Seeking compensation for injuries in an accident involving a tractor-trailer or other large truck can become complicated because the truck is part of a commercial enterprise. Multiple parties have a hand in putting a truck on the road, and one or more of them may be found liable for an accident.
A truck accident claim is more complex than an auto accident case. It also provides the potential for a larger total recovery. Commercial truck drivers and trucking companies are required to carry higher amounts of liability insurance than automobile owners. If multiple parties are liable for a truck accident, each may be compelled to compensate the accident victim.
The Kentucky truck accident lawyers of Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer can conduct a thorough investigation of the truck accident you were in to identify all parties responsible for your injuries. Our attorneys have the experience and Kentucky Courage to stand up to deep-pocketed trucking firms and other companies involved in a truck accident claim. We’ll aggressively pursue every possible claim to recover the maximum compensation available for the painful ordeal that you or your loved ones have endured.
Who May Be Responsible for a Truck Accident?
Liability in an accident claim is based on proof that the negligence or recklessness of a party involved in the accident either caused or contributed to the accident and your injuries. The potential for multiple parties to be liable in a truck accident is one of the primary reasons that truck accidents are more complex.
After a crash involving a commercial truck, we look into the potential for a claim against the:
- Truck driver. Typically, we look for negligence on the part of the truck driver first when we investigate a truck accident. We often find that the trucker was breaking a traffic law by speeding, driving too fast for conditions, following too closely or not paying adequate attention. In other instances, a driver may have disregarded a trucking industry regulation, such as Hours of Service restrictions. A driver may have spent too much time behind the wheel without a rest break, and drowsy driving may have contributed to the crash.
- Trucking company. The trucking company is responsible for the drivers they hire and the trucks they put on the road. The trucking company may be named in a claim because of a negligent driver or a truck’s mechanical failure. The trucking company may also be held responsible for failing to remove an unsafe driver from the road or for failing to ensure their drivers are trained properly.
- Truck owner. The trucking company or another party may own the truck that crashed. If an accident was caused by a mechanical problem on the truck, such as misadjusted brakes, the owner of the truck may ultimately be held liable.
- Truck or truck parts manufacturer. When a mechanical failure on the truck leads to a crash and the truck is found to have had a defect from the start, we may seek compensation from the manufacturer that made the defective part.
- Truck garage. Sometimes a mechanical failure that led to a crash is due to maintenance and/or repairs that were not performed properly. Many motor carriers outsource maintenance work, in which case the negligent repair shop may be liable.
- Cargo owner and/or shipping company. Many transfer trucks carry cargo on a contract basis. Other companies own and load the cargo. If a truck’s cargo is not loaded and secured properly, it can shift or spill and cause the truck driver to lose control and crash. When this happens, the company responsible for loading the cargo may be liable for injuries.
- Local government and its contractors. Local governments and/or their contractors may be held liable for an accident if a roadway defect contributed to a truck accident. This might be failed design, construction or maintenance of the roadway, such as a crumbling roadbed or an area of pooled rainwater runoff, or roadside issues, such as structures or flora that obscured a truck driver’s view. The improper design of a road or an unsafe design of a construction work zone may contribute to a truck accident.
How Liability is Shared Among Parties in a Truck Accident
When our investigation shows that multiple parties have liability for an accident, they may all be found to be responsible for our client’s losses.
An advantage of multiple defendants in a claim is that if, for example, the trucker’s insurance does not cover the full extent of our client’s losses, compensation available from the motor carrier or a third-party vendor may add to the total amount recovered. A disadvantage is that multiple defendants may try to blame each other.
In most truck accident cases, the driver and their employer are defendants. Usually, the truck accident has happened within the scope of the truck driver’s job duties, so the motor carrier is responsible for the actions of their employee. Even when a truck or a driver’s services are contracted, the trucking company is often held liable for the driver’s negligence.
In the end, the apportionment of damages that must be paid by multiple parties found liable for a truck accident is based on Kentucky’s application of the doctrine of comparative fault. This requires a jury to consider how much each party is at fault for an accident and to assign them a percentage of the whole. According to the law, “In determining the percentages of fault, the judge or jury shall consider the nature of the conduct of each party at fault and the causal relationship between the conduct and the damages claimed.”
Contact a Kentucky Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been injured in a truck accident, we urge you to seek the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer to investigate the accident and advise you about pursuing a truck accident claim.
In Kentucky, the truck accident lawyers of Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer have the experience and Kentucky Courage you need to pursue the maximum compensation available by law.
Contact us today for your free consultation about giving accident victims the Kentucky Courage they need to fight for justice. Phone (877) 809-5352 or reach out online.