A truck accident claim has more potentially liable parties than a regular car accident claim. Here are some of the parties who may be on the hook for your truck accident:
The Truck Driver
Many accidents occur due to driver mistake or error, and truck accidents are no exception. It may be that the truck driver was intoxicated, driving over the speed limit, ignoring traffic rules or exceeding their working hours. In short, any time a truck driver is negligent on the road, and their negligence causes an accident, they become liable for the damages just like any other motorist would be.
The Truck Manufacturer
Again, the manufacturer of the truck or trailer may also be liable for the accident if it is traced to a defective part. This may be the case, for example, if the hook system that attaches the truck to the trailer was defectively manufactured, and it accidentally disconnected while the truck was navigating a turn, and caused your accident. These kinds of accidents are pretty difficult to prove, however, and you will probably need an expert witness and an experienced truck accident lawyer to prevail.
The Trucking Company
The trucking company may also be to blame for your damages if the accident can be traced back to its actions or inactions. For example, if the trucking company hired a driver with a history of drunk driving, you can use the legal principle of negligent hiring and retention to hold it liable for your damages. Another example is if the trucking company overworked its drivers and made them exceed the allowable driving hours.
The Owner of the Truck or Trailer
Trucking companies don't always own the trucks or trailers they use for hauling goods; they may lease the trucks. If that is the case, then there are circumstances under which the owner of the truck or trailer may be held liable for the accidents their trucks or trailers cause; in such a case, the owner becomes liable for the damages. It may be that the owner of the truck knew (or should have known) that their truck was not roadworthy, but still went ahead and leased it to the trucking company. In that case, you have a claim against the owner of the truck.
The Loader of the Cargo
Lastly, it may also be that the party that loaded the trailer is the one responsible for your damages. A fitting example is if they overloaded the truck or did not distribute the weight of the load, making the vehicle unstable and causing an accident.
For more information, contact a local lawyer, such as James Lee Katz.