When you’re hurt through no fault of your own, it isn’t fair for you to have to pay for your medical bills and lost wages out of pocket. Why should you be on the hook financially for someone else’s mistake? Auto accident victims in Alabama get compensation from at-fault drivers all the time, but when the at-fault drivers are behind the wheels of semi-trucks, the situation can be a little more complex.
After truck accidents, it’s common for multiple parties involved with the commercial truck to point fingers at each other. The truck company may claim the driver was negligent, while the driver may claim that the truck company didn’t load the trailer properly or follow safety guidelines and laws. And in some cases, both parties may blame the owner of the truck, if it is leased from a third party, and claim they failed to maintain the truck in safe working condition.
Determining who to sue after a truck accident can be difficult, but with the help of this blog and the advice of an experienced Montgomery truck accident lawyer, you can move forward confidently.
After crashes, most people’s instinct is to blame the person behind the wheel of the vehicle that struck them. And while truck drivers need special licenses and training to drive big semis, they’re just as prone to making mistakes as other drivers. Navigating dense traffic while hauling 80,000 pounds requires intense focus and concentration, and being distracted, sleep-deprived, or impaired can result in a serious and potentially deadly accident.
Truck companies want to make as much money as possible when they send vehicles out on the road. To maximize productivity, they may be tempted to load trucks as quickly as possible, or even to overload them to get more money per delivery. Some truck companies even push drivers beyond legal limits for hours worked in a given time period. When trucks are overloaded and/or drivers are overworked, the risk of an accident skyrockets.
Many truck drivers don’t own their trucks, and many of the companies that use trucks and trailers don’t own them, either. But both drivers and companies that use trucks and trailers expect them to be in good condition and free from defects or maintenance issues that can put them and their cargo at risk. Truck owners who fail to regularly inspect and replace damaged tires, replace brakes, check trailer hitches and connections, etc., can be held liable if an equipment failure causes a loss of control and a crash.
Sometimes, big trucks are involved in crashes with innocent drivers, but no one associated with those trucks is liable. Instead, it’s another driver who may or may not have also been involved in the crash. If a driver cuts off a truck driver or makes an erratic movement that causes the driver to slam on their brakes or swerve, they may end up causing a crash. To make matters worse, those drivers don’t always stop and may not even be aware that their actions contributed to or caused a crash.
Liability after some truck accidents may fall on more than one party. For example, the driver who hit you may have been distracted at the time of the crash. And because the trailer he was hauling was overloaded, the time he needed to be able to come to a complete stop was significantly increased.
Because the truck owner failed to replace the truck’s worn brakes, he was even less able to slow down or stop in time to avoid a collision. In a case like this, the driver, the trucking company, and the truck owner could all be partially liable. When filing a truck accident claim, it’s important to review all the facts first to ensure you maximize your chances of getting full compensation from all parties responsible.
Truck accident claims aren’t just complex when it comes to determining who was at fault; they’re also complex because insurance companies are often highly resistant to paying victims the money they’re owed. Because truck accidents usually cause serious injuries, insurance companies are more likely to dig in their heels and either offer lowball settlements or deny compensation entirely than pay out the large settlements victims are owed.
At The Vance Law Firm, we’re familiar with insurance companies’ underhanded tactics after truck accidents. We’ve seen how they try to leave innocent victims on the hook for their expenses, even when they couldn’t possibly have prevented their crashes. We don’t stand for it, and neither should you. Contact us today for a free consultation. We’ll work hard to get you full compensation.