Who Might Be Liable for My Truck Accident Injuries?
If you were seriously hurt in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the associated damages. In order to bring a claim against the liable party or their insurance company, however, you would have to prove liability in addition to causation and damages.
Your attorney can help by conducting a thorough investigation. A seasoned truck accident lawyer will know the parties who might be liable and can gather all available evidence of fault.
Regarding truck accident cases in particular, the defendants usually include one or more of the following parties:
- The Trucker
If the trucker was responsible for the collision and happens to be an independent contractor, he or she will be responsible for the damages. Independent truckers must purchase adequate insurance coverage, including bodily injury liability and property damage liability, and maintain an active policy for as long as they’re on the road.
- The Motor Carrier
If the trucker was at fault but he or she isn’t an independent contractor, the transportation company that employed him or her may be responsible. Under a legal doctrine called vicarious liability, employers are financially accountable for any damages their employees cause while acting within the scope and course of employment.
- The Cargo Loading Company
It’s not uncommon for third parties to load and unload tractor-trailers. If shifting or unsecured cargo was to blame for the accident, the contractor that loaded it may be liable for the resulting damages.
- The Maintenance Contractor
If the mechanics responsible for maintaining the big rig overlooked some of their duties, they could be deemed liable for the wreck. Something as simple as failing to ensure adequate tire pressure could have catastrophic consequences.
- The Parts or Vehicle Manufacturer
Unfortunately, even diligent maintenance might not prevent an accident if the vehicle or one of its parts is defective. If some kind of defect contributed to the crash, you may be able to hold the designer, engineer, manufacturer, or distributor financially accountable.
- The Municipality
County, state, and federal agencies are responsible for maintaining the roads so they’re reasonably safe for travel. Should they fail to do so—by overlooking massive potholes, for example, or erecting off-ramps that can’t actually accommodate 18-wheeler trucks—they could be held liable for any accidents that result.
If it turns out that you have grounds for a claim against the municipality, it’s important to remember there are much tighter filing deadlines. Whereas the standard statute of limitations for personal injury suits is four years, it’s shortened to three years when a government entity is the defendant. What’s more, you must notify the appropriate agency of your claim and allow for a 180-day investigation before filing.
Speak with a Stuart Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you intend to file a truck accident claim in Florida, turn to Donaldson & Weston to determine the most strategic way to proceed. We will not charge any attorneys’ fees unless you recover compensation through a settlement or trial verdict. Call 772-266-5555 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney in Stuart.