Truck accidents are very different from car accidents. One of the most significant distinctions is that several parties can be held accountable following a truck crash. If you or someone you know has sustained injuries in a truck crash, an independent inquiry of the accident is necessary to identify the at-fault parties liable for your wounds and other damages.
Our legal team at the Foos Gavin Law Firm litigates and investigates all types of truck accidents on behalf of the injured victims and families who lost their loved ones. Get in touch with us today to learn more about your rights following a truck crash, including the right to seek compensation from several parties.
Understanding Liability in Truck Accidents
Trucks, like other vehicles, should follow traffic rules outlined in the California Penal Code to create a safe and secure driving environment. As a result, any actions or decisions made by motorists would play a vital part in causing truck accidents.
Similarly to this, other parties who have a major involvement in building and maintaining roads, trucks, and other essential components of the truck should carry out their responsibilities with care.
Serious accidents involving truck crashes could result from substandard product delivery or poor maintenance. Therefore, each party involved should adhere to the guiding rules of operation to maintain high levels of care.
Parties Responsible for a Truck Accident
As a truck accident victim seeking compensation, you should determine who is at fault in the incident. Identifying the right parties to list as defendants in this lawsuit is vital to the case's success since you must demonstrate their civil liability. Your goal should be to hold the appropriate party responsible for your damages so that your attorney can prove all the necessary legal requirements.
Most elements of culpability in civil cases arise from the tort of negligence. When your attorney files a tort suit, he or she should establish that the responsible party acted in all four aspects of negligence for the court to award compensation for damages.
As a result, your lawyer will walk you through the 4 essential elements of a negligence claim. These include the following:
- Establishing a legal duty of care imposed on the responsible party
- Determining whether the responsible party violated the duty of care
- Proving the link between the negligence and the incident's outcome
- Demonstrating the losses you incurred as a result of the accident
When deciding who should be held accountable for the accident, it is essential to keep in mind all four factors since you will need to provide enough proof to back up your allegations against that party.
Truck accidents happen for a variety of reasons, which means that various situations have different liable parties. The following parties could be involved:
The Truck Driver
Most offended accident victims would quickly hold the trucker liable for the accident since he or she is in control of the truck. Therefore, to make a valid compensating claim, you need to demonstrate that the truck driver was acting in violation of the law or gross negligence.
Before taking on the position, the driver should have undergone extensive training, which includes being informed of traffic laws and responsibilities when operating the truck. For instance, California VC 23152 forbids drivers from operating vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs due to the known dangers of drunk driving. Therefore, if the truck driver in question is under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the event, they would be liable for the allegations you make in court.
The employment scope test involves determining whether the truck driver was engaging on behalf of the firm or employer. For example, if the accident took place on a tracked route and during working hours, the truck driver would be covered under the employment scope. On the other hand, vicarious liability might not apply if the driver took a diversion or used the company's vehicle for personal errands.
Your stake in the incident may also differ based on whether the truck driver's liability was direct or passed to the employer. In this case, you should take into account elements like the financial position of the truck driver to cover damages in comparison to the trucking company. Truck drivers who are found liable are often unable to settle the expensive legal fees and damages on their own.
As a result, your lawyer will advise you and assist in imposing vicarious liability for the truck driver's actions on the respondent superior. This puts you in a better place to get compensation for the incident.
Truck Maintenance Crew
Some truck accidents are unavoidable, especially if the fault is undetectable while the truck driver does the required inspection. Therefore, the case circumstances are crucial in determining whether faults were caused by poor maintenance and logistics. If the liable parties are at fault, your personal injury attorney can gather further evidence to support your claim.
If the truck in question had major mechanical flaws that ultimately caused the accident, you could choose to sue the maintenance crew liable for the damages sustained. Assume the truck driver noted a sudden malfunction with the brakes, causing him or her to respond slowly. In that situation, you can launch an investigation into the maintenance crew to investigate why the flaws went undetected leading up to the crash.
Most maintenance technicians are part of the trucking firm that leases or rents out the trucks to customers. Therefore, a truck firm representative would be your first option for a respondent. This is because he or she can clarify the violations that happened during the routine maintenance checkups.
The Truck Driver's Trainer
Before a trucker is ready for permanent employment, he or she should complete extensive training to meet the required professional qualifications. The training covers both practical and theoretical skills that the aspiring driver can apply as a guide in real-life scenarios.
Since trucks are enormous vehicles that could easily wreak havoc on the roadways, the trainers in charge of evaluating and authorizing drivers need to take a practical and inclusive approach to guarantee that the trainees know how to control the various types of complications.
