When driving through Stafford streets and highways, you will undoubtedly come across heavy commercial trucks ferrying goods and materials from across the state. Given the risk posed by such large vehicles, special laws have been enacted to regulate the trucking industry. The rights of motorists, pedestrians, and other road users are protected, allowing them to seek compensation for damages suffered after an accident caused by the negligence of a truck driver. However, the process of recovering damages in a tractor-trailer wreck is not always straightforward.
When filing an accident claim, it is important that you understand the uniqueness of crashes involving large commercial vehicles. Unlike in other motor vehicle accidents, 18-wheeler crashes often involve more than two parties, therefore making it a complex legal course. The truck driver’s employer is often held responsible for the negligent actions of their employee. Therefore, retaining a seasoned Stafford truck accident lawyer should be among your priorities after a crash. The earlier you talk to a qualified personal injury lawyer, the better your chances of obtaining the maximum settlement for your damages.
One may wonder how truck accidents occur, given the numerous laws put in place to curb such accidents. But like any other accident, you may have no control over the truck, no matter how safe you are in your own vehicle. Additionally, a trucker may not always be at fault. For example, if the driver was avoiding hitting a negligent pedestrian, but instead rammed into your vehicle causing you harm, it may be argued that the truck accident had no other choice but to avoid an emergency situation. But before you go ahead and distance the truck operator from blame, you should consult a skilled semi-truck accident lawyer.
Some of the most common causes of 18-wheeler crashes are:
Understanding the cause of your truck accident is very important to your case, as it forms the basis on which fault will be determined. For example, you cannot sue the trucker for intoxicated driving if you do not have the evidence to show that he or she was not drunk at the time of the accident.
Depending on the cause of the accident, you can hold multiple parties responsible for all damages suffered. Regardless of how willing the party at-fault is to compensate you, accepting any terms without the expert advice from a local truck accident lawyer can end your chances of recovering the full value for your injuries later. Always keep in mind that the insurance company of the party at-fault is often never willing to cover all your damages at first and will do everything possible to lower the value of your claims.
The following persons may be responsible for paying for your injury damages through settlement negotiations or by going to trial:
If it’s determined that the truck driver was negligent in one way or another, causing a crash that resulted in your injuries, he or she can be held responsible for the accident. Some of the actions that can make the truck driver liable for the wreck include:
The driver can pay out-of-pocket or through their insurance company.
Trucking companies are responsible for the hiring of competent and well-trained drivers. Any mishap caused by reckless driving by the employee may also be directed to the employer. Depending on the truck’s operations, the company may also be in charge of regular maintenance and repair of worn-out parts and systems of the truck. Therefore, an accident resulting from brake failure could also make the trucking company directly at-fault for the crash, in addition to their fault through the employer-employee relationship.
Not all commercial vehicles are directly owned by renowned trucking companies. Some of them are privately owned by an individual or a separate company. In such cases, the truck owner is responsible for any damage caused by an accident involving their truck. A dedicated accident attorney can help obtain information about the truck owner from the truck’s insurance policy and other avenues beyond your reach.
Truck manufacturers are under a legal obligation to ensure that their products are safe for use before being rolled out for commercial purposes. If a tractor-trailer crash occurs due to a malfunctioning steering system, worn-out tires, brake failure, or any other defect that can be attributed to the manufacturer, your lawyer may hold this company responsible for your resulting injuries.
Filing a claim against parties responsible for an 18-wheeler wreck is often financially and emotionally demanding. Some plaintiffs give up their case when they realize that they’re up against well-established trucking companies and their insurance companies. As expected, trucking companies have the resources to counter any claims against them.
As worried as you might be, you should never give up your legal rights because you feel you have no finances to cover your case. Our Stafford truck accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, where we only get paid if we win your case. Better still, our initial consultations are free, allowing you to discuss your case without worry. Call our office today.