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Who is Liable in an 18-Wheeler Accident, the Driver or the Trucking Company?

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2023 | Personal Injury

How Do Truck Accidents Happen?

Trucks are heavy and massive, taking longer than smaller cars or pickup trucks to slow down in the face of danger. Common ways through which truck accidents happen are the following:

  • Distracted driving, where the driver could be texting or eating while driving
  • Poor maintenance of the truck
  • Fatigue among some long-distance drivers

Injuries sustained after an 18-wheeler accident can be life-threatening, and living with the consequences can be devastating. That’s why you should seek compensation to help you rebuild your life. An experienced personal injury lawyer in California can investigate the circumstances that led to the accident, determine liability, and help you fight for compensation.

How Will My Lawyer Gather Evidence to Determine Liability After a Truck Accident?

A skilled Torrance truck accident attorney has the knowledge to review various data that points to who or what might have caused the accident. The information they collect can help them create a strong case to bring a lawsuit against the liable party. The evidence they collect includes the following:

  • Police reports
  • Eyewitness statements
  • The driver’s activity logs to determine if they were working beyond the required hours.
  • CCTV footage of the accident scene
  • Accident reconstruction reports from accident investigation specialists

They may even download crucial data from the truck’s “black box” that records various events. However, they may need a court order to access the truck’s recorded events and examine the wrecked truck.

If you file a compensation lawsuit by yourself, you may not have access to all this data, and that’s why you should hire an experienced and aggressive Torrance truck accident lawyer to fight for you. A compassionate lawyer who wants to help you focus on your recovery will only rest once they win the compensation you deserve.

When is the Driver Liable for the Injuries I Sustained in a Truck Accident?

Driver error is a common cause of 18-wheeler accidents in California. While most truckers take their jobs seriously, others are negligent while driving. A thorough investigation of the events leading to the accident is crucial to determine the driver’s negligence. The driver is directly liable if they were:

  • Distracted at the time of the accident, for example, using the cell phone
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications
  • Speeding or moving too fast under the conditions surrounding the accident
  • Reckless aggressive, such as cutting other drivers off or tailgating
  • Not paying attention to traffic signs
  • Falling asleep while driving

In some situations, the driver’s actions may have neem influenced or forced by the trucking company that employs them. Your personal injury attorney in California may want to investigate this to ensure they don’t hold the driver liable for no fault of their own.

When is the Trucking Company Liable for the Accident?

Trucking companies are required by law to protect their drivers and ensure their safety while on the road. Sadly, companies that employ truck drivers don’t always make corporate decisions that benefit their employees. Many drivers are often caught in a system that compromises their safety and promotes risky driving behaviors.

When trucking companies contravene laws intended for the safety of truck drivers, they can be held liable for the damages in an accident. The company may be found guilty if:

  • They violate the driver’s working hours by pushing them to work longer than necessary without a break
  • Failure to properly inspect or maintain the truck
  • Not following the standard hiring procedures
  • Encouraging drivers to stay awake by using stimulants
  • Failing to provide adequate training for the drivers

Once your truck accident attorney in Torrance establishes that any of these conditions led to the accident that caused your injuries, they can help you file a lawsuit. They can also handle the case on your behalf so that you don’t have to deal with the back and forth of the case progress.

What if Multiple Parties Caused the Truck Accident?

In some cases, neither the driver nor the trucking company is responsible for the accident. Other parties that could be held liable for your injuries are the following:

  • Truck owner: The truck owner, driver, and owner are sometimes different parties. The owner might be liable if they didn’t inspect the truck, check fluid levels, safeguard the engine’s functionality, or maintain it properly.
  • Passenger vehicle drivers: Drivers of smaller passenger cars may be liable for a truck collision, for example, for making an illegal turn or cutting off the truck driver, causing them to lose control of the truck
  • Vehicle parts manufacturers: Some truck accidents happen because of a defective truck part that fails to work correctly. For example, faulty brakes on the highway can lead to a crash because the driver cannot safely bring the truck to a halt.
  • Shipping companies: Failure to load cargo safely by the shipping companies can cause an imbalance on the vehicle, loss of control by the driver, or tire blowout, all of which can lead to a truck accident. Once your lawyer establishes negligence by the shipping company, they can hold them liable for your injuries and pursue them for settlement.

Determining liability is not always straightforward, and proving the claim requires looking into several factors. Contact an experienced Torrance truck accident lawyer as soon as possible and let them fight for the compensation you deserve.

Legal Guidance in Proving Liability in a Truck Accident

18-wheeler accidents can have devastating consequences, and it’s crucial to pursue compensation to help you rebuild your life after an accident. However, proving lability can be complex, given that multiple parties could be responsible for causing the accident. Given the complexities, working with an experienced truck accident lawyer in California is your best bet at recovering damages.

Our lawyers have many years of experience in truck accident cases and would be happy to sit down with you and listen to your side of the story. We can investigate the claim and provide the legal counsel you need to understand the risks and options. Contact us to schedule a FREE in-depth case evaluation.