Making a Claim After a Head-on Collision with a Wrong-way Truck Driver in Your State
In trucking accident cases, in order to obtain the maximum compensation, there are often multiple avenues of compensation that can be pursued and multiple parties at fault that should be pursued.
The issue of fault can be complicated in a trucking accident case because multiple parties could be involved and share responsibility with the negligent truck driver. For example, if an inspection of a tractor-trailer reveals a problem with maintenance, and the trucking company contracts with third-parties who perform work on the vehicle, these additional parties could potentially share in liability for the victim’s injuries. It’s important to note there are steps that should be immediately taken to preserve critical evidence, such as the truck’s black box (a recording device that records the mechanisms of the vehicle, such as whether brakes were applied, and the speed of the vehicle) and other evidence before it is lost or destroyed.
If you are injured in a trucking accident, an experienced wrong-way truck accident lawyer knows how to investigate and obtain evidence to build a compelling case for financial compensation.
Parties who may bear varying degrees of financial responsibility for a trucking accident include but are not limited to the following:
The Truck Driver: The driver of a semi-truck constitutes the most obvious party who might be liable for your injuries and other damages. Often, truck drivers are acting within the scope of employment with a trucking company, and when that is the case the trucking company would also bear the financial responsibility of the claim under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior. Truck drivers are governed not just by the rules of the road, but by extensive trucking industry regulations. When a truck driver fails to comply with rules of the road, existing trucking safety standards, and prudent driving practices, the result can be serious accidents with other vehicles, causing permanent debilitating injuries and even wrongful death to drivers and passengers in other vehicles.
Commercial Carriers: Trucking Companies must comply with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations that require them to hire and train qualified drivers to comply with federal and state laws. Trucking companies sometimes fail to properly screen or train their drivers. Alternatively, some companies violate the hours of service (HOS) restrictions. The carrier might even use compensation plans that promote driver fatigue by enticing drivers to violate HOS rules. These rules are designed to limit fatigue, drowsiness, and prolonged boredom from causing collisions involving large trucks. Some trucking companies also look the other way when drivers use illegal narcotics to stay awake longer. Trucking companies must also provide regular maintenance of their fleet, including replacing tires and brakes when necessary and obeying weight limits.
Vehicle/Parts Manufacturer: Trucking accidents can occur even if neither the trucking company nor the driver were negligent. Defective trucks, parts, and/or systems can lead to brake failures, blowouts, and other dangerous malfunctions. When a product defect contributes to a trucking accident, the manufacturer or repair facility may be liable for any injuries incurred.
Shipper/Loading Company: Tractor-trailers can transport massive loads, so the load must be properly packed and balanced. Given the enormous amount of cargo that moves through the U.S. logistics system, many shippers outsource the loading of tractor-trailers to loading companies. When a tractor-trailer tips because of an improperly balanced load, the shipper or loading company might share responsibility for a trucking accident victims’ injuries.
How to Receive All of the Monetary Compensation Your Case Deserves
If you have been injured, or lost a loved one in a trucking accident caused by a negligent or fatigued truck driver, an irresponsible trucking company, or anyone else’s negligence, a consultation with an experienced wrong-way truck accident lawyer can help you understand:
- Your legal rights;
- The value of your claim;
- Potentially liable parties;
- The applicable time deadlines;
- The steps necessary to protect those rights.
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