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Who Can You Sue in a Truck Accident Case?

large trucks, trucking company liable for accident

Truck accidents can be devastating, causing serious injuries and damages to those involved in smaller vehicles. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in such a crash due to another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation from liable parties. But who can be sued in a truck accident case?

You could sue the truck driver, the trucking company, the cargo loader, or the manufacturer for producing faulty brakes and selling faulty parts.

However, identifying the potential liable party(s) in a truck accident case can be difficult on your own. At Uptown Injury Law, PLLC, our attorneys have 15+ years of experience fighting on behalf of personal injury victims in New York. We work on a contingency – no win no fee policy. Contact our team at 917-540-8728 to get a free case review today!

Who Is Liable in Truck Accident Claims? 

In a truck accident, you must pinpoint the responsibility to seek rightful compensation for damages. Although it’s common to consider the truck driver as the primary responsible party, it’s essential to recognize that the liability can extend to the passenger vehicles, trucking company or even the truck manufacturer.

Moreover, numerous other factors, such as road conditions, weather, and driver’s negligent actions, are also considered in determining liability. The complexity of these factors and the involvement of more than one party makes it difficult to determine who is at fault.

1. Truck Driver for Irresponsible Driving Behavior

If you were in a truck accident and believe that the driver was at fault, you may be able to sue them for negligent driving. However most personal injury cases, proving fault in truck accident cases can be challenging. As the American Bar Association mentioned, liability is typically determined by showing that the driver engaged in negligent behaviors, such as:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Distracted driving
  • Or driving while overly tired

However, securing fair compensation can be complex in a truck accident case, even if you establish liability. This is particularly true if the driver is self-employed and only has a personal insurance policy. In such cases, it may be necessary to pursue additional avenues of compensation, such as other parties involved in the accident.

2. The Trucking Company for Failure to Meet Maintenance Standards 

When a truck accident occurs, the focus often turns to the truck driver’s employer, especially if poor vehicle maintenance causes the accident. However, pursuing a negligence case against a trucking company requires substantial evidence. It includes maintenance logs, inspection reports and expert testimony to establish liability.

Trucking companies are required to check that their vehicles are safe and properly serviced. Regular checks and servicing are essential to prevent issues, such as brake failure, tire blowouts, or steering problems, which can lead to serious accidents. If a company neglects these duties, they can be liable for damages.

However, a trucking company’s vicarious liability isn’t limited to poor maintenance. They may also be liable if they fail in other areas, such as:

  • Irresponsible hiring practices: Hiring drivers who lack adequate training or experience, have a history of traffic violations, or have shown signs of substance abuse.
  • Ignoring driver misconduct: Continue ignoring issues like poor driving habits or traffic violations.

3. Truck Manufacturer for Producing Faulty Parts

Truck manufacturers must ensure that every part they produce meets stringent safety standards. Any shortcomings in designing, testing, or manufacturing these components can make the manufacturers responsible for the accident. 

This is where the expertise of a seasoned truck accident lawyer becomes invaluable. An experienced attorney will extensively investigate the accident, determine the role of any defective parts, and prove the manufacturer’s liability in the accident.

4. Freight Loaders 

Freight loaders or shippers may be held legally responsible if they overload or improperly load trucks, particularly if this contributes to an accident. 

For instance, in NYC, trucks must not exceed 73,280 lbs of weight as recommended by New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.

In addition, if an accident occurs due to cargo spilling or shifting because of being overloaded, and this leads to injuries, the parties responsible for the freight loading or shipping can be subject to legal action.

To hold a cargo loader accountable, you’ll need to gather substantial evidence, including loading documentation and cargo weight records. This demonstrates whether the loaders neglected their responsibilities, directly leading to the accident. 

5. Negligent Municipal Authority

In some truck accident cases, the fault doesn’t lie with the trucking company or related personnel but with municipal authorities responsible for road maintenance. For example, if an accident results from subpar road conditions, such as poorly maintained roads, missing signs, or inadequate traffic control, the government entity in charge of these roads could be held liable for your damages.

In New York, holding a governmental entity accountable for a truck accident involves specific legal procedures. You must provide written notice of claim within 90 days following the accident

It involves gathering concrete evidence that links the accident to the government’s failure to maintain roads or traffic control. This might include collecting road condition reports, photographs of the scene, and expert assessments.

