Because trucks are so much larger than cars, truck accidents are often catastrophic. If you suffered injuries in a truck accident, filing a lawsuit can help you recover the compensation you need to move forward with your life. However, establishing who is liable for a truck accident is challenging without the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney.
Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?
Multiple parties might be responsible for your injuries, depending on the circumstances of your accident. Your personal injury attorney will investigate your accident to identify negligent or reckless acts committed by a potentially liable party. An injured victim might also be partially responsible for causing an accident. Possible liable parties after a truck accident are discussed in more detail below.
The Truck Manufacturer
Truck accidents may result from faulty components or poor design. Tire blowouts, brake failures, steering issues, or other mechanical failures can cause collisions. Your attorney will investigate whether your accident was caused by a defective part or system within the truck. If a defective part or design was responsible for your accident, your attorney can help you pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer or distributor of the truck.
Vendors hired by the truck company might also be liable for a truck accident. For example, some carriers outsource administrative work such as hiring drivers, conducting background checks, and managing existing personnel. If a vendor was negligent and their negligence resulted in the accident that injured you, you might be able to hold them liable for your damages.
Mechanic or Service Center
Truck accident liability can also be established by identifying mechanical failures caused by negligent maintenance of a truck. The trucking company might be responsible for these mechanical failures, or a mechanic who worked on the truck might be at fault.
A commercial trucking company may have hired a mechanic or service provider to conduct a full inspection of the truck and to flag needed repairs. If the mechanic missed a serious issue or failed to fix an existing problem, and that failure led to your accident, they may be liable. Your attorney can get copies of maintenance records to determine whether scheduled services were completed and whether negligence on the part of the trucking company or a mechanic might have caused your accident.
When carriers work as contractors to ship cargo for other companies, these shippers must adhere to federal and state laws. If a truck accident results from improper loading, securing, or other issues related to the cargo, your attorney might suggest you pursue a claim against the cargo shipper or loader.
Municipal, local, and state government agencies maintain roadways and highways. If a severe pothole or broken pavement contributed to a truck losing control and causing your accident, a government agency might be liable for your resulting harm. An agency might also be liable if it hired a contractor to work on roadways, and their negligence in carrying out their duties resulted in the accident.
Liability for an accident with a semi-truck may also depend on whether the truck driver engaged in negligent behavior such as speeding, driving while fatigued, or distracted driving. Commercial truck drivers are also required to keep their trucks in safe working order and must ensure all maintenance issues are addressed and that cargo is secured correctly.
What If I Am Partly at Fault?
Kentucky is a pure comparative negligence state. Comparative negligence permits an injured victim to recover damages even if they are found to be partially at fault for the accident. In truck accidents, if it’s determined that an injured driver was partially responsible for the accident, the fault is distributed between the parties. Pure comparative negligence permits an injured victim to recover damages even if they are found to be 99% at fault. However, the amount of damages they can recover will be proportionally reduced by their percentage of fault.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents may occur in any number of ways. The most common causes of truck accidents are discussed below.
Like other drivers, truck drivers also engage in dangerous behaviors like texting or talking on a cell phone while driving. Because trucks are so much larger than other vehicles and more difficult to maneuver, a truck driver who is driving while distracted is placing every other driver at risk of suffering a serious accident.
Truck drivers hold commercial driver’s licenses that impose much stricter driving while intoxicated rules. In Kentucky, a commercial driver who is driving with any detectable amount of alcohol or drugs in their system will be placed out-of-service for 24 hours. Under Kentucky law, a truck driver who has a blood alcohol content of 0.04% or more is over the legal limit and can be charged with driving under the influence. If the truck driver who caused your accident was intoxicated, your personal injury attorney can use that conduct to prove liability.
Truck drivers often work long hours due to the pressure to reach destinations within a designated time. Although the law requires truck drivers to take rest breaks, some ignore this and drive without taking the required rest breaks, increasing the chances of an accident.
Failure to Perform Maintenance
All truck drivers must perform regular maintenance to ensure their vehicles are safe enough to be on the road. For example, if a driver fails to check the condition of their tires, resulting in a tire blowout, the driver might have been negligent and might be liable for your damages.
Poor Cargo Loading
Accidents often occur because truck drivers fail to load their cargo correctly or overload their trucks. Trucks with an uneven weight distribution or those driving with loads exceeding permitted limits can cause serious accidents.
Common Injuries from Truck Accidents
The size and force of a heavy truck hitting a car can cause severe and sometimes permanent damage. Common truck injuries include the following:
All of these injuries require medical treatment and a lengthy recovery period. Some victims might never fully recover. No financial award can undo the hardship you are experiencing. But a personal injury attorney can fight for compensation on your behalf so you can focus on your health and healing.
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident, you deserve to recover compensation from the responsible party. Despite your mounting medical expenses, you may be unable to work due to the severity of your injuries. At Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, we have nearly 20 years of experience helping our clients get the compensation they need to heal from their injuries. Contact our office today for a free consultation to find out how we can help you.