Consultations Are FREE!
Free Consultation Available 24/7
(801) 506-0800

You pay nothing until we win.

Last Modified: October 13, 2023

Determining Who Is at Fault After a Truck Accident

Published on August 28, 2023 • Last updated October 13, 2023 by Ken Christensen
Topics: Truck Accidents

Determining who is at fault after a truck accident

Accidents involving trucks often result in severe damage, injuries, and complex legal battles. Because of trucks’ incredible size and weight, these accidents tend to be more catastrophic than regular car accidents. If you’ve been in such an accident, knowing who is at fault can be critical for getting the compensation you deserve. Good Guys Injury Law is here to guide you through the intricate legal maze and help determine liability.

We know that commercial truck accidents may be confusing and overwhelming. Lots of parties can be liable for a truck accident. For example, both the truck driver and loading company could be liable for yours. If you are a truck accident victim, seek medical care as soon as possible. Then, reach out to our team for a case consultation. We have lots of experience handling trucking accidents, and we can handle yours as well.

Learn more below. Then, reach out to our team.

A Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help Build Your Case

A truck accident lawyer can help build your case

Navigating a truck accident case is not straightforward. These cases often involve multiple parties, intricate laws, and tons of paperwork. Having an experienced lawyer on your side can make the difference between a fair settlement and losing out on compensation. Good Guys Injury Law provides the expertise needed to investigate the accident. We negotiate with insurance companies and advocate for your rights. We will vigorously pursue damages against all potentially liable parties.

Evidence gathering, witness testimonies, and understanding federal trucking regulations are essential to a successful case. It’s not just about knowing the law; it’s about having the resources and experience to dig deep and find the truth. At Good Guys Injury Law, we’ve handled countless truck accident cases. This gives us an edge in understanding the nuances and complexities involved.

When you’re faced with medical bills, lost wages, and emotional trauma after an accident, you need a strong advocate. Our expert team is committed to fighting for the best possible outcome for our clients. We understand the stakes and will tirelessly work to aid you in securing the financial compensation you deserve. Your medical care should always come first. See a doctor after your accident. Then, give us a call to schedule an appointment.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Truck accidents can happen due to a multitude of reasons. Some are unavoidable, while others stem from negligence or oversight. Understanding the common causes is essential for pinpointing liability. We use this to build a strong case. Some of the most common examples of truck accident causes include:

  1. Driver Fatigue: Long hours driving on the highway can lead to exhaustion. Tired drivers might miss crucial signals or react slowly, increasing the risk of accidents.
  2. Mechanical Failures: Trucks require regular maintenance. When overlooked, brakes can fail, or tires can burst, leading to devastating accidents.
  3. Poor Weather Conditions: Trucks can skid or lose control in rainy, snowy, or icy conditions. This is even more likely if drivers aren’t trained to navigate such weather.
  4. Reckless Driving: Speeding, tailgating, or making sudden lane changes without signaling can result in catastrophic collisions.

Accidents involving trucks are often multi-faceted, requiring a keen eye to discern the root cause. By understanding these common triggers, victims can better approach their legal battles. Engaging with experienced legal counsel ensures that every angle is explored. We work to make sure every responsible party is held accountable. Give us a call to speak to our team today.

Types of Truck Accidents

Types of truck accidents

The nature and mechanics of a truck accident can vary widely based on several factors. The type of collision can give significant insights into the causes and potential parties at fault.

  1. Rear-End Collisions: This occurs when a truck hits the vehicle in front of it. It can result from distracted driving, brake failures, or miscalculated stopping distances.
  2. Jackknife Accidents: If a truck driver brakes suddenly, the trailer can shift out violently at an angle, resembling a folding pocket knife. This is extremely dangerous for nearby vehicles.
  3. Underride Accidents: Smaller vehicles can slide under the back or side of a truck during a collision. It’s one of the deadliest types of truck accidents, often resulting in severe injuries.

The consequences of truck accidents can be life-altering. Understanding the kind of accident is vital to determine negligence and liability. Victims deserve proper legal representation to secure their rights and claims regardless of the type.

Primary Parties Involved in a Truck Accident

Primary parties involved in a truck accident

Understanding who’s involved in a truck accident is crucial for determining liability. Various parties could be responsible, either directly or indirectly.

Truck Driver

Truck drivers are often the first to be scrutinized after an accident. Factors like speeding, alcohol consumption, distraction, or fatigue can all play a role in an accident. However, drivers might also be victims of pressure from their employers to meet tight deadlines.

Trucking Company

The company owning the truck can be held responsible for various reasons. They might have enforced unrealistic schedules, failed to maintain their fleet, or neglected proper driver training, all leading to potential accidents.

Vehicle Manufacturer or Parts Supplier

The manufacturer or parts supplier might be liable if a truck’s parts, such as brakes or tires, were defective. It’s essential to investigate if the accident was a result of a mechanical failure caused by a manufacturing defect.

Cargo Loaders or Securement Companies

If the cargo is loaded improperly, it can move during the trip. If this shifting causes an accident, the companies or individuals responsible for loading and securing the cargo might be held accountable.

Government Agencies and Contractors

Poor road conditions, a lack of signs, or malfunctioning traffic lights can contribute to accidents. In such cases, government agencies or contractors tasked with road maintenance and infrastructure might be liable.

Factors Influencing Fault

Several factors can influence the determination of fault in a truck accident. These elements play a crucial role in the legal process and can significantly impact the outcome of a case.

Gathering Evidence at the Scene

Evidence from the accident scene can provide a clear picture of what happened and who might be at fault.

