If you have been in a truck accident, you must prove that someone else was at fault to be compensated for losses or injuries sustained. But determining fault can be challenging because, unlike in other road accidents, more than one party could be at fault in a truck accident.
Who could be at fault for a truck accident?
Possibly liable parties in a truck accident include:
The truck driver
As in most other road accidents, the truck driver faces immediate scrutiny. If the driver’s actions lead to the accident, they could be held liable. It is easier to prove liability if there was a police investigation that revealed they violated traffic laws, such as speeding.
Other causes of truck accidents where the driver is at fault include:
- Reckless driving
- Improper lane changes
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
The driver may also be at fault if they failed to conduct a comprehensive pre-trip inspection, leading to a malfunction or mechanical failure that resulted in the crash.
The truck driver’s employer
If the truck driver is not independent and is instead hired by a trucking company, the employer may be held liable if they:
- Hired drivers that aren’t fully qualified or didn’t train them sufficiently
- Encouraged their drivers to violate traffic laws or safety regulations
- Had the drivers working long hours leading to exhaustion which led to the accident.
- Didn’t test the driver for drugs, alcohol, or other disqualifying medical conditions
- Allow drivers who have committed major road offenses to drive for them.
The truck manufacturer
The company that made the truck is responsible for ensuring it is safe and all components function according to industry standards. If any components are defective, they can lead to a truck accident.
The truck manufacturer can be held liable if you prove the truck had a manufacturing defect that caused the accident.
If another driver of another vehicle on the road did something that affected the driver and made them cause the accident, the other driver could be held responsible.
The company that loaded the truck
If the truck was carrying a load that wasn’t balanced or secured well, which ended up causing the accident, they could be held liable.
The company tasked with the upkeep of the truck
If another company other than the driver’s employer was tasked with the truck’s upkeep, and the accident was caused by poor maintenance, they could be held liable.
How can a truck accident lawyer help?
Because more than one party from the above could be at fault in a truck accident, the compensation you recover depends on whether you will identify all possible liable parties and collect the evidence to prove their fault.
It can be challenging to determine what exactly happened, so you need a truck accident attorney unless you’re confident you can identify all and collect the evidence required.
Some of the ways a West Virgina truck accident lawyer can help you identify all liable parties include:
- When establishing the driver’s liability, they collect evidence of the driver’s negligence, such as drug tests, dashcam footage, and eyewitness accounts.
- When establishing the driver’s employer’s liability, they have the resources and knowledge to acquire employment and company records to establish such things as improper hiring practices, lack of drug testing, failure to train new drivers, long driver working hours, etc. If the company’s representatives try to get you to settle for less, they can intervene and ask for a higher amount.
- When determining the manufacturer’s liability, the attorney conducts a detailed rig inspection through experts. If the manufacturer takes the truck immediately, they can demand that they preserve it for an independent inspection. The experts can determine the potential manufacturing defects that could have caused the accident.
- When determining the maintenance company’s fault, the attorney can conduct the truck’s inspection through an expert and review maintenance and repair records. If they notice any maintenance service was neglected, they can use that as evidence.
- The attorney can also determine if other parties are at fault by investigating dangerous road conditions, whether another driver caused the accident, etc.
Their comprehensive investigation can reveal which parties are at fault. If you are partly at fault, the truck accident attorney can help calculate your percentage of fault so you can know how much you are likely to recover.
Why you need an attorney
Working with an attorney after a truck accident can help you identify all liable parties in the accident for maximum compensation. But it doesn’t end there: an attorney can help you prevent critical mistakes that could weaken your case, help expedite your claim, represent you in court, use negotiation skills to get you a higher settlement, etc.
That is why, after receiving medical attention following a truck accident, the first step should be to contact an attorney at Miley Legal.
Frequently Asked Questions
What evidence is required to prove fault in a truck accident case?
You need different evidence to establish fault for each possibly at-fault party. Examples of evidence you can use include:
- Truck driver logs
- Results from any drug prescreens
- Any videos of the accident
- The load manifest
- Police reports
- Truck inspection and maintenance records
- Eyewitness statements
- Logs from the truck’s data recorder
Do I need an attorney if I am partly at fault for the truck accident?
Yes, you do. The attorney will help you calculate your percentage of fault so you can know how much of the total compensation you will receive if you win the case.