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What Parties Could Be Held Liable in a Trucking Accident?

You recently got into an accident with a semi or big truck. Now, you’re wondering: What parties could be held liable in a trucking accident? Am I entitled to damages?  How do these claims work?  What do I need to do? For help with your case, you can reach out to Heiting & Irwin, Riverside personal injury lawyers.

Heiting & Irwin have over four decades of experience assisting clients with personal injury and trucking accident cases. We have retrieved more than $400 million for our clients, and we’ll work hard to get you the settlement that’s rightfully yours in your trucking accident claim.

Trucking Accident Statistics

Getting into an accident with a semi or a large truck and trailer is incredibly dangerous. According to statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute’s latest statistics, in 2018, 4,136 people died in large truck crashes in the United States. While 16% of these deaths were truck occupants, a whopping 67% were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles!

Driving around trucks like tractor trailers is so risky because they weigh 20-30 times more than a passenger car and they are much taller. When a tractor-trailer driver wants to come to a stop, keep in mind that it takes their truck 20-40 percent farther than passenger vehicles to stop. If a road is slippery, they will need even more time. And, trucks have big blind spots, so truckers may not be able to see what’s on either side of them.

Additionally, truck drivers have stressful jobs. If they’re paid by the mile, they might try to drive as many miles as possible in a day, which means they could speed or drive while fatigued. But there are rules and laws to protect others from this dangerous conduct.  Truckers could also be distracted or hopped up on energy drinks or coffee, which could cause them to drive recklessly. Some truckers use illegal drugs on the job as well, which could result in serious injury or death.

Who Is Liable for a Trucking Accident?

Different parties could be responsible for a trucking accident depending on the circumstances surrounding the case.  It is always best to seek advice from Heiting & Irwin, Riverside personal injury lawyers, if you have been involved in a truck accident that resulted in serious injuries.

Even, if you cut off a trucker, were driving distracted, or were otherwise driving recklessly when you got into an accident with a truck, you may be held partially responsible. There may still be a reason you should be awarded some damages in the case.

If another driver was speeding to get around the truck, not paying attention, or driving recklessly in any other way, then they could be responsible.

If the trucker was driving dangerously, the trucker would likely be held liable. Each case must be evaluated on its own facts.

The trucking company could be to blame if they didn’t properly train the trucker or maintain their vehicles. For instance, if they didn’t have a safety checklist truckers had to check off before getting on the road or they didn’t hire people with trucking experience, the accident could be their fault.

If the company was responsible when it came to the maintaining their fleet but their mechanic didn’t repair the truck properly, they might be liable.

If the truck contained defective parts that were recalled or there was some other manufacturing defect, then the company that made the part might be at fault.

There could be one or more parties that are held responsible. A personal injury lawyer will be able to look at the evidence and determine the best damages for your case.

Evidence Used in a Trucking Accident

When a trucking accident occurs, it may be pretty straightforward who is responsible. Using evidence like witness statements, police records, video footage, medical records, and photographs could be enough. However, it could end up being much more complicated than that.

A personal injury lawyer might have to bring in an accident reconstruction specialist who will conduct a forensic analysis. They will then let the lawyer know what they think happened. The trucker’s activity logs and information from the black box in their truck could prove to be valuable evidence in your case as well.

What You Should Do When You’re in a Truck Accident

When you’ve been in a truck accident, you should first call the police so they can create a record of what happened. Then, get medical attention.  If you can, collect evidence like statements from witnesses who were at the scene, photographs of your injuries, the truck, your car, and damage to your belongings.  Get the trucker’s name, driver’s license information, and contact information, company name and number, insurance policy provider and policy number.  Get the license plate number of the truck and of the trailer.

It’s critical to go to the hospital or get appropriate medical attention immediately after the accident. You might not feel like you sustained any serious injuries, but you may very well be very injured. Even what you think is probably a minor injury can end up becoming much more serious later on. Tell the doctor at the hospital about any pain you’re experiencing and get tests, films and any X-rays done. If your doctor recommends any other tests, take them. Go to any specialists you’re referred to and take medicine you’re prescribed. You need to do everything in your power to feel better. Follow doctor orders and follow-up with the doctors.

If the trucking company or their insurance provider calls you, do not offer anything. You can confirm that you were in an accident and say when and where it occurred, but don’t tell them anything further.

How much are your injuries are going to cost you? How much time are you going to have to take off of work? Call a personal injury lawyer for help. They will figure out who is liable for your trucking accident, gather all necessary information and documents, and then pursue a settlement. They’ll negotiate as needed and take your case to trial if it comes to that. Usually, clients settle because going to court is time-consuming and could end up being much more expensive. Either way, your personal injury lawyer will do all the work for you so you can focus on recovering from your injuries at this time.

Contact Heiting & Irwin Today

When you’ve been in a trucking accident and you need legal help, Heiting & Irwin are here for you. We have dealt with many truck accident cases and will work hard so you get the settlement you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 951-682-6400 to start your case today.

Ms. Morgan obtained her Juris Doctor from Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California. She contributes to the improvement of both the local and legal communities, having provided pro- and low-bono legal services, and volunteering at legal clinics and other programs serving the community. View Attorney Sara Morgan's Attorney Bio Here.

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