Who Pays for Injuries & Damages in a Truck Accident?
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If you were involved in a car accident with a semi-truck or "big rig," chances are, you want someone to pay. If you can prove that the truck driver and the company he works for were negligent, you may be able to recover damages against the driver and his employer. However, just because a truck jackknifes, rolls, skids, or makes a sudden stop does not automatically mean the driver is negligent. In these cases, it is possible that the driver may not be at fault for several reasons. For starters, road conditions are a common cause of both car accidents and truck accidents. In these cases, the driver is not at fault.
Next, other vehicles on the road can cause a truck driver to make a sudden stop or swerve to avoid the car. And finally, rolling, skidding, and jackknifing may be the result of an inherent problem with the truck. In this case, the truck driver is not at fault, but you may investigate whether or not the employer or even the manufacturer are at fault for neglecting to maintain the truck or for manufacturing and installing faulty parts.
Cases where the truck driver may be at fault will likely involve speeding, driver fatigue, in-cab distractions, or driving under the influence. Cases where the truck driver and the trucking company may share fault will likely involve poorly loaded cargo and inexperienced truck drivers.
If you want to increase your chances of winning a truck accident settlement, proceeding against the truck driver only may not be your best strategy. In addition to the employer or trucking company and the manufacturer, there may be other potential parties to sue such as a contractor of the trucking company or a public entity such as a town, city, county or state for negligent design of a road.
For more information about the ins and outs of truck accident settlement cases, you should contact an attorney who specializes in truck accidents. An experienced trucking accident attorney can advise you of your rights and can determine which, if any, defendants you may file claims against or name in a lawsuit.