  1. Eyewitness Testimonies: Statements from those who saw the accident can corroborate or dispute claims from involved parties.
  2. Police Reports: Official reports often contain critical details, observations, and preliminary determinations of fault.
  3. Photos and Videos: Visual evidence can show vehicle positions, damages, and other vital details.
  4. Skid Marks and Road Conditions: Analyzing skid marks and road conditions can help experts deduce the events leading to the crash.

A thorough investigation at the scene provides a solid foundation for any truck accident case. This evidence helps lawyers and victims understand the circumstances better, ensuring a stronger legal position.

Truck Driver’s Behavior

Driver behavior can heavily influence liability determination.

  1. Violations of Traffic Laws: A driver running a red light or speeding might be deemed at fault.
  2. Distracted or Impaired Driving: If a driver was taking drugs, drunk, or texting while driving, they’re likely to be held responsible.
  3. Hours of Service Violations: Overworked drivers risk fatigue. They and their employer could be liable if they’ve violated regulations on driving hours.

Reviewing all factors concerning the driver’s behavior leading up to the accident is essential. Such scrutiny ensures that all potential negligence areas are addressed.

Vehicle Maintenance and Condition

The condition of the truck plays a significant role in many accidents.

  1. Maintenance Records: If a truck isn’t properly maintained, it increases the chances of mechanical failures.
  2. Mechanical Defects: Even with proper maintenance, a truck might have manufacturing defects that lead to accidents.

A well-maintained truck reduces accident risks. Both the trucking company and manufacturers have a duty to ensure vehicles are safe for the road.

Road and Environmental Factors

Sometimes, external factors contribute to accidents.

  1. Poorly Designed Roads: Roads with sharp turns, blind spots, or inadequate signage can be hazardous for large trucks.
  2. Weather Conditions: Rain, snow, or fog can severely affect a truck’s ability to navigate safely.
  3. Visibility Issues: Night driving, glare, or obstructions can lead to accidents if drivers can’t see clearly.

Recognizing these factors is essential to ensure a comprehensive understanding of an accident’s cause and the potential parties at fault.

Legal Framework for Determining Fault

Legal framework for determining fault

Determining who is at fault for a truck crash can be challenging. A few key components include:

Comparative Negligence

In some states, the legal framework follows a principle called “comparative negligence.” Under this system, both parties involved in an accident can share fault. The total compensation a victim receives may be adjusted based on their degree of fault. For instance, if a victim is deemed 30% at fault, they may only receive 70% of the total damages awarded.

Vicarious Liability

Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine where employers, such as trucking companies, can be held accountable for the actions of their employees. If a truck driver is negligent while performing their duties, the company might be liable for the consequences. This is grounded in the idea that employers should bear some responsibility for actions performed by employees during the scope of their employment. Thus, a company’s negligent hiring or training practices can also be scrutinized under this doctrine.

Commercial Carrier Liability

Trucking companies are responsible for their fleet and have a legal duty to ensure safe operations. Beyond the maintenance of vehicles, companies must not set unrealistic expectations that might encourage reckless behavior like speeding or skipping breaks. A breach of this duty, such as failing to service their trucks regularly or pressuring drivers to work beyond legal limits, can make them liable. Commercial carrier liability ensures that businesses prioritize safety over profits. Reach out to us to learn more about this area.

Federal Regulations for Trucking Companies

Through agencies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the U.S. federal government has established specific regulations for the trucking industry. These comprehensive rules address various aspects, from driver training requirements to mandatory vehicle inspections. Trucking companies must comply with these regulations to ensure the safety of their drivers and the general public. If an accident results from a company’s non-compliance, it can be held accountable, emphasizing the importance of adhering to these standards.

Recoverable Damages for a Trucking Accident

After a truck accident, victims can seek compensation for various damages. These damages can be economic, non-economic, or even punitive.

  • Medical Bills: Compensation can cover past, present, and future medical expenses related to the accident.
  • Lost Wages: If the victim misses work or cannot work in the future, they can seek lost income.
  • Property Damage: This includes repairs or replacements for damaged vehicles or other property.
  • Pain and Suffering: You can secure compensation for emotional trauma, suffering, and pain you have endured.
  • Loss of Consortium: You can receive financial compensation if injuries have impacted relationships with spouses or family.
  • Punitive Damages: In cases of extreme negligence, additional compensation can be granted to punish the other party and deter similar behavior.

Understanding the potential damages helps victims grasp the full impact of the accident and the compensation they might be entitled to.

Contact Our Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers at Good Guys Injury Law Today

Contact our experienced truck accident lawyers

If you or someone you know has been in a truck collision, you don’t have to navigate the legal process alone. The aftermath of such accidents can often be perplexing, filled with medical bills, insurance claims, and emotional trauma. At Good Guys Injury Law, we specialize in truck accident cases and are dedicated to representing victims with compassion and expertise.

With our extensive experience, resources, and commitment, we’ve successfully advocated for countless clients, securing them the compensation they rightfully deserve. Don’t let the complexities of truck accident laws intimidate you. Let the experts at Good Guys Injury Law stand by your side.

Reach out to us today for a free consultation, and let us help you on your path to recovery.

Good Guys Injury Law - Orem

1145 S 800 E #101A Orem,UT 84097

Phone: (801) 224-2999

Good Guys Injury Law - Bountiful

503 W 2600 S #200 Bountiful,UT 84010

Phone: (801) 294-9500

Good Guys Injury Law - Salt Lake City

32 W 200 S Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Phone: (801) 849-1949

Good Guys Injury Law - Draper

11693 S 700 E #100

Draper, UT 84020

Phone: (801) 506-0800