Understanding Liability in Truck Accidents
The average commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, depending on the type of cargo it is carrying. When one of these massive vehicles is involved in an accident, the property damage and physical injuries they cause is often devastating. If the victims survive the crash, it is likely that they suffered severe injuries. However, when it comes to pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, truck accident cases are much more complicated than regular car accidents because, unlike car accidents where the at-fault driver is generally liable for the accident, there are several parties who may be liable. An experienced truck accident lawyer can explain your options and recommend the best legal course of action.
Parties Who May Be Liable for a Truck Accident
Depending on the circumstances, one or more parties may be held liable for injuries and property damage sustained in accidents, including the following:
- Truck Driver: In most cases, the truck driver is at least partly liable, since they were driving the truck and are ultimately responsible for safely operating the vehicle. Unfortunately, some truck drivers drive recklessly, drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or are drowsy from being behind the wheel for many hours.
- Truck Company: Too many truck companies expect their drivers to meet unrealistic deadlines. As a result, they may overload their trucks, drive too fast, or remain on duty for too many hours.
- Leasing Company: The leasing company is responsible for the trucks it leases out.
- Maintenance Company: If the trucks are maintained by a separate company, the maintenance company may share liability.
- Manufacturing Company: In some cases, a truck accident is caused by a defective part, including the brakes, tires, or headlights. If this is the case, the manufacturing company could be held liable for the accident. Truck accident victims will likely be able to recover a sizable amount since these companies tend to have large insurance policies.
- Loading Crew: When a truck is overloaded, or not properly loaded, it is more likely to tip. It can also damage the brake system. If the loading crew does not load the cargo properly, the cargo company may be held liable.
Many large trucks are also equipped with a black box, which reveals important information about the accident, including how fast the truck was going at the time of the accident, the location of the accident, and how often the driver hits the brakes. Experts who know how to recover and analyze the information on the black box can provide important information about the accident.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
While driver negligence is one of the main causes of truck accidents, the following are examples of other possible causes:
- Improperly secured cargo, overloaded cargo, or other trucking violations
- Hours of Service violations
- Failure to properly train prospective drivers
- Failure to properly repair or maintain the truck
If you are injured in a truck accident, the most important thing to do is obtain immediate medical attention. Avoid talking to insurance companies, particularly an adjuster representing the truck driver or the company that may be liable for your injuries. Because of the multiple parties that may be liable, it is also important that you contact a truck accident lawyer so that they can investigate the accident and ensure that your legal rights are protected.
Our Virginia Beach Truck Accident Lawyers Advocate for All Truck Accident Victims
If you were injured in a truck accident, contact the Virginia Beach truck accident lawyers today. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we will investigate the details of your case and determine who is liable for your injuries. Our experienced legal team will address all your questions and concerns and walk you through every step of the claims process. We will ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 757-352-2237 or contact us online. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we represent individuals nationwide, including those in Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and throughout North Carolina.