Who Can I Hold Liable For a Truck Accident?
Accidents with semi-trucks tend to cause serious accidents, which makes it especially important for victims to maximize their compensation. Filing a claim against everyone who held some fault in the collision rather than just the most obvious party opens up more avenues for collectability. Plus, just because a third party’s role was not as obvious doesn’t mean they should get away with negligence. In many cases, if even one thing happened differently, an accident could be avoided. It’s our job to convince companies that “one thing” under their purview is worth caring about.
Only a thorough investigation can tell you who was to blame for your accident. Our attorneys can start one as soon as you reach out for help. In the meantime, here’s a list of the various parties we’ve held liable in past trucking accidents.
The Trucking Company
We’ll start with the low-hanging fruit: the company that employs the at-fault driver. Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine says the owner of a vehicle is liable for any damages caused by its driver.
While accident victims in every state can sue a trucking company for negligence if one of its employees causes a crash, this law makes it easier for Florida residents to bring a case. Your lawyer will not have to investigate the company to find concrete examples of negligence. As long as the trucking company’s name is on the vehicle title, that company can be held liable for any accident involving the truck.
An Independent Contractor
Trucking companies try to avoid liability when and where they can, which is part of the reason more truckers are working as independent contractors these days. Contractors own their big rigs and hold their own insurance. They are, therefore, directly responsible for their own mistakes, should those mistakes cause a crash.
The question of whether a driver has been misclassified as a contractor comes up often in truck accident claims because lawyers know the steps trucking companies take to attempt to divest themselves of liability. It’s worth looking into this issue simply because a trucking company may have a much higher insurance limit than an individual, which means you’re eligible to recover more.
A Truck or Truck Parts Manufacturer
Tire blowouts, brake failure, and engine problems are some of the more common mechanical issues that come with trucks—and it’s easy to see how any one of these could cause a serious crash. These failures are neither random nor unpredictable: They are the result of vehicles or parts that were not made for such heavy wear.
Big rigs travel thousands of miles a month. Manufacturers know this, and they must design their trucks well and make them with quality materials that will hold up. When a company cuts corners in the design and manufacturing process, the effects always show up sooner or later. If we cannot stop these companies from making the wrong choice, we can at least seek to hold them accountable to the full extent of the law.
Another Third-Party Company
Semi-trucks may be maintained and loaded by companies other than the one that owns them. This just adds more potentially liable parties to the mix. A poorly maintained truck may fail mid-drive, causing the driver to lose control. A tractor-trailer that has been loaded incorrectly may jackknife or flip over entirely. In some cases, third-party companies do not cause the accident outright, but their negligence makes it worse.
Most accident victims won’t know where to even start when it comes to finding and investigating third-party companies. Our team has plenty of experience doing so. We know how to spot indicators of third-party negligence and name these companies in your claim.
We Help Accident Victims Find Justice
As you can see, identifying the liable parties in a truck accident can take a full investigation. Trucking companies will put in the work to shift the blame wherever they can, so you need an attorney on your side to fight back. For over 60 years, our firm has been fighting for people like you.
Call Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A. today at (954) 467-8800 to schedule a free consultation. We can help you start your truck accident claim.