Negligence and 18-Wheeler Accidents
If you want to have a chance to win, you cannot file a lawsuit in an 18-wheeler accident unless you can identify how the wreck occurred and who caused it. There are several parties that have some involvement in any sort of trip involving the transportation of goods on a truck. It is very likely more than one of them either caused or contributed to the accident you experienced through their negligence. A seasoned truck accident attorney knows how to use that experience to accurately identify both the cause of your wreck and those whose negligence played a role. More on this website
There are several different parties that may eventually be held at least partially responsible for your accident through their negligence. They include the truck driver, the company that owns the truck, the manufacturer of the truck or trailer, the company in charge of planning the route the truck took, the company responsible for the loading of the truck, and other drivers or other third parties.
The truck driver – Truck drivers spend long hours driving and are normally liable, in part or in whole, for injuries that result from a truck accident. In some instances, truck drivers cause accidents due to intentional acts of negligence such as erratic driving, running stop signs, speeding, or even worse, operating their vehicle under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. Studies show that a trucker’s chances of getting into an accident double when being behind the wheel for eight consecutive hours. Also, one in five truck drivers admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at least once in the month before they were surveyed. If the negligence of a truck driver, whether on purpose or by accident, caused the accident that injured you, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against him or her.
The trucking company – Texas law operates under a legal doctrine called “respondeat superior,” which means that employers are responsible for the actions or inactions, in some cases, of their employees. If a truck driver was negligent and the accident that injured you occurred as a result, the trucking company that hired that driver is liable as well. An example of negligence is if a driver causes an accident while driving drunk, not only is he or she liable, but also the company that hired the driver is liable as well for your injury.
The company itself need not perform any sort of negligent act in order to be held liable for the negligent actions of its employee. As long as the truck driver exhibited negligence, that company can also be sued for damages. Most of the time, it is much more desirable for a plaintiff to pursue damages against a trucking company because it has a much greater amount of resources than that of one of its truckers.
The truck manufacturer – There are thousands of interlinked parts found in a truck and the trailer attached to it. Should any one of them fail while the truck is in motion, a devastating accident may occur? If a design defect or manufacturing error leads to the malfunction and resulting accident, an injury victim can pursue litigation from the manufacturer.
The company that planned the route the truck took – Many times, a truck will travel on a road not zoned for trucking or in a neighborhood where trucks are not allowed. There are a lot of bridges that have both weight restrictions and height constraints those trucks oftentimes violate. Trucking companies often hire independent companies to plan safe routes for those trucks to take. However, if a planning company falls short in this department, and plots an unsafe route, that company could be held liable for any accident that results.
The company in charge of loading the cargo – Sometimes, one company that owns cargo loads it in the truck, other times that company will contract cargo loading to another company. Regardless of which company is in charge of the loading, if that job is improperly done, and an injury-causing accident occurs as a result, the company that loaded the cargo can be held liable. There is an 80,000-pound cargo limit for 18-wheelers, but a lot of times, companies try to overload a truck in order to transport more goods in a cheaper fashion. The reason weight limits are in place is that trucks that are overloaded have more of a chance to fall over and cause a much worse accident than a properly loaded truck.
Should a company charged with loading the cargo secure it in an unsafe manner, and that cargo comes loose while the truck is in motion, this could cause a shift in the load that will cause the trailer to topple and result in an accident with other vehicles? Cargo improperly loaded onto a flatbed truck can fall directly onto the road and into surrounding cars, causing a great deal of damage. Should an injury occur as a result, again, the company in charge of loading the cargo can be held liable.
Other drivers – Truck drivers aren’t the cause of every accident involving a truck. There are some times when fellow motorists drive irresponsibly and cause an accident with the truck, and in turn, still more drivers are hurt and more property damage ensues. If this happens, an injury victim can initiate litigation against that irresponsible driver.
Either one of those parties or a combination of several of those parties could have, in part or in whole, been responsible for the accident that resulted in your injury. If you have been injured in an accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, you need to enlist the services of a seasoned and effective truck accident attorney who can determine the cause of the accident and identify all potentially responsible parties. That way, you can obtain the restitution coming to you from all of those involved.