Lawsuits Against Trucking Companies and Truck Owners After an Accident

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According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), large trucks like big-rigs per unit of travel, have a higher crash rate compared to passenger vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that while large trucks make up only 3 percent of all motor vehicle accidents, it tends to cause greater injury or property damage because of its large size and heavy weight. In 2008, as much as 4,000 were killed in crashes involving large trucks. In 2002, 130,000 people were injured in large truck accidents.

Federal Laws Regulating the Trucking Industry

Commercial vehicles like big-rigs must adhere to federal laws and regulations and if the trucking company, the owner, or the driver fails to meet those standards, they may be considered as liable if a trucking accident occurs. The following people may be held liable in a large truck accident:

  1. Driver
  2. Owner of the truck/trailer
  3. Person or company who leased the truck
  4. Manufacturer of the vehicle or any of the truck’s parts whose defect led to the accident
  5. Loader of the truck’s cargo

Drivers and/or Trucking Companies are Usually Liable for Injury

Of the above-mentioned, it is generally the owner of the truck or the trucking company who is held liable for injury and all accidents involving its trucks. The federal law holds the owner responsible even if the driver is a mere contractor.

But simply going after the trucking company or truck owner and saying they’re responsible because the law says so will not be enough to win your case. After all, these people would do their best to deflect the blame and liability by setting up a defense that it was the driver’s own negligence that caused the accident.

Making Your Case

At this point, assistance from an injury lawyer should be sought if you want to recover damages for your injuries or other accident-related expenses.

As building a case is important in order to have a successful personal injury claim, personal injury lawyers would know that aside from gathering witness statements and police reports, they can also gather the following data to prove the liability of the truck owner/company:

The report from the certified truck inspector from a government agency. This report would usually contain information on the condition of the important mechanical parts of the truck which can show if a defect caused an accident.

Data from the truck’s "black box". Like planes, trucks have a device that records information on the truck – from its speed, how long the driver has been on the road, and even the break patterns. The data from the black box can be used to show if the driver was speeding recklessly or failed to take a break while driving.