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How Do I Know Who Is Responsible After a Truck Accident?

Nichol & Associates, Attorneys at Law April 6, 2018

In the aftermath of a truck accident, it is often difficult to know who is responsible or where to start filing an injury claim. To make matters worse, the damages are often severe, and may incur astronomical medical costs and property damage, and may even cost a victim weeks or months of income because of his or her loss of ability to work.

Facing physical recovery and the ongoing costs of living can easily overwhelm a victim, so it is important to determine whether any other party may hold responsibility for the accident as soon as possible. If you recently experienced truck accident, it is wise to begin researching and building your claim to address your needs.

An experienced attorney can come alongside you and offer useful insight and legal clarity to your claim, helping you keep your priorities and rights protected while you pursue a just resolution to your accident.

Is the Driver an Employee?

Commercial drivers are not always considered employees by the parties that hire them to move cargo. While some drivers do qualify as employees, others are independent operators who work as subcontractors for a company. Among other things, this relationship can change the hiring company’s liability in the event of an accident.

The hiring company may bear a great deal of liability after an accident if the driver works as an employee, but if the driver is an independent contractor, his or her individual insurer may hold liability.

Other Potentially Liable Parties

Large trucks exist in an interesting legal area as far as accident liability is concerned. Because so many different parties may affect the vehicle in one way or another, these parties may face liability for an accident under certain circumstances. For example, if a company hires the truck to haul a load of cargo and its workers load the trailer at the factory, if the load shifts during transport and the shifting load causes or contributes to the accident, the party responsible for the loading may bear responsibility.

It is also possible that a business that maintains or repairs the truck may bear responsibility in some instances. If a repair shop does maintenance on the braking system of the truck, and some failure in the braking system causes the accident, the repair shop may bear liability. Similarly, a parts manufacturer may hold some liability if a part malfunctions and causes the accident.

Build a Claim Quickly but Carefully

Often, one of the most difficult things to navigate after an accident is where to start and how to prove that some other party is actually liable for your injuries. Be mindful to carefully examine all the evidence and use any additional guidance, such as an official accident report, as you build your claim.

As you work towards a fair resolution to your accident, make sure to look closely at all the available evidence to ensure that your claim is strong and that your rights and privileges remain secure.