Who is liable for a commercial truck accident?
September 9, 2019
Truck accidents have the potential to cause considerably more damage than crashes that only involve passenger vehicles. Weighing up to 80,000 pounds, a tractor-trailer can devastate a car, pickup, or SUV in even a low-speed collision.
Although commercial truckers tend to have considerable experience behind the wheel, they can make mistakes just like everyone else — and the consequences are often fatal. More than 4,300 people died in large truck accidents in 2016 alone.
If you were hurt or lost a family member in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. To win a settlement or verdict, however, you will need to prove liability, causation, and damages.
Below are a few examples of parties that might be liable for a commercial truck accident:
1. The Trucker or Motor Carrier
When a truck accident is caused by the negligence of the truck driver, it may be possible to hold the truck driver’s employer — usually a motor carrier—vicariously liable for the resulting damages. Whether or not vicarious liability applies depends on several factors, including whether the trucker was classified as an independent contractor or an employee, and whether the trucker was performing work-related duties at the time of the accident.
2. The Cargo Loading Company
If a commercial truck is overloaded or imbalanced, it will be much harder to maneuver in traffic. If this leads to an accident, the party that loaded the cargo may be at least partially liable.
3. The Maintenance Contractor
If a mechanic performs substandard work — for example, if they use defective, worn, or incorrect parts when making commercial truck repairs — they may be held liable if an accident occurs as a result.
4. The Municipality Responsible for Maintaining the Road
County, state, and federal government agencies are responsible for maintaining the roads we use every day. If they fail to maintain the roads to a reasonable standard, and this leads to a commercial truck accident, the victims may have grounds for a claim against the applicable government entity.
If you think the government is liable for your injuries, it is important to remember that you have strict deadlines and requirements for filing suit. For example, if you want to sue the city, you must submit a Tort Claims Notice within just 180 days of the incident. If you want to sue a state agency, you have 270 days to submit such a notice.
Call (765) 742‑9046 for a free consultation with a Lafayette truck accident attorney.
At Ball Eggleston, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that a commercial truck accident can have on your life. If you hire us for representation, we will use all the resources at our disposal to help you pursue the maximum settlement or verdict possible. Call (765) 742‑9046 or use our online contact form to set up a free case evaluation with a truck accident lawyer in Lafayette.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
Ball Eggleston — a Lafayette, Indiana law firm — is located at 201 Main Street, Suite 810 P.O. Box 1535 Lafayette, IN 47902. Contact Ball Eggleston by phone at (765) 742‑9046, by fax at (765) 742‑1966, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information, find Ball Eggleston online at ballegg.local.
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The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.