What Determines Liability After a Semi-Truck Crash?
The consequences of a semi-truck accident can be devastating, and as much as you would want to seek compensation, the process can be complex. Without the help of skilled Boston personal injury attorneys, it may be hard to determine liability in the accident.
Various factors determine whether the truck driver or the trucking company is responsible for your injuries. Besides, there could be other parties to blame, such as:
- The company responsible for maintaining, repairing, and servicing the truck
- The cargo handlers
- The manufacturer of the truck and parts
Your accident lawyer can investigate the circumstances around the accident. Depending on their findings of what happened and why the driver crashed into you, they can bring the liable party to book. Ensure you engage the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer for the most favorable outcome in your case.
When Are Truck Drivers Liable for Damages from a Truck Accident?
When drivers act within the scope of their employment and a truck accident still occurs, they’re often not liable for the damages. However, if the accident resulted from their negligence, they may be financially responsible for the injuries.
Typical scenarios that point to a truck driver’s liability include the following:
- The driver was using the semi-truck for personal reasons outside the scope of their contract.
- The driver is an independent contractor and not an employee of the trucking company, hence required to carry their own insurance.
- The driver made deliberate, negligent choices while driving, for example, texting while driving, speeding excessively, following too closely, working while tired, making illegal maneuvers, or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The truck driver is the owner, meaning the driver and the company are essentially the same.
Boston truck accident attorneys can investigate all these factors to determine driver liability. With such information, you and your lawyer would have a good starting point to file a compensation claim against the negligent driver.
When Are Trucking Companies Liable for Damages from a Truck Accident?
When a truck accident happens, yet the truck driver was acting within the scope of their employment, the trucking company may be held liable for the damages. Various state and federal laws outline the responsibilities of trucking companies in hiring, training, and operations. Failure to comply often opens room for the company to be held liable in the event of an accident.
Some factors that make a trucking company liable for damages sustained in an accident are the following:
Violation of Hours of Service
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) regulates the trucking industry. It has implemented compulsory Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, stipulating the number of hours that truck drivers can drive daily and weekly. The rules also dictate a driver’s mandatory breaks before returning to the road.
If a trucking company doesn’t enforce these rules and a driver causes an accident due to working long hours, the company may face fines and other penalties. The logbook is a reliable way for your truck accident attorneys in Boston to check the number of hours a driver had worked at the time of the accident.
Inadequate Truck Maintenance
The FMCSA also requires trucking companies to maintain their trucks in roadworthy conditions by conducting regular inspections, making immediate repairs, and performing preventative maintenance. Poor maintenance practices by trucking companies put drivers at risk of accidents, injuries, and even death, primarily due to mechanical failure during operation.
Truck features that could cause fatal accidents if not well-taken care of include the following:
- Failure to rotate tires and replace worn-out ones to prevent dangerous tire blowouts
- Failure to replace fluids and other braking and steering system fluids
- Not properly checking if the mirrors, lights, and windows are working correctly to enable drivers to react appropriately to distractions on the road
If the accident that caused your injuries occurred because of an error that could have been prevented with proper maintenance, the trucking company could be liable for your damages. Let experienced truck accident lawyers in Boston help you put up a fight to ensure you recover the maximum compensation you deserve.
Poor Hiring Practices
Trucking companies have a legal duty to ensure they hire safe drivers with the necessary qualifications for driving and handling a truck. It is deemed as negligence on the part of the trucking company if they do the following in their hiring practices:
- Hire drivers without the compulsory Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
- Fail to conduct a background check for the driver’s record
- Hire drivers with negative marks on their driving records, for example, being charged with DUI offenses
How Will My Attorney Prove Liability in My Truck Accident Case?
After investigating the accident and filing a lawsuit against the driver or the trucking company, your Boston truck accident attorneys still have to prove their case in court.
Some pieces of evidence they can bring to court include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Footage of the crash
- Police reports
- Eyewitness statements
- The driver’s logbooks
- The black box in the truck
- Accident reconstruction reports from experts
- The pictures you took of the collision and medical reports on your injuries
All these factors highlight the importance of working with skilled and experienced personal injury lawyers when filing a lawsuit. They understand personal injury laws and what they can do to present a strong claim for the maximum compensation amount possible.
An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Helping You Prove Liability in Your Truck Accident
If you get into a crash with a semi-truck, it’s crucial to collect all the evidence you can at the scene. Photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and other damages may go a long way in helping you prove your case. Moreover, you need the help of skilled Boston truck accident lawyers to help you determine liability to help you recover the damages.
We have highly skilled truck accident attorneys at our law firm who can help you determine liability in your truck accident case. Having been in practice for over 50 years, we have helped clients win in very complicated personal injury lawsuits. We can provide hands-on legal assistance to help you get back on your feet. Contact us for a FREE case evaluation.