Accidents involving commercial trucks tend to be far more complex than accidents involving other types of vehicles. Not only are the injuries resulting from accidents involving semi-trucks often far more serious than the injuries caused by other types of auto accidents, but the number of potentially liable parties in truck crashes tends to be higher as well. With passenger vehicle crashes, the only parties that face liability are usually the drivers and owners of the vehicles involved.
Commercial truck crashes, however, often involve several other parties. This makes proving liability in these types of cases extremely difficult, and it requires vast experience and knowledge of trucking laws and regulations to do so. Therefore, following an accident with a semi-truck, it is imperative to seek the assistance of an experienced truck accident lawyer to ensure that the responsible parties are identified and held accountable. In this article, we examine how many parties may be at fault in an accident involving a semi-truck.
Potential Defendants in a Truck Accident Case
Since accidents involving semi-trucks often result in more serious injuries than typical car accidents, it is important to identify each party responsible for the crash to obtain full compensation for any resulting injuries. The list of parties who may be responsible for a serious accident extend far beyond the truck driver. Potential defendants in a crash involving a semi-truck include:
- The trucking company
- The cargo shipper and loader
- The manufacturer of the truck
- The parts maker
- Third-party vendors
- Government agencies and contractors
Parties That Can Be Held Liable After a Truck Accident
To determine who or what caused a crash, a thorough investigation is often necessary. A full review of the available evidence by an experienced truck accident attorney can help identify the responsible party or parties, allowing the injured driver to pursue compensation for injuries caused by the crash. Parties who can be held liable after an accident involving a semi-truck include:
The truck driver: Truck drivers are routinely responsible for semi-truck accidents. Common ways that truck drivers cause accidents include speeding, driving while fatigued, driving while distracted, and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Truck drivers are also responsible for inspecting their vehicles to ensure proper maintenance and loading of cargo. If a truck driver’s actions contribute to an accident, they may be held legally responsible for any resulting injuries.
The trucking company: Trucking companies are responsible for the trucks and truck drivers they put on the road. Part of this responsibility includes implementing safe hiring, training, and vehicle maintenance practices. Trucking companies that employ drivers with poor driving records, fail to properly train their employees, or fail to properly maintain their vehicles can be held liable for any resulting accidents.
The cargo shipper and loader: Some trucking companies work as contractors to ship cargo for other companies. In this type of arrangement, the cargo originator, the shipper, the loader, and the transporter all must comply with applicable federal and state regulations. If they fail to do so, they can be held liable if their negligence results in an accident.
The truck manufacturer and parts makers: Accidents involving trucks are sometimes caused by failure of the vehicle itself or one of its component parts. For example, brake failures, tire blowouts, and issues with steering or coupling systems are common causes of truck accidents. Although these types of issues can arise due to poor maintenance, they are also sometimes the result of defective parts. A party who is injured in an accident with a semi-truck due to the failure of a component part may file a product liability claim to obtain financial compensation for his or her injuries.
Other vendors: Depending on the size of a trucking company’s operations, it may hire vendors to take on outsourced work. This may include administrative work, such as conducting background checks, recruiting drivers, and administering alcohol and drug tests. It may also include fleet operations, such as truck maintenance, truck repair, and dispatching work. In addition, some trucking companies work with brokers to find cargo shipments for their vehicles. Any third-party vendor whose negligence contributes to a semi-truck accident may be held liable for any resulting injuries.
Government agencies and contractors: Finally, if a roadway hazard, such as broken pavement or a soft shoulder, contributes to a wreck involving a truck, the local or state government responsible for maintenance of the road may face liability. In addition, a maintenance contractor hired by the government may be held liable if its work contributed to a crash.
Proving Fault in a Truck Crash Case
To demonstrate fault in an accident involving a semi-truck, it is necessary to prove that another party’s negligence, which is a failure to act reasonably and carefully, caused or contributed to the crash. Proving negligence in Florida requires an injured party to demonstrate the following elements:
- Duty: First, the victim must prove that the responsible party was legally obligated to act with reasonable care.
- Breach of duty: Next, the injured party must provide evidence that the other party breached this duty by failing to act with reasonable care.
- Causation: The person who was injured in the accident must then prove that his or her injuries were a direct result of the defendant’s breach of duty.
- Damages: Finally, the injured party must prove that they suffered demonstrable losses because of the accident.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been hurt in an accident involving a semi-truck in Florida, you need an experienced truck accident lawyer on your side. At Harrell & Harrell, P.A., we focus solely on helping our clients prevail in personal injury cases. For over 40 years, we’ve helped accident victims obtain financial compensation for their injuries. Our personal injury attorneys have a deep understanding of the difficulties faced by accident victims. So, when you come to us for assistance, we’ll do everything in our power to ensure that you obtain fair compensation for your injuries. Please contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced truck accident attorneys.