A newly certified driver involved in a truck crash could hold the trainers accountable for failing to adequately prepare them for the task. Your injury attorney can also inquire further about the driver's conduct with the involved trainers to determine whether they ought to be held accountable for the case.
Some of the elements that put trainers directly at fault is receiving bribes from trucking firms to authorize trainee truck drivers before offering them the training they need. If the training firm fails to assess a driver's competence before awarding the certification, you could be capable of holding them partially accountable for the accident. Other parties, such as the truck driver and firm, will bear the additional responsibility.
The Road Maintenance Department
Truck accidents can also occur when a driver loses control due to poorly maintained roadways. For instance, if a truck heads down a sloped roadway without warning signs of sharp bends, the driver could encounter unexpected situations and lose control.
If you drive close to or walk towards a truck as it makes a sudden change of direction off the roadway, you will almost certainly be involved in a high-impact crash that will lead to catastrophic injuries. At times, the road may have potholes as a result of poor maintenance and substandard craftsmanship. Because of this, the driver may veer off the designated path to dodge the potholes, exposing himself or herself to a fatal accident.
Roll-over accidents occur when the driver loses control of the truck on steep descending slopes. As a result, the potholes could force the truck to veer off the road causing the crash, especially if it was traveling quite quickly.
When providing proof to blame the local road maintenance department, your attorney should consider discrediting any possibilities of liability from your conduct on the roadway. If he or she succeeds in this, the liability lies mainly on the local maintenance body and, if necessary, the trucker.
Most transit trucks are ideal for carrying bulky materials from one area to another. As a result, a truck loader plays an important role in making sure that bulky cargo is secured inside the vehicle. Furthermore, the loaders need to ensure that the goods are kept in place by solid fasteners to prevent goods from sliding back on ascending slopes.
Before giving the driver the go-ahead, the truck loader should also lock the truck doors to avoid situations in which cargo falls off the trailer and onto the roadway. The ideal approach comprises a checklist that covers all steps before the truck driver starts the journey.
However, most goods are loaded and unloaded quickly to optimize client satisfaction. Truck accidents caused by dropped cargo and open back doors are common and can result in catastrophic injuries.
For instance, if you follow a heavy rig on a steep roadway, the doors could open, letting the loaded cargo fall onto your vehicle's windscreen. Any abrupt braking or efforts to veer off the track could also result in accidents involving multiple other parties.
Your personal injury attorney should give adequate proof to demonstrate that the loading of products in the vehicle was negligent, subjecting you to a catastrophic accident. You could be entitled to compensation for the injuries sustained if the court accepts the evidence and finds the party to blame.
Truck and Spare Part Manufacturers
Some technical issues are also the result of negligence on the part of the truck's manufacturer during assembly and design. As a result, the trucker is more likely to encounter unforeseen issues that could result in accidents during adverse circumstances.
When releasing a product, the manufacturer should follow strict standards with the customer in mind. Because a truck is a massive vehicle, for instance, its mechanical components should be strong enough to last a long period. For such reasons, truck manufacturers ought to use standard components that don't result in frequent issues that can occasionally be out of the driver's control.
Other spare part vendors also sell fake parts that are difficult to spot. The truck's efficiency will be poor due to the inferior quality of the counterfeit spare parts, which could lead to unexpected driving issues. You could suffer terrible truck accident injuries if the trucker is unable to stabilize their truck.
When pursuing a lawsuit against spare part vendors, truck designers, or manufacturers, it is necessary to gather proof demonstrating that the truck components were faulty. When a truck accident occurs, the manufacturer could sometimes try to avoid liability by contesting the legitimacy of the defective vehicle parts.
The Truck's Passengers
As already indicated, truck accidents are frequently caused by distractions, largely because attention deficit impairs the driver's capacity to react appropriately. When the accident was caused by a distraction from a passenger in the truck, you may hold the individual liable.
To avoid distractions, the majority of trucking businesses forbid their operators from performing transit jobs while carrying unauthorized passengers. Therefore, if the culpable passenger wasn't intended to be in the car during regular business hours.
Similarly, if the operator was authorized to transport passengers, they need to reveal whether the passengers were specifically told not to create any distractions while driving. When the other party bears exclusive liability, the claim will be admissible.
Given that you will need to obtain some proof from the trucker or their employer, showing that a passenger was the primary cause of distractions could be difficult. However, your lawyer might negotiate with the parties to convince the transportation business to give the required information.
Your case will start to come together once you have obtained the necessary proof. For instance, if that particular truck has a voice recording system, you could play back the audio and show the driver exactly what the passenger did to divert his or her attention. By doing this, you will have the option of either choosing to lay all of the blame on the passenger or partially blame the driver.
