was manufactured or designed. If your truck collision was caused by a defective product, you may have a potential product liability claim.
Examples of defective products in a truck accident include:
- Faulty brake systems
- Steering system failures
- Defective locking mechanisms
- Loading strap issues
- Trailer hitch failures
- Defective tires
If the truck crash that caused your injuries was the result of a defective part, the manufacturer of the truck or the vehicle’s component may be liable. Your personal injury attorney can help determine whether a faulty or defective auto part contributed to your accident, entitling you to potential compensation.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Those who have been injured in a truck crash can turn to William Mattar law offices for help. With one of our personal injury attorneys, you will have someone on your side who can fight for you to receive maximum compensation. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us at (844) 444-4444, or submit our online consultation form. Our legal staff is standing by 24/7.