Who Is Liable After a Truck Crash?
Tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and other big rigs are immense, complex machines that take a lot of cooperation to operate, maintain and load in a safe and responsible manner. When a truck crash occurs, rarely does the truck driver admit or acknowledge fault or responsibility, and liability can be challenging when the driver does not step up and admit negligence. Crash victims, meanwhile, may be dealing with severe physical and emotional injuries that put them in need of significant compensation from the responsible party or parties. Gilbert Adams Law Offices in Beaumont has decades of experience investigating and litigating complex truck wreck injury cases and understands the difficult issues surrounding the question of liability. Read on for a discussion of liability in a truck crash. If you or a family member has been injured in such a wreck, contact Gilbert Adamas Law Offices to speak with a skilled and knowledgeable Texas personal injury lawyer.
The Intricacies of Establishing Responsibility in Truck Crashes
In the aftermath of a truck crash, several parties could be potentially liable. Unlike typical car accidents, where liability often rests with one of the drivers, truck accidents can involve multiple responsible parties, each playing a different role in causing or failing to prevent the crash and your resulting injuries and damages.
Truck Driver Responsibility
The driver of the truck is often first considered for establishing liability. Driver error, such as fatigue or drowsy driving, distracted driving, or driving under the influence, can be significant factors in truck crashes. However, liability is not always straightforward. It’s essential to investigate if the driver violated any state or federal transportation laws or regulations, such as hours of service rules, which could be crucial in establishing liability.
Trucking Company Liability
Trucking companies can also be held responsible, especially if they have failed to adhere to safety regulations, pressured drivers into unsafe practices or turned a blind eye by failing to train or enforce reasonable safety regulations. These companies are required to follow strict laws regarding vehicle maintenance, driver training, hours of service, and other regulations imposed on the trucking company to ensure safety on the roadways. Violations of these laws can directly contribute to collisions, thereby making the company independently liable in addition to the acts and omissions of the truck driver. If the crash was caused by a negligent driver employed by the trucking company, several legal concepts can be used to hold the trucking company liable alongside the driver. For instance, under many circumstances, the truck driver might be considered a statutory employee of the trucking company and therefore legally responsible pursuant to the doctrine of respondeat superior.
Manufacturers and Maintenance Providers
In some cases, responsibility might also lie with the manufacturer of the vehicle itself or its components. Faulty brakes, tire blowouts, or other mechanical failures can create liability on the part of maintenance or mechanic providers who undertook the duty to safely maintain the truck, tractor and trailer. Product manufacturers supplying defective parts might also be responsible. These entities have a responsibility to ensure that trucks are safe for the road, and their failure to do so can make them liable. This can be especially important where the number of persons injured or killed or the extent of the injuries exceeds available insurance limits. Important regulations might also affect the amount of insurance required.
Other Contributing Factors
Additionally, other factors such as loading or securing cargo or the load or even governmental entities responsible for road construction or maintenance can play a part. Incorrectly loaded and unsecured loads can cause stability issues leading to tip-overs and collisions, creating responsibility for those who loaded the truck or trailer. Crashes caused by unbalanced or unsecured loads or overloaded trailers can make the freight shipper, the driver, and the trucking company all responsible for contributing to the injuries and damages caused. Meanwhile, poor road conditions, construction areas, lack of proper signage, or faulty traffic signals can also contribute to wrecks, potentially making those parties liable under certain circumstances.
Navigating the Complexities of Truck Crashes in Texas With Gilbert Adams Law Offices
Establishing liability in a truck crash requires a thorough investigation and an understanding of both state and federal laws and regulations. Gilbert Adams Law Offices possesses the expertise and resources to meticulously examine every aspect of your case. Our approach includes:
In-depth Investigations: We dig deep into driver records, maintenance logs, electronic and digital crash data recorded by onboard computers or cameras, driver training, and driving history including other wrecks or traffic violations to uncover every relevant detail.
Expert Collaboration: Working with accident reconstruction experts where necessary, we piece together the precise cause of the crash, thereby preventing the insurance lawyers from making up excuses for the wreck.
Legal Proficiency: Our firm’s deep knowledge of Texas laws and trucking regulations ensures a zealous representation of your interests.
What Victims Should Do Following a Truck Crash
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck crash, taking immediate steps is crucial. First and foremost, ensure prompt medical attention for any immediate injuries and follow up for a thorough examination. Additionally, consider these steps:
Do NOT give a Recorded Statement: The trucking company’s insurance company will seek to obtain a recorded statement from you. However, they know how to ask tricky questions that might improve their position to your detriment.
Document the Scene with Photographs: If possible, take photos of the accident scene, including vehicle positions and any road conditions or signs.
Gather Information: Collect contact information from witnesses and involved parties.
Report the Accident: Notify the police and ensure an official report is filed.
Consult a Legal Expert: Contact a personal injury law firm like Gilbert Adams Law Offices to discuss your case.
Call Gilbert Adams Law Offices After a Truck Crash in Texas
Truck crashes can cause life-altering injuries and damages to you and your loved ones, and understanding who is legally responsible is essential for obtaining adequate compensation and redress for your damages. With Gilbert Adams Law Offices, you gain a committed ally in navigating these challenging cases. Our Beaumont-based team is dedicated to supporting injury victims across Texas, providing expertise and guidance every step of the way.
If you’re dealing with the aftermath of a truck crash, don’t face it alone. Call Gilbert Adams Law Offices at 409-835-3000 for a free consultation and ensure your rights are protected in this complex legal landscape.