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Who May Be Liable for a Truck Accident?

Commercial truck accidents are different from crashes that involve only passenger cars, in part because in a trucking company usually employs the truck driver involved in the wreck. As the trucker’s employer, the trucking company (also known as a carrier) may bear legal responsibility for the truck drivers’ actions, as well as for the safety of the trucks it owns.

In addition to a truck driver and the carrier, several other parties may be liable for a truck accident. They may include:

  • The manufacturer of the truck and its parts.
  • Vendors providing services to the carrier.
  • The owner of the cargo.
  • A local government or contractors responsible for highway design or maintenance.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, it is likely that it will require an independent investigation of the crash to determine who should be held responsible for your injuries and other losses. At Kraft & Associates, P.C., our legal team investigates and litigates all types of commercial trucks accidents on behalf of individuals who have been injured and families who have lost loved ones.

Contact us today about your rights after a truck accident, including your right to obtain compensation for your losses from multiple parties. Please call us at (214) 999-9999 or contact us online.

Multiple Defendants in a Truck Accident Claim

There is a variety of data that should be reviewed after a commercial truck accident to determine what happened and who all may be legally responsible for the crash. This includes evidence collected at the crash scene, reports from police, and examining the truck and other vehicles in the wreck, including downloading data from the wrecked truck’s “black box” event data recorder. In some cases, accident reconstruction specialists may be consulted for a forensic analysis and interpretation of the accident.

The trucker’s activity logs, which by law must show his or her time behind the wheel as well as at rest, and other trucking company records should also be obtained, along with statements from witnesses and certain trucking company employees.

In many cases, a court order is required to make a carrier turn over records and release the wrecked truck for examination.

A thorough investigation is necessary in most truck accidents to determine what happened and why. A full review of the evidence may indicate that one or more parties should be held accountable for the crash. Individually or together in various combinations, they may include the:

  • Truck driver. A trucker may have caused an accident because of negligent behavior such as speeding or fatigued or distracted driving. There may be criminal charges pending and eventually a conviction. A truck driver is also responsible for inspecting the rig to ensure proper maintenance or loading of cargo. If a maintenance problem or cargo shift contributes to a truck accident, the trucker may bear part of the responsibility for the crash.
  • Carrier. A trucking company is responsible for the trucks and truck drivers it puts on the road. This includes accountability for hiring and training practices, which may be a problem if the company employs drivers who have driving or FMCSA rule infractions on their records or company records do not indicate proper training. Sometimes a carrier’s records or employee interviews indicate that the company pushes employees to save money by cutting corners on FMCSA hours of service (HOS) limits or truck maintenance and inspection requirements.
  • Cargo shipper and loader. Some carriers work as contractors to ship cargo for other companies. They may transport cargo that is sealed the whole time they handle it. The individual parties in such an arrangement – the cargo originator, shipper, loader and transporter – are each responsible for applicable federal and state regulations and can be held liable if negligent. If a cargo shift or other problems with cargo has caused a truck accident, records from each party involved with the cargo, including the carrier, need to be subpoenaed and examined.
  • Other vendors. Depending on the size of a carrier’s operations, there may be many vendors that take on outsourced work. This may include administrative work, such as recruiting drivers or conducting background checks and alcohol and drug tests, or truck maintenance, repair and dispatching work, or any other part of fleet operations. Some companies work with brokers to find cargo shipments for their trucks. Any third-party vendor may be held liable if their negligence contributes to a truck accident.
  • Truck manufacturer and parts makers. Some truck accidents are caused by the truck or one of it component parts failing, such as tire blowouts, brake failures or problems with the steering or coupling (kingpin) systems. This could be a maintenance issue, but if the failed part or system was defective from the start, a product liability claim may seek to hold the manufacturer and distributor accountable.
  • Government agencies and contractors. If a roadway hazard, such as a soft shoulder or broken pavement, contributes to a truck accident such as a rollover, the local or state government responsible for that stretch of highway may be held accountable. A negligent maintenance contractor hired by the government could be held liable as well if the work they performed caused a problem or if a work zone set up contributed to a crash.

If an investigation shows that several parties may be held liable for a truck accident, victims may be able to maximize the compensation they obtain for their losses through multiple claims.

A carrier will work quickly through its insurers and legal team to close out any potential claims in a serious wreck, sometimes offering fast settlements that may seem generous. But accepting a settlement before a truck accident has been fully investigated by an experienced and independent team may mean you have accepted far less than you deserve and have unwittingly signed away your right to seek more.

Kraft & Associates’ truck accident attorneys know how to investigate truck accidents fully and how to develop solid cases against negligent truck drivers, trucking companies, manufacturers and distributors, vendors and other third parties. We work diligently and aggressively to maximize compensation from all available sources for our truck accident clients.

Contact Experienced Truck Accident Attorneys in North Texas

Never accept a settlement for injuries and other losses in a truck accident without first discussing your case with a truck accident lawyer experienced with cases in Texas. The attorneys at Kraft & Associates, P.C., in Dallas have decades of experience obtaining compensation for clients injured in all types of commercial trucking accidents.

The legal team at Kraft & Associates, P.C., has the resources necessary to fully investigate a truck accident and bring solid claims against all responsible parties. Meet with us before signing any paperwork offered by an insurance company or trucking company lawyers. Phone (214) 999-9999, email us at kraftlaw@kraftlaw.com, or complete our online form for a free assessment of your case today.

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