Being involved in a truck accident may change your life forever. You may grow timid around roadways due to the experience of being hit by something thousands of pounds heavier than your own vehicle. Along with that, you may have suffered very serious injuries due to your accident. With that come many questions. Who will be found liable? What happens if negligence was at play? Now you can have those questions answered.
How many truck accidents happen each year? The truth is, the number of truck accidents that have occurred in recent years is on the rise. In the past two decades alone, the number of trucking accidents has increased by 20%. In 2002, 4,897 individuals died and another 130,000 people were injured in these accidents.
Who are some parties that may be seen as responsible in my case? When you have been injured in a trucking accident, several entities may be liable. Here are some of those entities:
- The truck driver
- The owner of the truck or trailer
- The person or company that leased the truck or trailer
- The manufacturer of the vehicle, tires, or other parts
- The shipper or loader of the truck’s cargo
Has the truck accident occurred “within the scope of employment?” This is a good way to find out if the truck driver will be found liable on their employer’s time. Some things that may determine this include the nature and time of the employee’s conduct, the type of work the employee was hired to do, and the amount of freedom allowed to the employee in performing his or her duties.
Can trucking companies avoid liability? Trucking companies have tried to avoid liability in certain cases. This is due to the fact that trucking companies have sometimes obtained necessary permits to operate the truck but do not actually own the tractor, trailer, or equipment used to haul goods. Instead, they will rent the equipment and tractors from the owner or operator. Another issue that comes into play is whether or not the employee is considered to be hired through the trucking company or just an independent contractor. This can determine liability in a lot of cases.
What have federal laws and regulations done to end these issues? Under current federal law, any company that owns a trucking permit will be responsible for any accidents involving a truck with the company’s placard or name on it. A placard is given to the owner or operator, which includes the name of the trucking company and its permit numbers. They are then affixed to the door of the tractor-trailer. Therefore, they will probably not be able to avoid liability when it all boils down to it.
What if gross negligence was at play? If the driver’s acts were intentional, this can open a new can of worms. Employers are not usually liable for intentional torts, such as assault, battery, or kidnapping. This means, if a truck driver slams into another vehicle because he was mad at the person inside the vehicle on a personal level, the company will probably not be liable. The actual person driving the truck will be looked at and determinations will be made.
When you are involved in a truck accident, there may be many things to consider. You may have questions about liability and how you will receive the compensation you deserve when everything is said and done. This is why it is extremely important that you speak to an attorney you can trust. Call us today at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi to get answers and a good start to your case!