Commercial trucks like 18-wheelers carry a huge potential to cause a ton of life and property damage if they’re involved in accidents. For the victim, it’s crucial to get as much compensation as possible. For that to happen, they need to sue the right party.
A commercial truck accident attorney will investigate the case and suggest whether to file a lawsuit against the trucking company, manufacturer, or driver. He will also suggest the kind of compensation to expect from the lawsuit.
When To Sue a Trucking Company
It can seem illogical to sue the company when the accident was seemingly the driver’s fault. But, in the majority of 18-wheeler and semi-truck accident cases, suing the company directly can lead to greater compensation for the damages incurred.
Your ability to sue the trucking company would depend on whether or not the truck driver was an independent contractor or an employee of the company. In order to do this, you must prove that the accident was caused by the company’s negligence.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hit By a Truck
Truck accidents happen to be the most serious kind of accident, calling for an immediate medical emergency. So, your first priority should be to get immediate medical help.
The next thing you need to do is find an attorney. Since truck accidents cause immense emotional, financial, and physical damage that can last a lifetime, the victims deserve compensation.
If you have been hit by a semi-truck, your attorney will file a semi-truck accident lawsuit on your behalf. He will look into the details to see if you should go against the company, the driver, or both. It is your legal right.
Please note that there may be a statute of limitations in some states as to how long you ave to file an accident claim. If you miss that window of time, you won’t be able to sue anyone. That is why taking legal action as quickly as possible is crucial.
Trucking Company Negligence
You may sue the trucking company if the negligent behavior is what caused the accident. Below are the common situations and types of negligence on the part of trucking companies that may call for a lawsuit.
Every trucking company has an obligation to hire only the safest drivers who can perform their job correctly and responsibly. However, if the company records show the hiring of personnel with several past driving violations or who are not best qualified to drive a commercial truck, then the company can be held accountable.
Poor training Practices
It’s the trucking company’s responsibility to properly train their drivers regarding how to safely handle equipment and follow all the transportation laws on the road. Failure to properly train/educate the drivers could lead to on-road and driving negligence resulting in accidents for which the company can be held liable.
Falsifying hours of service log
A common cause of truck accidents is driver fatigue. If the company knowingly tampered with hours of service logged, resulting in excess fatigue which caused the accident, then the victim could sue the company.
Poor truck maintenance
It’s important to keep the trucks and all the crucial parts in safe and working conditions. That includes regular maintenance and engine servicing. You can hold a company liable if they failed to maintain and conduct timely repairs to equipment that might have caused the accident.
As you can see, myriad factors and nuances determine whether or not it makes sense to sue a trucking company. That’s why it’s always best to work with a trucking law firm.
Compensation After a Trucking Accident
Because of the nature of trucking accidents, most people sustain serious life-altering injuries. The victims have to handle exorbitant medical bills. Many wind up unable to work ever due to loss of limbs.
Your entire lifestyle can change negatively.
If you win the lawsuit, the compensation could easily cover for:
- All the medical expenses including post-accident care and emergency visits
- Loss of wages due to inability to work
- Property damage
- Emotional suffering and pain
And, even though no compensation can undo the damage and change things to the way they were; it could surely help alleviate the financial stress.
The details of a truck accident are a lot more nuanced than your typical car crash lawsuit. There are many parties involved like the driver, trucking company, and the truck manufacturer. Also, these companies must follow rules regarding training, logging working hours, documentation, upkeep of equipment, and maintenance.
If injuries happen due to a violation of these rules, you can hold the company liable. But, to know all that, you must work with an attorney like the ones present at Burnes Libman.
In 2017, Steve Libman was appointed President of the Interstate Plaintiffs Trucking Lawyers Association (APITLA), an association dedicated to educating lawyers on trucking issues and improving highway safety. He is a two-time recipient of the Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in The Arena Award” for attaining an exceptionally high level of professional achievement in the promotion of interstate trucking highway safety. Libman is additionally recognized by the National Trial Lawyers Association as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers, and is a Lifetime Member of both the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. He is also a member of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association and the Chicago Bar Association.