How to Determine Liability in a Truck Accident

How to Determine Liability in a Truck Accident

An accident with a commercial truck can have devastating consequences. People involved in crashes with 18-wheelers and other large commercial vehicles often suffer from permanent injuries and wrongful death due to the immense size of the truck.

If you or a loved one has been in a truck accident, you understand pain and anguish that can result. There are medical bills to pay, ongoing treatment to schedule, and much, much more. Filing a personal injury claim can help you get justice for holding the liable parties responsible. However, first you must determine who was responsible for the crash. Our Kansas City truck accident attorney explains how to determine liability in a truck accident.

Who Is At Fault for a Truck Accident?

Figuring out who caused a truck accident can be far more difficult than it sounds. There are many people and institutions involved in commercial trucking operations, and any one of them may have been at fault.

One or more of the following parties could be held liable for a truck accident victim’s injuries:

  • The truck driver
  • The owner of the truck
  • The trucking company who employs the driver
  • The manufacturer of the truck, tires, or other parts
  • The loading company in charge of the truck’s cargo

So, which one or more of the above can be held liable for your motor vehicle wreck? Who is at fault can only be determined once you figure out what caused the accident in the first place.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Like any motor vehicle crash, there are myriad factors that can go into a truck accident, such as inclement weather, reckless driving, and poor road design. Once the cause is determined, liability can be traced to the correct individual or company.

Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:

  • Aggressive driving: Some truck drivers may tailgate, weave in and out of lanes, or otherwise drive aggressively. This can lead to serious accidents, especially considering the size and weight of the vehicle, and places the driver at fault.
  • Alcohol and drugs: The effects of drugs and alcohol on one’s driving ability can be devastating. In this case, the fault would also likely fall on the truck driver (though there are cases in which partial responsibility may be placed on the individual or establishment who sold them alcohol).
  • Distracted driving: If the truck driver was talking on their phone, texting, eating, or was otherwise distracted at the time of the accident, they can be held at fault.
  • Fatigue: Truckers are often expected to drive for long hours at a time and meet tight delivery quotas. This pressure can encourage them to drive on little sleep. In this case, the driver and/or the company that forced such strict timelines on them may be held liable.
  • Malfunctions or defects: If a truck crashes due to something like engine failure or a tire blowout, liability could fall on the company that built and/or maintains the truck.
  • Overloaded and improperly loaded trucks: An overloaded or improperly loaded trailer makes a truck extremely difficult to control. This can lead to accidents such as a truck flipping over or cargo falling out of the back. In such an accident, the loading company may be held responsible.
  • Speeding: Speeding is a major cause of truck-related accidents and responsibility usually falls on the driver (though, the trucking company might be found partially responsible as well if they put too much pressure on the driver).

How a Lawyer Can Help

Determining liability can be anything but straightforward. An irresponsible trucking company may try to cover up their mismanagement and their insurance company will attempt to make it look as though you are to blame for the accident. That combined with the stress and pain that already comes with the aftermath of a wreck can make the thought of challenging the responsible parties especially daunting.

An experienced truck accident lawyer can take the pressure off you by putting together the necessary legal documents and investigating the accident scene on your behalf. We can collect evidence, talk to witnesses, and consult with accident reconstructionists to prove exactly how the accident occurred and who is at fault. This will ensure that whoever was at fault gets their day in court and you can rest knowing you helped hold the wrongdoers accountable and responsible.

To learn more about how our Kansas City truck accident lawyer can help you, contact us to schedule a free consultation.

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