Should You Sue The Trucking Company Or The Driver After An Accident?
Trucking accidents are among the worst kinds of vehicle accidents there are. Because of the sheer size and scope of the vehicles involved, the damage they cause is truly catastrophic. People involved in these accidents suffer life-changing injuries, many of which are lifelong in scope. Even worse, these incidents are on the rise across the nation, by about 1 percent per year.
This is all happening despite increased awareness and more stringent regulations on the trucking industry. When you are hurt in this kind of accident, it can be very hard to seek compensation for many reasons, not the least of which is knowing who to hold responsible. Learn about trucking accidents involving commercial vehicles, who can be held accountable for your injuries and why you need a truck accident lawyer.
Who Is Responsible for a Trucking Accident?
The first question people ask when seeking compensation for a trucking accident is against whom they should file their lawsuit? There are two possibilities that always come up—the trucking company and the truck driver. In truth, both of these can be responsible, in addition to a number of other parties.
This is partially what makes truck accident cases so difficult to pursue. The various parties involved can create a lot of stumbling blocks for those without the right knowledge or aid to navigate such a case.
The Truck Driver
Just like any vehicle accident, the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident bears responsibility. That means if the truck driver was behaving negligently and an accident resulted, they can be held accountable.
The Trucking Company
The trucking company will often try to deny responsibility for an accident. They use excuses like the driver being an independent contractor to try and remove themselves from the case. This, however, isn’t a valid excuse under the law. Any trucker, even an independent contractor, who works for a trucking company is under that company’s umbrella.
In short, if the trucker carries the company’s name anywhere on or in its vehicle, such as on its operating placard, the trucking company bears a degree of responsibility for the driver’s actions. If you’ve been in a trucking accident, you can include the trucking company in the lawsuit.
Vehicle Parts Manufacturers
If the accident is the result of some part on the truck failing, the parts manufacturer can also hold responsibility. For example, if the brakes fail due to faulty manufacturing, product liability laws can kick in, as well as negligence laws.
Most trucking companies have maintenance crews whose job it is to inspect vehicles and keep them in good working order. If the failure that resulted in an accident was due to improper maintenance, the team responsible for the upkeep of the truck can be partially accountable for the injuries you’ve suffered.
Loading and Shipping Companies
Sometimes, truck accidents occur because the cargo in a truck was improperly loaded or secured. This can cause the cargo to shift, throwing the truck off balance and causing the driver to lose control. In such cases, those responsible for shipping cargo or loading the truck might also find themselves named in the lawsuit as defendants.
Playing the Blame Game
The real difficulty in these cases is that nobody wants to take responsibility for the accident. All of the various parties will have representation by insurance companies and attorneys eager to divest themselves of the responsibility they hold. As such, the blame game will begin. Each party will attempt to shuffle their blame onto each other, in an effort to avoid payouts.
Eventually, the blame might even be directed at you. They’ll claim the accident wasn’t that bad and that you’re not really all that severely hurt. They might claim that the accident was your fault. In the end, it’s all smoke and mirrors, designed to delay the settlement until you give up.
Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer
All of this is exactly why you need an experienced truck accident lawyer in your corner. Commercial vehicle accident attorneys like those at Mitch Grissim & Associates bring many years of experience to the table and can fight back against the blame game and bullying, non-payment tactics of insurance claims adjusters.
If you’ve been in a truck accident in Tennessee and need help fighting back against insurance companies and lawyers trying to get out of paying you the money you deserve, we can help. You don’t have to go it alone, and you don’t have to take the low-ball offers being thrown your way. Give us a call for a free consultation about your case today.