The size of commercial trucks and trailers makes accidents involving these vehicles especially dangerous. In 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported approximately 159,000 injuries were sustained in crashes involving large trucks, causing 5,005 fatalities. The occupants of other vehicles involved in a crash with a large truck made up 71% of those fatalities. Thus, the victims who survive accidents with trucks often need significant medical treatment to get back on their feet. In some cases, when a large truck causes an accident, anyone injured in the accident can recover their losses from the at-fault party or their insurance company. Because trucks are typically owned by a business instead of the driver, multiple parties may share liability for your damages.
If you need to know who is liable in a truck accident in Mississippi, contact an attorney at Harris Law Firm right away. We can review the facts of your case and determine whether you can file a lawsuit.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Like any other car accident, truck accidents can happen for a number of different reasons, ranging from operator error to equipment failure. The mass of 18-wheelers makes basic driving maneuvers like turning and stopping more difficult. Factors that may contribute to a truck accident include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
- Improper truck maintenance,
- Making wide right turns,
- Poor road conditions,
- Drowsy driving,
- Truck loads shifting while in motion, and
- Distracted driving.
When another person’s negligence causes an accident that results in your injuries, they should be held responsible. However, determining liability in 18-wheeler accidents can be complicated.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident?
Truck accidents present complexities that do not often exist in regular car accident cases. Many commercial truck drivers do not own the trucks they operate. Instead, a company owns the truck and hires employees to drive them. Thus, a truck driver, a truck company, or both may face liability for your damages.
The person most people will immediately assume is liable for an accident is the driver of the truck. Hundreds of thousands of accidents occur every year due to operator error. Truck drivers make mistakes just like regular drivers. When those mistakes cause a crash that results in your injuries, the driver may be liable for your damages.
As stated earlier, trucks and trailers are often owned by a company that employs drivers. Therefore, any issues stemming from improper maintenance of the truck itself could fall on the company rather than the driver. Proper maintenance of trucks prevents issues like worn tires and defective brakes that lead to hundreds of accidents yearly.
Additionally, trucking companies employing drivers must ensure that the drivers meet the necessary qualifications, like possessing a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate the truck legally. If a trucking company hired a truck driver without a valid CDL and the driver caused an accident, the company may bear some responsibility for the decision to hire an unqualified driver.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes regulations designed to reduce the number of truck drivers driving while drowsy. Trucking companies are prohibited from disregarding the regulations or encouraging their employees to disobey them. Still, many trucking companies offer bonuses to drivers who meet high mileage quotas and encourage long hours. Evidence that a company influenced a truck driver to violate FMCSA regulations could mean the company is liable in the event of a crash.
How Do I Prove Liability After a Truck Accident?
A personal injury lawyer can help you establish liability after your truck accident. An attorney can help show that the driver or truck company’s negligence caused the accident that resulted in your injuries. We will gather information and evidence that bolsters your claim, such as:
- Police accident report;
- Photographs of the scene;
- Names, contact information, and statements of any witnesses to the accident; and
- Identifying information for the truck driver involved in the crash and the trucking company they work for.
A personal injury lawyer can help you calculate the value of damages you incurred due to the truck accident. We will ensure you receive a settlement offer that fully compensates you for your losses. Otherwise, we will take your case to trial.
Need to Know Who Is Responsible in an Accident With an 18-Wheeler? Contact Harris Law Firm Today
Our attorneys at Harris Law Firm have over four decades of combined experience helping victims injured by someone else’s negligence. We take a deep interest in each case and provide our clients with top-quality legal service. Our clients are not just another number passing through our office. We will take the time to listen to your situation and present a solution that will help you. Contact our office today so we can start reviewing your case.