Motor vehicle accidents are emotional experiences. There’s the stress of dealing with injuries as well as the damage to your vehicle. Filing an insurance claim is also not the most fun process. But when a commercial truck driver is involved in the accident, the insurance process and pursuit of compensation for your injuries is different.
Commercial trucking accidents differ from crashes that just involve passenger cars. One reason is that the truck drivers involved in accidents are usually employed by trucking companies. As the employer, a carrier may bear legal responsibility for its truck drivers’ actions. In addition to a truck driver and the carrier, several other parties may be liable for a truck accident. Trucking companies often send their own investigators to the scene – sometimes having investigators on the scene in less than an hour. In fact, some defense firms have an investigator on-call 24 hours a day to send to the scene of serious accidents. While it is not probable for the injured party to get someone on the scene that quickly, significant information is often gathered in the hours and days following a wreck that simply cannot be found weeks later. For this reason, a thorough review of the scene needs to be completed as soon as possible as vital clues may not be present.
So, how do you know who is responsible?
The trucking company is accountable for the truck drivers and the actual trucks it puts on the road. This includes responsibility for hiring, training practices, truck maintenance, and insurance. Sometimes carriers will cut corners on training or truck repairs and maintenance to save money. This shady practice only leads to more serious accidents if they occur.
Truck drivers can also cause accidents through negligent behavior such as speeding and driving while tired or distracted. Carriers occasionally work as contractors, meaning they transport cargo for other companies. If the cargo is sealed the entire time the driver is in control, the cargo originator, shipper, loader and transporter all need to be examined. If the evidence points toward a mechanical failure that is beyond repair, such as brake failure or a tire blowout, the part itself could be defective. In this case, a product liability claim may be brought to hold the manufacturer or distributor accountable.
A trucking attorney who is familiar with trucking rules and regulations should be hired to handle such cases. They will review the truck driver’s activity logs and all evidence from the crash scene, inspect police reports, view traffic camera videos if available, and speak with witnesses to determine what happened and who is responsible. If you are injured in a commercial truck wreck, contact a lawyer, today.
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