Semi-truck accidents are typically more complicated to resolve compared to car accident claims. When it comes to holding someone responsible, there can be numerous liable parties involved from the truck driver to even maintenance. Let’s look at how each party may be held liable and what you should do if you have been involved.
Assessing Liability of Semi-Truck Accidents?
As mentioned, semi-truck accidents are different from other auto accidents. Therefore, a thorough investigation must be done to determine who’s responsible. This doesn’t mean only one person is liable—it can be shared between multiple parties.
- Truck Driver: The truck driver can be held liable if the accident was caused by driver error or negligence, such as being inattentive to the road, falling asleep (driving fatigue), texting, or if they were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Truck Company: Truck companies who employ the driver can be held liable if, for example, the company did not follow the state law of how many hours a truck driver can work, and the truck driver falls asleep. Or if the company failed to perform routine maintenance, they may be liable.
- Maintenance: Semi-trucks must go through maintenance to ensure they are safe on the road. If the person conducting the check fails to inspect or disregards an issue, they could be liable.
- Truck Manufacturer: There are some instances where the truck’s manufacturer is responsible. For example, if the truck failed to operate correctly due to a faulty or malfunctioning part, the truck or even the parts manufacturer can be at fault.
- The Cargo Loader: Some people forget about this: the person who loads the cargo can be held liable for the accident. Their job is to load the truck, but if the cargo is not balanced, when the driver attempts to turn, or brake could instead cause the truck to steer off course or flip. Another way it causes an accident is when heavy items come flying out of the truck and hit another vehicle (this also could mean that the truck company is liable).
- Driver of the Car: It’s not always the truck’s fault: in some cases, the driver of a car can be at fault, too.
What are the Next Steps?
If you are a victim of an accident, the first step to take is to get yourself to safety and make sure everyone else involved is safe and gets the medical care they need. If you are injured, make sure you get the medical assistance you need as well. Like any car accident, you should exchange information with the truck driver, call 911, and receive a copy of the police report. Take photos and gather contact information of any witnesses possible.
If you or someone you love were severely injured because of this accident, then you should file a personal injury lawsuit and work with a trusted lawyer. And if you are representing a loved one who lost their life in a semi-truck accident, you should contact a lawyer immediately and file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Foley & Small Attorneys: Ready to Help
At Foley & Small, we are here to help you and your family should you ever be confronted with a semi-truck accident. Our team will perform a thorough investigation of the incident and determine the factors that contribute to who is liable. We will put our experience and resources to work for you and your family.