With over half a million truck accidents per year, many questions arise around fault and liability for the crashes. Some companies have found fault in their long-haul trucks, while others blame the truck drivers or neighboring vehicles. No matter the fault, these accidents can cause severe damage to the parties involved and risk possible fatalities.
What To Do After a Truck Accident
Truck accidents are a devastating form of motor vehicle accidents. The aftermath of an accident can be disorienting, and it can often be difficult to know the proper steps to take. Some steps that would be beneficial to take after your accident include:
- Report the crash- Immediately after the accident, if no pressing medical issues result, it is important to report the crash and try to remove the vehicles off the road as much as possible. Alert other drivers by placing flares or activating your vehicle’s hazard lights.
- Seeking medical attention- After accidents, injuries can be disguised by high levels of adrenaline. Some parties could be severely injured without knowing until hours later. Whether the injuries are observable or not, it is always a good idea to call 911 and get an ambulance to the scene of the accident.
- Exchange information with those involved- Identify all parties involved in the accident and then be sure to exchange insurance information with all of them. It is necessary to take note of all liable parties.
- Find witnesses- If any witnesses pulled over to help, make sure to get their statements on video or exchange information with them so that if you need them to give a statement or testify, they are able to do so.
- Take pictures of the accident- Documenting the accident through photos can establish some form of liability. It can be additionally helpful to take specific pictures to turn in to your insurance company.
- Speak to the insurance company- Your insurance company will probably have many questions about the accident. Make sure to speak precisely about what happened and the damages sustained.
- Hire a personal injury attorney- If you believe that you may be entitled to any compensation for the accident, hiring an attorney will help your case progress.
Contacting An Attorney
Finding the right truck accident attorney can provide you with peace of mind and assure you that your case is being taken care of by the appropriate party. Truck accident attorneys will collect all necessary documents from the accident. Your attorney will explore every legal avenue to find a liable party. The more evidence they are provided with, the easier it will be to figure out who was at fault.
Identifying Liable Parties
Liability depends on the type of accident that occurs and what goes wrong. Due to this, many parties can be held liable for a truck accident. Your attorney will be helpful in determining any liable party in the accident. A few possible liable parties include:
- The driver- There are so many examples of driver-caused negligence. The driver could be tired and, therefore, less alert; they could be speeding or distracted.
- The carrier- To save money, some carriers will cut corners when it comes to safety which can be dangerous for the driver and the vehicles around them.
- The shipper and loader- There are certain regulations for cargo transportation, so if any shifts happen that cause the accident, this party may be found liable.
- The manufacturer- As with any motor vehicle, trucks can experience problems with certain parts and components. If any of the components that malfunction is under recall or a result of poor construction, the manufacturer may be held responsible for the damage.
- Contractors and government agencies- Some accidents may result from an uneven road or a soft shoulder. The roads are the property of government agencies, and if they fail to signal these road changes or fail to fix portions of the road that are dangerous, they may be held liable for accidents that occur on that stretch of road.
What Happens If Multiple Parties Are Found Liable?
When trying to figure out liability for the accident, an investigation will take place. While there may be a liable party that seems to be the main focus of blame, there could be other liable parties involved. For example, a truck accident could have occurred because one of the truck’s tires blew out. The liable party, in that case, would be the manufacturer, but upon further investigation, the accident took place on a dangerously uneven road. In this case, both the manufacturer and a government agency could be found liable for the accident.
Evidence is needed in order to determine any liability in the accident. If liability is in question, some evidence that will help determine responsible parties are:
- Pictures from the accident
- Police reports
- Driver’s activity logs
- Trucking company’s records
- Trucking company’s employee statements
- Witness statements
If multiple parties are found liable, the victim of the accident may be able to receive a more substantial settlement from all responsible parties.
Truck Accident Lawsuit
In 2015, a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into another tractor-trailer. The driver felt as though he hadn’t sustained any injuries but later experienced a lot of abdominal pain. It was later discovered that he had crushed his pelvis. The driver claimed that his boss, the owner of the company, had told him to log more driving hours than legally allowed in order to make his deliveries. Since this is illegal, the driver had to lie and falsify his records. These excess work hours caused him to drive while exhausted and led to his accident. The case went to court, and in May of 2019, he was awarded 5 million dollars in damages and an additional 75 million dollars in punitive damages. The 5 million dollars went to addressing any outstanding bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The additional amount was simply to reprimand the company’s owner for risking the driver’s life.
Contact The Eichholz Law Firm
The Eichholz Law Firm has many years of experience handling truck accident lawsuit cases. For more information and to schedule a free consultation, call our legal team at (855)-551-1019 or fill out an online contact form.