Are you one of the thousands of victims involved in an accident this year with an 18-wheeler or another commercial hauling truck? If so, you already know these accidents are more complicated than those involving passenger vehicles when it comes to determining the cause. With traditional automobile accidents, the cause and responsible party, like the person who ran the red light, are usually easily identifiable. But in the case of trucks, the web of players extends beyond just the driver, making it harder to get to the cause.
Who is Responsible
Trucking accidents involve a number of key players:
- The individual driving the truck, often but not always an employee of the trucking company.
- The company who owns the truck cab and/or the trailer; the two are not always the same.
- If the truck is leased, then the company who leased it from the owner could be liable.
- Individual manufacturers of the truck parts that may or may not have malfunctioned.
- The company who owns the truck’s cargo.
So the issue of fault now goes beyond just a driver and a vehicle. With trucks, things get more complicated indeed.
The Squabbles Begin
As with any situation where multiple companies may be held financially responsible for an accident, the companies usually immediately begin blaming one another. For example, if the accident was caused by tire failure, the truck’s owner may try to blame the tire manufacturer, while the tire manufacturer may respond back that the company did not correctly maintain the tires. In a situation where a driver is a contractor, the company who owns the truck will try to distance themselves from the trucker, should driver error be the cause.
The complications and pointed fingers can be enough to make your head spin, but at the root, there are three common causes for trucking accidents:
- Driver fatigue. Truck drivers travel hundreds of miles, sometimes with little sleep, and are therefore susceptible to accidents.
- Equipment malfunctions. Trucks are made of intricate components that are all manufactured by different companies. Brake failures, jackknives, tire blowouts, and transmission or steering failures are common equipment malfunctions.
- Improper securing of loads. Tractor-trailers haul a variety of cargo and vary significantly in weight and shape. Failure to properly secure this cargo can result in detachment of the trailer or rollovers.
Although the causes may seem straightforward, it is the various businesses involved that make it hard to resolve a truck crash.
Getting the Help You Need
The best way to get beyond the finger-pointing to establish who is at fault for your accident is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Personal injury lawyers who are familiar with trucking crashes have the understanding needed to determine fault in a truck accident – and obtain adequate compensation for its victims.
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a truck, don’t let the trucking companies run you around. Talk to a personal injury attorney about how they can sort through the conundrum and get you the compensation you need and deserve today.