If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, you may qualify to receive compensation for your damages. However, filing a claim for a truck accident can be more complex than a standard car accident, which is why many people hire a truck accident lawyer to represent them when facing trucking companies or other liable parties.
This blog explains all the different factors that complicate truck wreck claims and what you might want to consider when choosing a personal injury lawyer in your area.
Liability Does Not Always Fall on the Truck Driver or a Single Party
In many car accident claims, liability generally falls on the at-fault driver. However, in truck accident cases, while a truck driver may be deemed at fault for an accident, they might not be held liable for the damages the accident caused.
Trucking companies that employ drivers to transport commercial goods may be held vicariously liable for their employees’ actions when accidents occur. However, truck drivers who work as independent contractors may have to use their own auto insurance to cover damages if they were found at fault for an accident.
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Other Parties Related to the Truck Driver May Be Held Liable
In some cases, other parties that work with truck drivers or affect the safety of the truck may be held liable for an accident if their negligence contributed to it. For example, you might name the following parties in your case when pursuing compensation:
- The loading company if it is a separate entity from the trucking company (e.g., a retail store contracts the trucking company to transport goods, but its employees load the truck)
- The maintenance company if poor or a lack of maintenance caused the vehicle to malfunction and get into an accident
- The truck manufacturer if a truck’s defective design or manufacturing led to an accident (e.g., faulty brakes)
- A parts manufacturer if an installed part in the truck had defects that led to an accident
If multiple parties are found liable for the truck accident, you may have options to file separate claims against each party that contributed to the accident.
When an Accident Involves Multiple Drivers
In cases where a multiple vehicle pile-up occurred in the accident, you may have to file claims against separate drivers besides the truck driver if their actions caused the truck to collide with yours.
For example, a semi-truck driver had to swerve out of the way when a DUI driver cut them off unexpectedly. However, in the process, the truck’s trailer collided with your vehicle. In this scenario, you may name the DUI driver as a liable party for your injuries.
Discovering the Cause of a Truck Accident Can Take Time
Whether you are trying to determine whether a trucking company is liable for your accident or how many drivers contributed to a collision, it can take weeks to even months of investigation to reach these conclusions. Hiring a truck accident lawyer can help you retrieve evidence for your case during the discovery phase, but even then, this can be dependent on how cooperative the truck driver and/or their employer is.
Certain aspects of the discovery stage can prolong determining the cause of the accident, such as:
- Whether the trucking company provides black box information
- Whether your lawyer has to subpoena driving records and other truck-related records that show insight on actions taken before the accident
- Whether there is available footage of the accident, such as from a vehicle dashcam, a security camera nearby, or a traffic camera
- Whether your lawyer can locate and record testimony from witnesses
- How detailed the reporting officer’s notes are about the accident in the official crash report
- Whether photos and videos were taken of the accident scene and the vehicles involved
At Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers, we have an in-house litigation team who can do the research necessary for building your case. We aim to build a comprehensive case for you while being mindful of how long you have to file your case.
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Each State Has a Separate Statute of Limitations
Trucks that do interstate commerce often navigate highway systems that cross state borders. However, so do many drivers enjoying some domestic travel. If you got into an out-of-state truck accident, this can complicate your case because you may have to decide whether to file your claim based on where you reside or where the accident occurred.
Keep in mind that states have different statutes of limitations, which are legal deadlines that mandate how long plaintiffs have to file a specific type of lawsuit. Here are some examples of differing statutes of limitations for truck accidents:
- Ky. Rev. Stat. § 304.39-230 sets a two-year filing period, starting from the date of the accident or when the last personal injury protection (PIP) payment was made
- Florida Statutes § 95.11 sets a four-year filing period for personal injury cases but a two-year filing period for wrongful death cases
- CC Art. 3492 in Louisiana sets a one-year filing period for both injury and wrongful death cases
Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers Will Stand Up for Your Accident Case
Several other factors not listed in this article can complicate truck wreck claims, from conflicting state laws for accident claims that cross state borders to cases involving uninsured or underinsured drivers. A truck accident lawyer from Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers can review your case and strategize how to pursue compensation on your behalf.
Call our law firm today to receive a free consultation with a member of our team.