Who is Negligent in a Truck Accident?
It is often the driver and their employer, the trucking company, who can be found negligent for an accident and be held liable for damages. Depending on the factors in the incident, other parties may be negligent:
- The manufacturer of the truck of faulty parts
- Manufacturer of materials shipped on the truck
- A contracted driver
- The company that contracted the driver
- The employee who loaded the cargo
Although not negligent, an insurance company is also involved in most of these accidents. Compensation usually comes from the insurance provider for the negligent party, whether that is the trucking company, a driver, or a manufacturer.
How Will My Lawyer Prove Negligence?
The most important thing that a good truck accident lawyer will do for you is to put their expertise to use, proving that the driver, their employer, or a third party was negligent in your accident. This is essential to recovering damages for your medical bills and other expenses.
Your lawyer will need all the information about the incident you can provide, including your recollections, notes from witnesses, and the police report. They will then investigate to determine why the accident happened. Negligence underlies many causes of truck accidents. These are just a few possibilities:
- Driver fatigue from being on the road longer than regulations allow
- Driving under the influence
- Driver distractions
- Driver error, such as speeding
- The driver not following traffic laws
- Inadequate driver training
- Making a turn incorrectly
- Faulty truck or equipment not properly maintained
- Improperly secured cargo
How Can Truck Accident Lawyers Help Me?
A truck accident lawyer or a law firm specializing in these cases can help you in several important ways after a devastating accident:
- Advise and Guide
A major accident leaves you with bills, injuries, and a lot of confusion. You probably don’t know what to do next or how to recover damages. A lawyer can explain the laws, your rights, and the options for your next steps. They clarify your choices and advise you about taking legal action if any.
- Estimate Your Outcome
A good lawyer will not take on your case if they don’t think it is strong, but a reasonable estimate requires a lawyer with the right experience. Lawyers with expertise in truck accidents and personal injury can give you an accurate prediction for whether you will win your case and how much you may be able to recover in damages.
- Provide Investigators and Resources
Truck accident lawsuits can get complicated. You need to prove that another party was negligent in your accident that resulted in significant damages. To do this requires expertise, resources, and investigative skills. The right law firm has the experts on staff or in their network to find the evidence needed to make your case.
- Go up Against the Trucking Company
Trucking companies sometimes try to avoid vicarious liability in accidents—being held liable for a driver’s negligence—by referring to drivers as independent contractors. This rarely holds up under federal laws. Many state laws also reject this argument by requiring even independent contractors of transportation companies to be covered by their insurance.
- Work with the Insurance Company
The right lawyer will also help you work with the insurance company. Insurance adjusters will try to minimize the payout as much as possible. It is their job to do so. Do not talk to an adjuster until you have spoken to your lawyer. They can advocate for you and get more compensation than you would be able to on your own.
- Litigate to Recover Damages
Many personal injury cases end in the settlement phase when the insurance company agrees to pay the victim a fair amount. If negotiations break down, your lawyer can take your case to trial and argue in front of a jury. They will use their experience and expertise to maximize the damages you recover.
How to Find a Truck Accident Lawyer
When selecting a lawyer to help you after a truck accident, do not settle for anyone without this specific expertise. The laws governing trucking companies and drivers are not exactly the same as for car accidents. You need a lawyer who knows these laws and personal injury laws and has worked on similar cases. Also, look for these traits in the lawyer or law firm you hire:
- Proven wins for similar clients and cases
- Adequate resources to investigate and prove your case, including investigative, medical, and transportation experts
- A contingency payment plan, so that you have no fees upfront
- Experience with both settlements and litigation in case you need to go to court to recover damages
- Easy access to the lawyer, someone who is not hard to get in contact with when you have questions
- Someone who makes you feel comfortable working with and that they are dedicated to your case.
Working with a Truck Accident Lawyer
Finding a lawyer should be one of the first things you do after an accident and after medical treatment. Your lawyer will need as much information about the incident as you can provide. Come to the first meeting with the police report, witness information, the truck driver and company information, and all your medical bills and other related expenses.
Be prepared to answer a lot of questions. Don’t lie about anything or exaggerate, and be open about everything, even if it is embarrassing. A lawyer can only help you if they know everything relevant to the case, including your health and injuries.
You should also come prepared with questions to ask your lawyer, both to determine if you want to hire the lawyer and to understand how your case will proceed. Talk about payment and fees to be sure you are clear on expectations upfront.
Working with a truck accident lawyer is one of the smartest things you can do after an accident. Someone can be held accountable for the harm you suffered. The right lawyer is the best person to advocate on your behalf.