From a legal standpoint, auto accidents involving a commercial vehicle, such as a truck or 18-wheeler, are more complex than accidents that only involve privately owned vehicles. Even when the cause of the accident may seem obvious to those who observed the crash, the answer to the question, “who was negligent?” can be more complicated than it seems at first.
In this post, we will take a closer look at who can be at fault for truck accidents as well as what you have to prove in order to receive compensation for damages after colliding with a commercial vehicle.
Who Is Responsible for Your Truck Accident Injuries?
When you are injured in a truck accident, there could be a wide array of reasons the crash took place, including multiple causes. If the truck caused the accident, a number of parties could be to blame, including:
- The driver of the truck.
- The owner or leaser of the truck.
- The owner or leaser of the trailer.
- The manufacturer of the truck or part of the truck.
- The company that owns and/or loaded the cargo in the truck.
- The company/mechanic that maintains and fixes the truck.
When investigating a truck accident, it is vital that your Charleston truck accident attorney verifies exactly what caused the accident and who should have prevented the accident. Some accidents may involve multiple at-fault parties, such as a crash in which the driver was fatigued from violating a company rule about sleep, but also in which poorly-maintained tires added to the severity of the crash. In another case, a driver may have been driving recklessly, but in addition poorly-packed cargo caused the truck to roll when the driver lost control.
Establishing Fault Regarding a Trucker and His/Her Employer
If you believe that a trucker was at fault for your accident and injuries, you will want to work with a West Virginia personal injury lawyer experienced in truck accidents to verify the following facts before attempting to collect compensation or filing a lawsuit:
- The trucker was an employee of the company. A commercial driver may either be an official employee of a trucking company or an independent contractor. The driver must be an employee of the trucking company in order to sue the trucking company instead of the trucker.
- The trucker was violating a trucking regulation or law. Next, you must find evidence that the trucker had been making a mistake: were they speeding? Were they asleep at the wheel? Were they under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Note that truckers must follow not only the rules of the road but a set of federal regulations for commercial drivers.
- The trucking company knew about or should have known about the violation. It can greatly help your case if you can establish that the trucking company should have known about the driver’s actions. For example, they may not have looked at the trucker’s driving record before hiring him or her. Or they might not have properly trained the driver. In the worst cases, they may have encouraged or allowed drivers to break laws in order to get their cargo to its destination sooner.
Again, it is important to understand that truck accident cases can be very complex. Be certain to speak to a lawyer about your case so that you can find justice and secure the fairest amount of compensation from the correct at-fault parties. Contact Tiano O’Dell, PLLC today for a free case evaluation.