The at-fault party in a truck accident depends on the crash’s cause and circumstances. Truck drivers can be held responsible for behaving negligently, but trucking and cargo companies can shoulder some responsibility, too. A third party could also have contributed, or more than one party can share liability. A truck accident lawyer at a Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law firm can narrow down who to hold accountable for your accident losses.
When the Truck Driver Is At Fault in a Traffic Accident
Truck drivers must meet the same duty of care as other drivers. They are at fault for an accident if they engaged in reckless behaviors such as the following:
- Driving while impaired
- Following too closely
- Driving while drowsy
- Driving too fast for road conditions
- Illegal or improper turns or lane changes
- Failing to check blind spots
- Failing to yield
- Ignoring traffic signs or signals
Truck Drivers Must Take Extra Care
Some negligent behaviors have different definitions for truck drivers than for passenger vehicle drivers. For instance, what authorities consider tailgating depends on the vehicle’s size. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that trucks need 196 feet to come to a stop at 55 mph in ideal conditions versus 133 feet for other cars. It advises doubling the distance in adverse conditions.
The same is true of simply changing lanes or turning due to the significant blind spots of large commercial vehicles. Speeding is different for a truck driver, too. They are sometimes at fault for going too fast even if they aren’t exceeding the speed limit—trucks need more braking distance and space to maneuver, so they should adjust their speed accordingly.
Determining who is at fault in a truck accident requires assessing the unique challenges of operating a large truck. A truck accident attorney, like those at our firm, can make sure to hold drivers to the proper standard.
For a free legal consultation, call 412-661-1400
When the Trucking Company Is At Fault in a Truck Accident
If a trucking company employed the truck driver, the company might share responsibility for paying your losses after an accident, even if the driver was negligent.
You may need to deal directly with the trucking company’s representatives and insurers rather than with the driver. You can pursue compensation through a claim with their insurance company or sometimes sue the company for damages.
Examples of Trucking Company Negligence
A trucking company is negligent if it does not:
- Properly vet employees before hiring
- Adequately train employees
- Enforce trucking regulations
- Allow enough rest for employees
- Load or secure cargo correctly
- Maintain the vehicles
Pursuing a trucking company liability case can involve investigations into the business itself, from its hiring and training to its compliance with industry regulations. An attorney from our firm can work with investigators to determine if trucking company negligence leaves them at fault for your accident.
If the Truck Driver Was an Independent Contractor
One way trucking companies avoid sharing blame with their drivers is by contracting them instead of employing them. If this was the case in your truck accident, you can pursue the truck driver for their role in causing your injuries.
However, a trucking company is still at fault if it was negligent. Even if the trucking company in your case employed the driver as a contractor, you can still hold it liable for its failures, such as overloading the truck.
When Another Party Is At Fault in a Truck Accident
Although a large truck may have hit you, the at-fault party might be someone else entirely. Alternatively, a truck driver or company’s negligence was potentially not the only negligence at play.
Our personal injury attorneys don’t just consider truck drivers and companies but determine if anyone else was at fault or played a role.
Another driver’s behavior may have caused a chain of events that resulted in a truck hitting you. This includes apparent negligence, like drunk driving, and less obvious carelessness, like unexpectedly cutting in front of a large truck.
If the other driver’s car didn’t hit you, you may face challenges in pursuing them as the at-fault party. A car accident lawyer can review evidence, talk to witnesses, and determine if another driver’s actions were a factor.
Truckers and trucking companies often transport cargo that isn’t theirs. If your truck accident involved an issue with the cargo, you could pursue legal action against the company responsible for the shipment.
Cargo companies must provide enough information to ensure their product is transported safely. That can include instructions on how to handle and load the cargo, as well as proper labeling of potential hazards.
Manufacturers and Maintenance Crews
Product defects caused by auto parts manufacturers and designers, as well as mistakes made by maintenance crews, can cause issues with a truck that leads to accidents.
Examples of this type of negligence include:
- Design flaws
- Manufacturing errors
- Installation mistakes
- Lack of warnings
These errors are sometimes found in several products, like a design flaw that results in a recall. Others are defects in just one piece in one truck.
An example of this kind of case is a tire blowout. If the tire is defective, the tire company is liable, whereas mistakes in installing and filling the tire could instead place the blame on a maintenance crew.
Private property owners and government entities can be at-fault parties in a truck accident. Examples include failure to maintain roads or warn about hazards.
These cases are sometimes complicated, especially when they involve a city or state government agency that has different deadlines for claims and suits. Talk to an attorney if you suspect property owner negligence contributed to your truck accident.
How to Determine Who Is Responsible for Truck Accident Damages
To narrow down the multiple possibilities for who is at fault, a legal team can use evidence like:
- Traffic camera footage
- Bystander testimony and video
- Photos from the scene
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Drug and alcohol testing
- Accident reconstruction
- Debris analysis
- Testimony from experts
- Background investigation
- Truck transportation logs
- Employment information
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
We Can Help Identify Who Is At Fault in Your Truck Accident – Call Us Today for Help
At Berger and Green, we can investigate to determine who to hold accountable in a truck accident. Then, we can fight for compensation from the appropriate parties, seeking maximum damages for losses like medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Contact us today for your free consultation.