Trucking Accidents

Who Is Liable for a Trucking Accident?

Proving liability after a truck accident is often more complicated than after a basic car-to-car collision. After a truck crash, a number of parties could be legally responsible for a victim’s injuries and other losses (“damages”), including:

• the truck driver
• the owner of the truck or trailer
• the cargo loader
• the truck manufacturer or a parts manufacturer, or even
• a local government or contractor responsible for highway design or maintenance.

What Should I Do If I Get in an Accident With a Big-Rig Truck?

After a crash, sometimes it’s evident that one of the drivers did something wrong, like when you find an eyewitness who says that the truck driver failed to obey a traffic signal. But other times, getting the evidence you need to prove your case can be a bit more complicated. For example, proving that fatigue played a role in diminishing a driver’s attention, performance, or reaction time can be challenging.

If you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, a few key places to get information about a trucking accident are high-tech devices, driving logs, and government agencies. Your lawyer needs to request this information before the trucking company routinely disposes of it in the course of business.

Check High-Tech Devices and Preserve the Data

Carriers often use an electronic logging device or an event data recorder to record information about the truck and how it’s operated, including the route, vehicle miles, speed, when the driver uses the brakes, and hours of service. Other devices the carrier might use include an onboard computer, a global positioning system, and an inclinometer, which provides data about a slope’s angles and rounding corners safely.

Review the Driving Log

An examination of the driving log can confirm whether the driver followed federal and state laws and rules on rest periods.

Get Information from Government Agencies

Federal and state laws require a certified truck inspector to inspect any commercial truck involved in an accident before the vehicle is removed from the scene. The resulting report will state the condition of the important mechanical parts of the semi-truck and trailer. But the report won’t be part of the local police report; you have to get it from the appropriate government agency.

Damages in a Trucking Accident Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you’re the victim of a big-rig accident, your damages might include:

Economic damages. Economic damages include medical care and rehabilitation costs, loss of earnings, and loss of earning capacity. In addition to car damage, property damages include items in your vehicle when the crash happened, like electronics or even prescription glasses.
Noneconomic damages. You might also have a claim for pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, or loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages. “Punitive damages” are damages that punish a carrier or other party that acts in bad faith, such as being dishonest or reckless.

The amount of compensation you might be able to get depends on the specific circumstances of your case and a variety of other factors, like the severity of the injuries you suffered, your medical bills, and the quality of the evidence you’ve collected to support your claim.

Talk to a Lawyer

Again, truck collisions are typically more complex than run-of-the-mill car accidents, so it’s a good idea to consult with a lawyer if you’re thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit after a trucking accident.

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