Other types of evidence are surveillance footage captured by traffic cameras that demonstrates the passenger participating in distracting acts like showing the driver something on their phone or requesting hands-on assistance whereas the operator should have been steering the truck.
Other Road Users
Also, a truck collision may occur as a consequence of the missteps of other motorists, which causes ripple effects, leading to truck crashes. For instance, if you were implicated in a truck accident because a trucker was attempting to avoid another driver who violated a traffic sign, that driver should be held accountable.
Multiple automobile accidents caused by reckless drivers may result in serious consequences for both you and the trucker, even though the third party is unscathed. In this situation, you're still eligible to receive compensation because you were the main victim of negligent conduct.
Evidence to Use Against Potentially Responsible Parties
Whenever truck accidents happen, your truck accident lawyer will look into the details of your matter and research to determine what caused the accident.
Examples of markers that provide details on the potentially liable parties are as follows:
Specifics on How the Accident Happened
Your attorney can identify the culpable party and demonstrate what caused the truck accident. To achieve this, your lawyer will want a qualified accident reconstruction expert who can identify the type of accident and the primary issue that arose just before the accident.
Other important factors that can be used to identify who is at fault include the position of the truck in the accident and the positions of the other cars involved. Additionally, the analysis of the scene of the accident might assist you in gathering crucial data for use as evidence in your claim.
The Recovered Damaged Truck Components or Debris
Your attorney may enlist the help of an expert truck part dealer to confirm the root of mechanical issues when the truck manufacturer is regarded to be the party at fault.
The purpose of obtaining evidence from a 3rd person is to assist in undermining the mechanical component standards that the manufacturers or spare part dealers are using to defend their acts of negligence.
Therefore, if the expert assessor testifies about the poor design and construction of the vehicle components that unavoidably led to the accident, the testimony will be utilized as evidence to implicate the defendants, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome of the case.
Surveillance Video Captured Before and Following the Truck Accident
To gather any reliable evidence, your lawyer should also review any valuable sources of evidence from the security cameras situated along the roadways. Let's say, for instance, that video evidence demonstrates the trucker who struck you was either inattentive or preoccupied.
In this situation, the negligence displayed by the trucker strengthens the grounds for your damages claim.
Police Report Compiled After the Accident
Statements made by both parties immediately after the accident are crucial sources of evidence in court, mainly because they reveal the parties first emotions about the incident. Sometimes, especially when the hit was immediate and undeniable, the trucker could confess culpability.
For instance, the motorist cannot take drastic measures to avoid culpability if the collision happened as a result of the driver using excessive speed while driving. Police records typically include a statement from the truck driver that acknowledges engaging in high-speed driving.
How a Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
Truck accidents can be triggered by one or by a mix of many different factors, which is why these types of cases are so complex. If you were somehow responsible for the collision, it can become even more challenging.
The goal of the insurance providers, including your own, is to hand out the least amount of money possible. It's critical to keep in mind that the insurance provider is not your attorney. The adjuster's objective is to compensate for your damages while spending the least amount of money possible from the insurance provider. They will still prioritize their interests over yours even when they are defending your rights in a dispute with another insurance provider.
The role of a personal injury attorney is to advocate for your rights and what you deserve. However, even in situations where you believe you might have played a part in the accident, we urge everybody who is a participant in the incident that occurred to refrain from accepting responsibility. By doing so, you run the risk of undermining your claim and having contributory negligence imposed on you.
Instead, we advise getting in touch with your attorney as quickly as you can for assistance with providing your statement. In this manner, you may be certain that the reports that will eventually be used as proof in the courtroom contain accurate information. Even though you share some of the culpability for the collision, they will make every effort to reduce your responsibility so that you are still compensated for the fault of other entities.
If somebody was at fault (the other motorist, the trucking business, the truck's manufacturer, or another party), your attorney will learn about it during the discovery phase.
Find a Truck Accident Attorney Near Me
After being injured in a truck crash, you might have to cope with several repercussions, such as recovering from your injuries, mourning the loss of your loved one, or fixing damaged property. As a result, you can easily get overburdened by all of your tasks, making it difficult to seek proper compensation for the damages you incurred. Thus, you will require the assistance of a skilled lawyer who will place your interests first, assist you in the timely filing of your lawsuit, and guide you through every step of the legal process.
Foos Gavin Law Firm has what it takes to comprehensively investigate a truck accident and make credible claims against all involved parties. Consult with our attorneys before signing any documents provided by an insurance provider or the lawyers representing the trucking firm. Our attorneys practice in the city of Sacramento, California. Call us at 916-779-3500 to schedule a free case evaluation.