Large truck accidents are a common occurrence in California due to its network of highways (some of which are known as the most dangerous roads in the U.S.). According to the latest data published by the NHTSA, seven percent of all fatal crashes involving large trucks or commercial trucks in the country happened in California in 2018. This was equivalent to 339 accidents involving 4,986 vehicles.
Truck accidents can happen to even the best and most careful of drivers. Regardless of the circumstances, whether the accident is due to unforeseen circumstances or the result of negligence, someone will be liable for the resulting injuries and death.
If you get injured or someone you know died of a car accident involving large trucks, you’re entitled to seek compensation and damages from the party at fault.
Determining Liability in a Fault State
California is a fault state. The person responsible for a car accident has liability and must, therefore, provide compensation and damages to the injured party. This means that if a driver admits to looking at their phone while driving which led to a collision, their insurance will have to pay for the other motorist’s medical bills and car repair. `
Who Has Liability in Truck Accidents?
Things get a bit trickier when an accident involves commercial trucks. Since it now involves an employee and employer, victims may have several parties to sue:
- The truck driver
- The retailer or company that hired the truck driver
- The independent contractor (if the company hired a third-party trucking company)
- The truck manufacturer (for incidents due to manufacturing defects)
Truck drivers are often liable for traffic accidents because they occur as a result of driver negligence or oversight. For example, a driver may be feeling sleepy or distracted by something on the side of the road, and that moment of distraction caused them to swerve slightly into the oncoming lane.
Employers may be held accountable if they are responsible for the driver’s exhaustive schedule, for example, or if they neglected the poor condition of their trucks. If any of these reasons contributed to the accident, employers may share liability in the accident.
Third-party contractors like workshops and crews that help load the truck may also be liable if their oversight caused the accident (e.g., they didn’t fasten the safety nets and tethers securely enough).
Victims Must Prove the Fault of the Truck Driver or Trucking Company
What’s important for personal injury and wrongful death victims is to prove that the other party is at fault; that the accident was a direct result of their negligence. The burden of proof could be difficult in some cases, which is why it’s important to hire experienced truck accident attorneys. Even if you have no plans of filing a lawsuit and are only interested in filing an insurance claim, you’ll need a personal injury attorney’s experience and knowledge of collecting police evidence and proving the fault of the responsible party.
Claim the compensation and damages you deserve as a personal injury victim or the surviving family of a wrongful death victim in a truck accident. Get in touch with Haffner Law so we can make this happen.