First of all, if you’re reading this and you’ve survived a vehicle crash with a semi-trailer truck – or really, any commercial truck – consider yourself SUPER LUCKY and/or blessed because not many live to tell the tale. A massively heavy commercial truck colliding or crashing with your puny passenger vehicle has the very high potential to be a fatal disaster.
So if you are one of the few lucky ones to have survived such a crash with a commercial truck on the roads or highways of America, you’ve probably already thought about fault and liability. Heck, you might’ve even talked to your insurance agent already and had this conversation with them.
Who is responsible for a commercial truck crash? The answer might surprise you. If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a commercial truck crash in any state of the United States, there are a number of parties or multiple parties who may be liable for your losses!
And just like anybody trying to protect their own side and cover their own ass, it’s not unusual for these parties to deny fault or liability for a crash that involved you.
This happens even if they are at obvious fault of causing the crash in the first place! In these situations, you can’t rely on the kindness of people to make things right.
The liable parties of a commercial truck crash involving a passenger vehicle can include the following:
- The Commercial Truck driver
- The Commercial Trucking company
- The Owner of the commercial truck involved in the crash
- The Company that leases the truck
- The Company that leases the trailer
- The Shipper who wanted the load transported
- The truck, trailer or parts manufacturer
Injuries sustained in truck accidents can be pretty severe. How bad can truck accident injuries get? Severe injuries in commercial truck crash’s can include:
- severe brain trauma
- spinal cord damage
- bodily disfigurement
- severe body burns
- broken bones
- partial or full paralysis of parts of the body or the whole body
- Dismemberment or Death
There are a number of lawsuits that involve commercial truck crashes.
Some commercial truck crash lawsuits include negligence, where lawsuits filed to recover compensation for injuries sustained in a truck accident will often be based on the truck driver’s negligence.
Some common indications of commercial truck driver negligence leading to a commercial truck crash can include:
- Lack of commercial truck driving experience
- Overloading semi-trailer trucks
- Operating oversized semi trucks on narrow roads
- Failure to see other vehicles on the road due to the truck’s large blind spot
- Commercial truck driver failing to obey US traffic laws
- Commercial truck driver driving for too long without taking a break
- Failure to monitor the driving hours of the commercial truck driver
- Not keeping the commercial tractor and/or commercial truck trailer in a safe, working condition
- Hiring an unqualified or unfit commercial truck driver
- Failure to properly supervise the commercial truck driver
- Failure to properly train the commercial truck driver
- Selecting an unqualified or unfit commercial truck company for logistics
To prevail or win in a negligence lawsuit involving a commercial truck crash and a passenger vehicle, the injured will have to show the following:
- The commercial truck driver had a duty of care to other vehicles on the road,
- The commercial driver breached this duty through some action or failure to act,
- an injury was sustained, and
- the breach of duty caused the injury.
In some commercial truck crash instances, the owner of the trucking company and manager, the owner of the truck, the employer of the driver, and their respective insurance companies may ALL be liable after a crash!
Product Liability: If a defect in the commercial truck or one of its components contributed to the accident, there may be a viable claim against the product manufacturer(s).
Product liability lawsuits based on manufacturer’s negligence will require the injured party to show the following:
- The defective truck or a particular part was “unreasonably dangerous”
- The commercial truck was being operated as the manufacturer intended
- The commercial semi-truck’s performance had not changed since its initial purchase
Product liability suits may also be sought under strict liability where proof of negligence is unnecessary.
However, the claimants must prove the defect originated in the manufacturing process to prevail or win. This will require detailed analysis, extensive testing, and testimony by expert witnesses.
Wrongful Death: Many times, truck accidents are so severe that the victim does not survive the crash. In some cases, the family may bring a claim on behalf of their loved one to recover compensation for their losses.
Wrongful death claims require the family to prove the same facts as the deceased, had they survived and pursued a claim on their own.
An experienced and successful commercial trucking crash attorney can help family members recover economic, non-economic, and, in certain cases, punitive damages for the loss of their loved one. Contact us today to get a free case assessment.