How to Determine Liability in a Trucking Accident
Accidents caused by 18-wheelers or semi-trucks often end in fatal or near-fatal injuries. In fact, such injuries are ten times more likely to occur in commercial truck accidents versus standard vehicle accidents, according to data from The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Trucking accident cases are very complex because they often involve more than one party. To file a lawsuit, you must prove the truck driver’s liability. The truth is, this legal process can be very tricky and involved.
Here’s what you need to know:
Rules and Regulations
While every driver must obey the rules of the road, truck drivers have to follow even more detailed rules and regulations given to them through a federal agency called The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). FMCSA governs the entire trucking industry to keep every person on the road safe from serious injuries resulting from an accident. Typically when an accident occurs, one of these rules has been broken.
Who Is Liable
Due to all the possible events that led to the accident, liability can be very difficult to determine. Based on the various parties involved, each case will change based on who is responsible for paying for damages and who isn’t. A few possibilities might be:
- The driver of the truck
- Another car that was also at-fault
- The trucking company
- The commercial truck owner
- Whoever leased the commercial truck
- The manufacturer if the accident resulted from a defective part in the truck
Any or all of these parties could be liable for the damages caused and might make it possible for you to sue one or more of them.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer is the most effective way to determine liability in a trucking accident, as they can perform an independent investigation to uncover which party (parties) are liable in your particular case. A key part of this investigation that an attorney will submit to the trucking company or driver is something called a spoliation letter. This ensures that any evidence from records, maintenance schedules, logbooks, and more does not get destroyed in an attempt for them to deny liability. Another important thing to review is the original police report which will outline any laws the truck driver failed to obey or even report if they were driving under the influence. These investigations are essential to determining liability, and with an experienced lawyer, you can get the compensation you deserve after suffering injuries from a trucking accident.
Unfortunately, it is common for the different parties to try and pass the blame to everyone but themselves, leaving victims of these accidents confused about what to do. Don’t let these tactics keep you from getting the compensation you deserve. Speak with a personal injury lawyer who will fight for you and give you the results you need.