Truck accidents typically lead to more severe injuries and damages than passenger car accidents. Cases involving trucks and trucking companies are very complex. Several parties involved in the trucking industry may bear fault for a crash, not just the driver or trucking company. Hiring a Richardson truck accident lawyer is your best bet to ensure the proper parties are held accountable for your damages.
How Do I Prove the Truck Driver or Company Was At Fault?
No matter who caused your accident, you must prove they’re liable for your damages to recover compensation. Tort law allows an injured party to recover compensation when another party acts negligently. In some cases, certain parties can be held strictly liable for injuries they cause. When strict liability applies, an injured victim doesn’t have to prove the at-fault party was negligent. So, when it comes to proving liability, the goal is for the injured party to prove the at-fault party was either negligent or is strictly liable.
Generally, a party is negligent if they failed to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances and someone else suffered an injury. When it comes to vehicle accidents, reasonable care includes driving safely and following all applicable laws and rules. For example, if the driver caused an accident because they were watching their phone rather than paying attention to the road, they were likely negligent. Additionally, truck drivers and companies involved in the trucking industry must follow state and federal regulations that don’t apply to passenger vehicle drivers. These rules concern loading requirements, weight requirements, inspections, and consecutive hours worked. In general, negligence is easier to prove if a party’s failure to follow a law, regulation, or rule caused the accident.
An accident could also involve strict liability, another legal principle under tort law. When proving strict liability, negligence is not a factor. Instead, parties who are strictly liable are responsible regardless of whether or not they acted wrongly. Strict liability often applies when an injury is caused by a defective product, such as a faulty truck component. In a strict liability case, designers, manufacturers, and any company involved in a product’s distribution chain can be held liable if a defective product caused an injury.
Who Are Possible Parties in a Truck Accident Case?
There are many causes of truck accidents, some of which involve the negligence of parties other than the truck driver. An experienced Richardson, TX truck accident attorney can conduct an extensive investigation into the cause of your crash and identify the parties who can be held responsible for compensating you. Common parties aside from the driver may include the truck manufacturer, cargo loader, maintenance company, or trucking company.
Liability Against the Manufacturer
To prove truck manufacturer liability, you must show that there was a design flaw or manufacturing defect that caused the truck accident. Your attorney might also need to gather evidence that the defect should have been identified and handled in a recall notice.
If a recall notice was issued and the trucking company failed to act on the recall, or a dealership continued to sell a defective model, those parties might also be held liable.
Liability Against Cargo Loaders
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict rules for securing vehicle cargo. Truck cargo loaders must abide by these rules. If they don’t, the truck’s movement can dislodge the cargo. Dislodged cargo can fall onto other vehicles or onto the road and cause an accident. Improperly secured loads can also tilt the truck’s weight to one side, which can make the truck tip over. All of these scenarios could lead to a finding of negligence and entitle you to compensation.
Liability Against the Maintenance Company
The FMCSA also requires truck companies to inspect, maintain and repair their vehicles regularly. Truck drivers also have a responsibility for monitoring the condition of their vehicles on the road, which includes:
- Making pre-trip inspections to detect possible defects or issues that need maintenance or repair;
- Checking both the cargo and the vehicle at least once during the first 50 miles traveled;
- Rechecking the vehicle and cargo after three hours, driving 150 miles, or at duty status changes; and
- Writing an inspection report at the end of each shift.
When truckers and their employers don’t meet these responsibilities, many defects and other issues can go unnoticed and eventually lead to a crash. You could be entitled to compensation if your crash occurred because a truck company or truck driver didn’t follow these or other rules.
Liability Against the Trucking Company
Commercial trucking companies hire and train drivers. If the trucking company fails to ensure its drivers and trucks meet the highest levels of safety, it can make a clear-cut case for negligence.
If the negligent truck driver was an employee of the trucking company, as opposed to an independent contractor, the company might also be vicariously liable for the employee’s actions, even if the company didn’t act negligently. A Richardson truck accident lawyer can help determine whether the driver, trucking company, or both might be liable in your case.
Reach Out to a Richardson, TX Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you want more information about what your truck accident case might be worth, the attorneys at Hartley Law Firm are here to answer all of your questions. Our team is led by award-winning attorney Austin Hartley, who was recognized as one of the Best Lawyers Under 40 by D Magazine in 2022. Hartley Law Firm is dedicated to helping injured people recover the compensation they deserve so that they can get their lives back on track. Contact Hartley Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.