Operating a large commercial truck can be a dangerous occupation for drivers who often spend up to 11 consecutive hours on the road. However, the risk for passenger vehicle drivers who share the road with tractor-trailers weighing 20-30 times more than a car can be even more substantial. Commercial truck accidents, although more infrequent per mile than passenger vehicle wrecks, can be the most catastrophic. Research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that most deaths in large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants. It is clear that large trucks do not operate in a bubble, and passenger cars can become entangled when things go wrong, whether or not they are at fault.
If you have been involved in a crash with a large commercial truck, you need to know that you are backed by a trusted law firm with experience in truck accident law. Our team at Golden Law Office works hard to make the road a safer place for everyone. We can use our valuable experience in truck accident law to determine the ways you have been affected by the accident, helping you receive the compensation you need to recover your losses. One of the first steps in the process is determining the liable party in a tractor-trailer accident.
Potentially Liable Parties
There are multiple parties which may be responsible for a commercial truck accident, and not all of them are necessarily present at the time of the crash. It is impossible to determine who is at fault without thoroughly examining all aspects of the truck accident in question. To establish liable parties, investigations will be made into various aspects of the crash, including:
- Details of the accident report
- Footage from truck cab cameras
- Photographic evidence of the crash scene
- Medical records of those injured in the accident
- Damage to and condition of the vehicles
- Truck black box information
- Auto mechanic reports
- Available eyewitness statements
These pieces of evidence will help answer questions concerning the cause of the wreck and the party at fault. While it is often the case that a truck or car driver is responsible, the negligent party may be one which was involved behind the scenes, rather than on the scene of the accident. One or more of the following parties may be at fault in a commercial truck wreck:
- Truck Driver
- Trucking Company
- Truck Owner (if the truck is not owned by the company)
- Truck Manufacturer
- Truck Maintenance Personnel
- Cargo Loaders
- Shipping or Cargo Company
- Passenger Vehicle Involved in the Crash
- Another Driver on the Road
What Constitutes Responsibility?
After examination of the evidence discussed earlier, such as accident reports and witness accounts, how is it determined that a passenger vehicle should be held responsible in a tractor-trailer accident? The following determinants, if proved, can be pointed to as causes of the accident, making the car driver at least partly liable for the crash:
- Distracted driving
- Failure to follow the rules of the road
- Cell phone use
- Drug or alcohol use
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Aggression or road rage
- Failure to adjust to weather conditions
What to Do If You Are Partially at Fault
Each state determines its own personal injury legislation, and ways of handling fault and compensation in auto collisions can vary greatly from state to state. Because of the no-fault car insurance laws in Kentucky, car accident victims must rely on personal injury protection coverage in most cases, regardless of fault. Kentucky is one of 13 states which adheres to a “pure comparative negligence” law, meaning that if both parties in the accident are partially responsible, the fault will be divided between them based on percentage. For example, you may be found 15% responsible for the accident, and your loss recovery will be adjusted to reflect that percentage. Importantly, you can still receive compensation for your losses regardless of the amount you are determined to be at fault.
As soon as a crash happens, insurance companies will begin working quickly toward reaching a settlement. By reaching an early settlement, companies are often able to save a great deal of expense, particularly when an accident victim does not realize the severity of their injuries, is unsure what to do in the aftermath of a crash, overestimates their own culpability in the accident, or does not have the legal guidance of a capable attorney. It is important to refrain from signing or verbally agreeing to anything before speaking with your lawyer. An experienced legal advocate will walk with you through every detail of your case to make sure you are able to receive the compensation you need to fully recover from the damage you suffered.
Golden Law Office Will Work for You
As knowledgeable and accomplished truck accident lawyers, we at Golden Law Office work conscientiously to serve community members of the Richmond area. We have helped numerous clients receive much-needed compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, or other costs incurred in a commercial truck accident.
We devote effort to comprehensively investigating your unique claim, ensuring that every cost to you is accounted for. Reach out today for a free consultation on how a Richmond truck accident lawyer can help you.