Establishing fault and liability is a focal point of any negligence claim, including those involving auto and trucking accidents. By determining the underlying cause of an accident, how it resulted from negligence, and how it caused preventable injuries, victims and their loved ones can seek a financial recovery from the party responsible for their damages, including their medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.
At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., we leverage over 90 years of collective experience to help victims of truck accidents pursue the compensation they need and deserve. Because accidents involving commercial trucks and tractor-trailers often result in catastrophic injuries, if not death, we understand the elevated needs of our clients, and fight aggressively to ensure the appropriate party is held accountable.
Because every case is different, the party that can be held liable for your trucking accident will always depend on the unique facts involved. When conducting investigations, our legal team explores all possible avenues for highlighting fault and liability, as trucking wrecks can be caused by many different factors. Below are a few examples of parties commonly held liable for truck accidents:
- Truck Driver – Driver error is a leading cause of truck accidents, and often a result of negligence. When truckers fail to uphold their duty of safely operating their rig, they place the public in danger, and can be held responsible for any harm they cause in preventable wrecks. Speeding, unsafe lane changes, and other traffic violations are common examples of driver error. Truckers may also be held liable for negligence when they fail to abide by safety regulations, including drug and alcohol policies and Hours-of-Service rules that require mandatory rest breaks in order to prevent fatigue, among others.
- Trucking Company – Trucking companies are often responsible for the conduct of their employees, including the drivers who operate their fleet. Should a trucking operator negligently hire or retain a driver with a history of driving violations, drug or alcohol problems, insufficient training or licensing, and medical conditions that would preclude them from health certifications, they can potentially be held liable for damages caused by those unfit truckers. Additionally, trucking companies must comply with many safety regulations designed to protect the public from unreasonable danger, including regular vehicle maintenance, proper cargo loading and securement, and rules over the amount of hours their truckers are allowed to work and be behind the wheel. When trucking companies fail to abide by these standards due to their negligence or prioritization of profits over people, victims have the right to hold them accountable.
- Maintenance Company – Some trucking operators choose to contract out maintenance work to third party companies. These companies are tasked with performing regular vehicle inspections and maintenance, and have an obligation to ensure any hazardous issues they knew or should have known about are promptly addressed and remedied. When they fail to address such hazards, such as old brakes, aging tires, or other dangerous issues, they and / or the trucking operator with whom they contract could be held liable. Additionally, maintenance companies should employ licensed and certified professionals, and conduct their work in accordance to applicable laws and regulations.
- Product Manufacturer – Not all truck accidents result from driver error or the negligence of trucking operators; some are beyond their control. This is especially true in the case of defective products and auto parts that may fail, malfunction, and cause or contribute to accidents that would otherwise not have happened had they functioned properly. Under product liability laws, manufacturers can be held liable for defectively designed parts and products, as well as for manufacturing products with poor quality materials, poor workmanship, or poor oversight and safety testing.
Determining who can be held liable for a truck accident is a challenging task that requires resources, professional connections with experts, and meticulous investigation – and it is only half the battle. Even when an appropriate party is found to be at fault, victims must fight aggressively in order to compel payment of the recoveries they need and deserve. This is because these corporations, and their commercial insurance providers, are businesses focused on their bottom line. They want to pay as little as they can to victims who file claims. By working with our legal team, you can gain the support and representation you need to create a level playing field and pursue the compensation to which you are entitled.
Our award-winning truck accident attorneys serve clients throughout Washington, DC, Virginia, and Maryland. Contact us for a FREE consultation.