What Evidence Do You Need to Prove Liability in a Truck Accident Case?

insurance settlements for truck accidents

After a truck accident in New York, gathering the proper evidence is crucial for proving liability. This evidence should be clear, relevant, and directly linked to the accident to establish a strong case. Here’s what you need:

  • Black Box Data: Many trucks contain a black box, similar to those in airplanes, which records vital data such as speed, braking, and engine performance. This information can be essential in reconstructing the accident and understanding the truck’s operation before the crash.
  • CCTV Footage: Video from nearby surveillance cameras or dashcams can provide a visual account of the accident and offer solid proof of what happened and who was at fault.
  • Driving Records: The truck driver’s driving history, including past violations or incidents, can help establish patterns of negligence or irresponsibility.
  • Maintenance Records: These records can show if the trucking company didn’t perform routine vehicle maintenance, thus causing mechanical failures that led to the accident.
  • Driver Drug Tests: Results from post-accident drug and alcohol tests can reveal if the driver was under the influence which significantly impacts liability claims.
  • Expert Testimony: Accident reconstruction experts or mechanical engineers can provide professional insights into how and why the accident occurred

These elements are essential in a truck accident case, and an Uptown Injury Law, PLLC, our truck accident attorney can help gather additional evidence specific to your case. Remember, a well-documented and evidence-backed claim is critical to ensuring justice and fair compensation.

How Much Is a Truck Accident Settlement Worth?

The value of a truck accident settlement varies significantly, depending on the details of each case. While the average settlement might be around $73,000, the compensation can range from thousand to several million dollars, reflecting the specific circumstances of each accident.

In addition, the insurance settlement can also vary depending on a large truck or a semi-truck accident. The key factors that influence the settlement value include:

  • The severity of the accident
  • The extent of injuries
  • The percentage of fault of the truck driver or company

Damages You Can Recover in a Truck Accident Case

If you or a loved one has been in a truck accident, it’s essential to understand the damages you can pursue from the liable parties. This compensation can help cover the medical bills, lost income, and remaining expenses incurred due to the crash. In a truck accident lawsuit, you can divide the damages into three categories:

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the financial expenses incurred due to the truck accident. These damages are tangible, and you can calculate them easily. The financial/economic damages you can recover from the at-fault parties in a truck accident case include the following:

  1. Medical Expenses: This includes hospitalization, medication, surgery, rehabilitation, and any other medical treatment needed due to the accident.
  2. Lost Wages: If the incident caused you to miss work, you can recover the lost income.
  3. Property Damage: This includes repairing/replacing your car or other property damaged in the crash.
  4. Future Loss of Earnings: In case of permanent disability that affects your work, you can recover compensation for the future loss of earnings.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are intangible, and you can not calculate them immediately. These damages cover the emotional and psychological harm caused by the accident. The non-economic damages you can recover from the responsible parties in a truck accident claim include:

  1. Pain and Suffering: This covers the physical and emotional pain caused by the accident.
  2. Emotional Distress: If the accident caused you mental anguish, such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD, you may be able to recover compensation for it.
  3. Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If the accident results in a permanent disability that hinders your ability to enjoy life as before, you can claim damages for impacting your quality of life.
  4. Loss of Consortium: If the accident took away the companionship or intimacy of your spouse, you can claim damages for loss of consortium.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are penalties for the trucking company or at-fault driver if their negligence contributed to the accident. The court grants these damages only when the responsible party demonstrates gross negligence or malice. They are not applicable in every truck accident case.

How to File a Truck Accident Claim in NY?

To file a truck accident claim in NY, partner with an experienced truck accident lawyer who can guide you through the intricate process and help you seek compensation. After getting medical attention, you can expect the following steps when filing a personal injury claim for a truck accident:

Step 1: Sign an Agreement with a Truck Accident Lawyer

The first step is signing an agreement with a truck accident lawyer to begin the confidential lawyer-client relationship officially. The contract should outline the contingent fee percentages, expenses, timelines, and terms for canceling the agreement. If your accident occurred in New York State, you can consider hiring an Uptown Injury Law, PLLC, truck accident attorney for to get maximum compensation for your case. 

