At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, we know how to help crash victims fight for the compensation they need to recover from their injuries. For a free legal consultation, call us today at 1-800-747-3733. We will help you determine who was liable for your accident and explain how you can hold them responsible.
Who Is Responsible for a Tractor Trailer Accident?
The party whose negligence caused or directly contributed to the crash is liable for the damages. In some situations, more than one party is at fault.
For example, if a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and caused your crash, their employer could be liable for your damages. This is because companies are liable for the actions employees take while they are working. If a truck driver ignores federal trucking regulations and drives longer than the legal hourly limits, the trucking company could be responsible. This is especially true if we uncover evidence that the company encouraged its employees to falsify driving logs or otherwise violate industry regulations.
The trucking company is not always the only liable party, however. If the driver in your case was unable to stop the tractor trailer due to defective brakes, we may be able to hold the part manufacturer responsible. If the problem occurred during installation, the auto shop that installed the brakes could be liable for your crash.
As you can see, in a tractor trailer accident, there may be multiple defendants who could have to pay your damages. If there are multiple defendants, there are usually multiple insurance companies involved as well.
How Are Tractor Trailer Accidents Different From Other Motor Vehicle Crashes?
Tractor trailer wrecks differ significantly from a typical car accident. This is because:
- These accidents often result in more fatalities and severe injuries;
- Tractor trailers can jackknife more easily than other vehicles;
- Trucks can roll over more readily than some other types of vehicles; and
- Tractor trailers need a much longer distance to come to a stop than cars.
When tractor trailer crashes occur, the victims are often left with substantial damages. That means accident claims often involve large settlements, which gives trucking companies significant incentive to avoid paying settlements whenever possible.
The way we pursue these claims is also different. After a truck accident, the trucking company usually has access to a wealth of evidence that could prove liability in your case. This can include driver’s rest logs, which would indicate the hours they were on the road, and maintenance records, which would show when the vehicle was last serviced. The company could also have:
- Dash cam video showing the wreck;
- Post-crash drug and alcohol test results for the driver;
- Employment records and driving history of the truck driver; and
- Records of previous accidents involving the tractor trailer.
Because the trucking company has possession of this evidence, we must act quickly to make sure it is not destroyed. When we take on a new case, we begin by sending a letter of spoliation to the trucking company, directing it to preserve all evidence that relates to the accident.
What Do We Have to Prove in a Tractor Trailer Accident Claim?
For each defendant, we must prove that:
- The at-fault person or company had a duty of care to you;
- They violated that duty of care;
- That negligence caused your tractor trailer accident; and
- You experienced damages in the crash.