If you’ve been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, big rig, or other commercial vehicles, you likely face car repair, insurance, and medical bills as a result. At the time of an accident, the trucking company launches an investigation to minimize and mitigate any and all fault; you need an experienced trucking accident lawyer on your side to help earn the financial compensation you deserve, especially because it may not be (only) the truck driver at fault for the accident.
Truck driver liability:
If the driver acted negligently by performing dangerous maneuvers on the road, such as speeding, weaving, or tailgating, they can be held liable. Their reckless actions put others in danger and due to the massive size of their vehicles, impart serious damage.
At the depot, trucking companies may have employees dedicated to loading the trucks for the drivers. If they load the cargo in an unbalanced way, it can cause the truck to sway, rollover, or jackknife.
Whether it’s an independent contractor driver or a parent company, they are responsible for the operation of the truck and should make sure that every piece is up to code and running smoothly. They need to check the maintenance of their trucks to ensure all lights, signals, and mechanisms work.
The driver’s employers need to ensure they are hiring legal, skilled, and well-trained drivers to operate behemoth big rigs to mitigate any possible accidents, or damages, down the road. Having an inexperienced driver, or one who has a past and penchant for abusing alcohol and/or drugs, on their roster places them in a liable position. A skilled trucking accident attorney knows how to look for these transgressions.
If a trucking company ships out defective parts, they can be held accountable for an accident. Say a truck driver was cruising along the highway at the appropriate speed and performing their job competently when they needed to come to a safe stop; they pressed the brakes at the appropriate time to slow down, but their truck didn’t reduce in speed because the brake line was faulty, resulting in a rear-end accident. If any part of the brakes was found faulty, the manufacturer will likely need to pay for the damages (or at least a portion of it).
The first (and often best) pieces of advice we can impart if you find yourself in an accident with a big rig are to not answer any questions from insurance agents and only speak to the police, or a trucking accident lawyer, and to get testimony from any witnesses. Contact us immediately if you’ve recently been involved in a trucking accident so that we can assist.