Step 2: Channel Communication Through Your Lawyer Only

It’s essential to limit communication about your case to your attorney only. Your lawyer will guide you on how to interact with your insurance company, the trucking company, the police, the DMV, and doctors.

This will help ensure that you don’t make any mistakes that could jeopardize your case, especially when dealing with the insurers. Furthermore, allowing your lawyer to handle communication will save you time and hassle so that you can focus on your recovery while your attorney deals with the legal matters on your behalf. 

Step 3: Investigation and Collection of Evidence

Your legal team will thoroughly investigate to gather evidence supporting your case. This includes appointing qualified accident scene investigators and reviewing police reports and medical records. They will also handle conversations with the truck company’s legal and insurance representatives.

Step 4: Send the Personal Injury Demand Letter

Your truck accident attorney will prepare and dispatch a demand letter for personal injury to the responsible party’s insurance company. This letter outlines a specific settlement amount that you are seeking as compensation for the injuries sustained in the truck accident.

Step 5: Proceed Toward Settlement or Trial

The truck company has your demands and can choose to accept them, negotiate the terms, or proceed with a personal injury lawsuit. If you can not reach an agreement, your lawyer will take the at-fault party to court.

Step 6: Go to Trial

In certain situations, it might be essential to initiate a civil lawsuit. If this happens, your lawyer will submit a legal complaint, commencing the discovery phase. When all else fails to bring a resolution, a judge or jury will establish liability and resolve your truck accident case.

Get a Free Case Review from Uptown Injury Trucking Accident Lawyers

If you’re struggling with the aftermath of a truck accident, Uptown Injury Law PLLC is here to help you. With 15 years of legal experience and a track record of securing over $100 million in personal injury settlements, our team is committed to providing exceptional legal representation. 

We’ll offer a detailed assessment of your case, clarifying who’s at fault and map out a strategy to secure the rightful compensation you deserve.

Don’t delay in seeking the justice you deserve. Reach out to us today for dedicated support and expert legal advice. Call us toll-free at 917-540-8728.

FAQs

What Should Truck Accident Victims Do Immediately Following a Collision?

If you’re involved in a truck accident, your first priority should be your safety. Call 911 to report the accident immediately. Even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured, it’s important to seek medical attention. Be sure to document the scene: exchange contact information with the other parties involved and take pictures of the vehicles, any damages, and the surrounding area.

Can Truck Drivers Be Held Liable for Accidents They Cause?

Yes, truck drivers can be liable for accidents they cause. Most truck accidents happen due to negligent behaviors, including distracted driving, driving while exhausted, or driving under the influence. However, liability may extend beyond just the driver, including the trucking company, truck manufacturers, or government.

How Can a Truck Accident Attorney Help Me?

Attorneys specializing in truck accidents can guide you through your legal choices, identify potentially liable parties, and pursue compensation. They can hire expert witnesses and medical professionals to gather evidence to hold the trucking company or driver accountable for their negligence.

What Are the Damages That Truck Accident Victims Can Recover?

You have the right to a civil suit to seek compensation for various damages. They may include medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and, in certain cases, punitive damages. Additionally, the family of the victim can also file wrongful death lawsuits.

Can a Trucking Company be Sued for a Truck Accident?

In case of a truck accident, the trucking company can be responsible if it doesn’t perform routine truck maintenance. You can also hold the trucking company responsible for not conducting proper background checks or training the truck driver. Generally, if the company is negligent in any way, it can be held liable for any damages caused by the accident.

Can Truck Accident Victims Pursue Compensation From Multiple Parties?

Yes, truck accident victims can seek compensation from multiple parties, including the at-fault driver, trucking company, maintenance company, manufacturer of faulty parts, and other potentially liable parties. Pursuing compensation from all the involved parties can increase the chances of financial recovery.

What Legal Knowledge and Expertise Help Pursue a Truck Accident Insurance Claim?

Filing a truck accident insurance claim requires a thorough understanding of personal injury law, trucking regulations, and the ability to navigate insurance company negotiations. It’s essential to work with a seasoned truck accident lawyer who can guide you through the legal process.

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Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers
WRITTEN AND REVIEWED BY
Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers

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