People struck by negligent drivers often know exactly who to name in their car accident claim in pursuit of compensation later. For motorists hurt in a truck accident, though, pinpointing liability might not be so simple. It is not uncommon for multiple parties other than the truck driver to be partially liable for the crash and your resulting damages.
Truck Drivers at the Forefront of Liability
The simplest answer is often the correct one, and this mantra remains true for truck accidents. To some extent, the truck driver will be liable for your trucking accident. They have the first and only direct control of their vehicle, so they need to act responsibly whenever behind the wheel.
Truckers contracted by trucking companies to complete deliveries are often self-insured. You may be required to demand liability from the insurance company that sold its policy to that driver, not necessarily the one insuring the parent trucking company.
Trucking Companies Need to Accept Responsibility, Too
A large percentage of trucking accidents are believed to be caused by truck driver exhaustion. While truckers need to be responsible and not drive while fatigued, it is important to acknowledge that trucking companies play a significant role in allowing their employees or contracted truckers to become exhausted on the job.
Trucking companies create driving and shift schedules followed by their truckers. In many cases, they plan daily routes that require a trucker to stay behind the wheel for 11 hours, which is the maximum amount allowed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). People become tired from driving in only a few hours – few people would contend that point. Yet trucking companies are content with pushing their truckers to exhaustion by making them drive for essentially half a day, multiple days a week.
If a trucker causes a crash due to their exhaustion, then it is worth examining their routes and schedules as assigned by their parent trucking company. Uncovering an unreasonable schedule could allow partial liability to be placed on the company, which opens up the possibility of seeking compensation from a second insurance policy.
Freight Crews Play a Role in Trucking Safety
What might surprise you is that load crews can be responsible for trucking accidents as well, depending on how they handle – or mishandle – their job responsibilities. Incorrectly loading cargo into the trailer of a commercial truck can make it off-balanced, increasing the chances of a rollover or jackknife accident. Overloading a trailer will also increase the braking distance of the entire vehicle due to putting more strain on the brakes, which could result in a rear-end accident.
Load crews are not always contracted by the parent company. In fact, third party load crews are quite common, such as when a big rig makes a stop at a retail store to drop off and pick up freight there. Employees of the retailer will help unload and load the trailer. Most truckers are actually instructed to not assist load crews to limit their own and their trucking company’s liability in case of a cargo-related trucking accident.
Figuring Out Liability with Professional Help
Deconstructing a trucking accident to determine liability is not something that can be done without proper training and a background in liability law. To simplify your claim and take the stress off your own shoulders, you should team up with a truck accident lawyer. Using their experience, they can examine the evidence surrounding your truck accident, look into schedules and cargo responsibilities, and so forth to find wherever liability might lie. By filing a claim against the correct liable parties the first time, the viability of your claim is improved, and the overall time to conclude it should be reduced.
People living in Indianapolis and other cities throughout Indiana can count on Tabor Law Firm, LLP for assistance with truck accident claims. Call our firm’s truck accident lawyers at (317) 236-9000 today to learn more about our services.