To be “liable” means to be responsible for something that happened. When we talk about liability in an 18-wheeler crash, we are talking about holding the people, companies, or parties who made a mistake responsible for their actions.
To correctly determine who is liable for your injuries, you need to understand what happened and what went wrong. However, many factors can contribute to a crash, and it’s not unusual to have more than one factor influence the crash, or to find more than one person or company liable.
An experienced truck crash lawyer can quickly get started by investigating the situation to determine if:
- There was any mechanical or parts failure, and whether it was due to improper maintenance or poor manufacturing.
- The driver was driving responsibly, or if they were under the influence, not paying attention, or drowsy.
- There was any semi-truck driver error.
- The company was pushing the driver to work more than is healthy and safe.
- The truck’s electronic records show any other examples of misconduct.
- The big rig driver has a history of dangerous behavior.
- Every protocol was followed correctly (for example, loading).
- If anything else was amiss that may have caused the crash.
It’s common for multiple issues to cause a crash with a commercial vehicle. For example, a trucking company may push their driver to drive farther and rest less, resulting in improper loading, ignoring parts that need to be maintained, and leading the driver to make costly mistakes behind the wheel to meet those quotas.
In addition to the trucking company and their driver, other liable parties may include:
- The company who does maintenance or repairs on the truck
- A manufacturer, for instance, the company that makes the truck’s tires
- Another driver on the road at the time of the crash
- The person who loaded the large truck’s cargo
- The truck driver’s spotter or co-driver
When there is more than one person or company responsible for a crash, it means there will be multiple insurance companies involved in the resulting insurance claim or lawsuit. In these situations, an experienced truck crash lawyer who understands the process of determining liability, preserving the evidence, and fighting for your rights is an invaluable resource for injured people.
Your Truck Accident Case Gets More Complicated if the Driver Is an Independent Contractor
Hiring a driver as an independent contractor is common among trucking companies because if the contracted driver causes a crash, the company won’t be held accountable for its mistakes behind the wheel. However, how these laws affect your case depends on your unique situation, including factors like if the driver had their own truck and insurance, how much the trucking company was able to influence the driver’s actions, and more.
If the driver of the truck who hurt you was a contractor, or if you don’t know if they were an employee or not, don’t wait to contact an attorney.