If you were injured in a truck accident, you will most likely suffer significantly more serious injuries than in a passenger vehicle crash. This is because a truck can weigh as much as 25 times more than a car when it is fully loaded. You could be off work for months or longer while you recover from your injuries—if you are able to return to your former job at all. You will need to be fully compensated for your losses to pay your expensive medical bills and your monthly living expenses. One way to ensure you receive what you deserve is to pursue your claim with any party that is potentially responsible.
Why Is it Important to Identify All Responsible Parties?
When you are seeking compensation after an accident, it is not enough to convince the negligent party that you are owed a certain amount of compensation. The negligent party has to have the funds to pay you. If a poverty-stricken person admits he caused your accident and that you are owed $500,000, it does you no good if he does not have a steady income or other assets to use to pay what he owes.
There is a good likelihood that your claim will be higher due to the severity of your injuries. The truck driver who caused your crash may not have an insurance policy that covers all of your damages. What if the maximum policy limit is $200,000 but your claim is worth $600,000? Even if you file a claim with the trucking company, its insurance policy could be insufficient, especially if it is a small mom and pop trucking company. Seeking compensation from all of the individuals and businesses potentially responsible increases the odds that you will receive the amount your case is worth.
Who Are the Potential Parties in a Truck Accident Case?
Who is responsible for compensating you will depend on the facts of your case and how your accident occurred. Often, more than one cause contributed to your crash, which could mean more parties to pursue. Parties that you should look at include:
- Truck driver. In almost all cases, the truck driver will be a primary responsible party. There are many ways he could have been negligent, such as speeding, talking on a cell phone or texting, or driving while intoxicated. In addition, his violation of federal regulations governing the trucking industry could have contributed to the crash. For example, he may have driven more than 11 straight hours in violation of the hours-of-service rules.
- Trucking company. If a trucker works for a trucking company, the trucking company could be liable for its employee’s negligence. In addition, the company could have been negligent on its own if it failed to properly train truck drivers, negligently hired them, or allowed trucks to be driven in need of maintenance or inspections. Trucking companies must follow detailed federal regulations regarding the operation of their trucks and hiring of truckers. Chances are that a violation of these rules contributed to your injuries.
- Owner of the truck. If the trucking company or an individual trucker leased the truck, the owner of the truck could face liability.
- Shipper. The company hiring the truck driver or trucking company to ship the goods could face liability if it did not adequately research the qualifications of the drivers.
- The company responsible for loading the cargo. Since improperly loaded goods is a huge cause of crashes, you should look to the company responsible for loading the cargo—often a separate entity—if this is an issue.
- Maintenance and repair facility. Third parties can be responsible for truck maintenance and repair. When work is done improperly, such as to the brakes, the maintenance company could face some liability for causing your crash.
- Parts and truck manufacturer. If a defective component or part contributed to your injuries, you may have a claim against the parts supplier and the truck manufacturer.
How Do You Determine Whom to Pursue?
Finding the responsible parties requires a thorough investigation of your accident, the paper trail of potential parties, and the knowledge of applicable state and federal regulations. If you need the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney, call our firm today at (404) 998-5252 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with David Brauns.