Who Is Liable for a Fatal Semi-Truck Accident?

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Establishing liability in trucking accidents is crucial if a large truck has not only destroyed your car but has also led to physical injuries. Holding the right party responsible for your suffering is critical to ensure that you recover the necessary compensation.

Accidents involving semi-trucks and tractor-trailers caused 452 deaths in 2019

Texas Department of Transportation

Understanding Liability in a Fatal Semi-Truck Accident

Semi-truck accidents often result in fatalities due to the considerably huge size and weight of the trucks. If you have lost a loved one to a truck accident, it is important to understand who is liable to file your claims.

  • The truck driver can be held responsible for the accident if their negligence, carelessness, reckless driving, or failure to obey the traffic rules has resulted in the accident. Some other cases where the truck driver may be liable for the accident is for poor maintenance of the vehicle, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or driving aggressively.
  • The employer may be held responsible for the accident if they have been negligent and hired an unqualified driver, failed to provide adequate training, forced drivers to work long shifts, or overloaded the cargo.
  • The 3rd party responsible for truck maintenance may be sued for the accident if they have failed to conduct regular inspections, or have performed a shoddy maintenance job.
  • If the accident was a result of defective brakes, transmissions, tires, or steering column then the truck manufacturer may be held responsible for the accident.
  • In certain cases, the local government body who is responsible to maintain the road conditions may be sued if they have not cleared debris lying on the road or failed to clear vision obstructions.

Claiming Damages After A Fatal Semi-Truck Accident

With the assistance of the experienced truck accident attorneys at Angel Reyes & Associates in Dallas, TX, based on the events that led to the accident and the damages and fatalities caused by the crash, the surviving family of the person killed in the accident can claim legal compensation.

States generally allows families up to two years from the date of death to pursue a wrongful death claim. So it is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Depending on the state in which the accident has occurred and based on the party responsible for the accident, the surviving family members usually have about 2 years to file a wrongful death claim and pursue compensation. In some cases where the claim has to be filed against a government entity, the time period may be limited to 6 months.

Who is Liable for a Fatal Semi-Truck Accident?

Fatal semi-truck accidents involve unique aspects of liability, where:

  • Drivers can be sued for failing to obey the rules of the road, maintaining their vehicles, or taking breaks.
  • Maintenance personnel can be sued for improperly passing vehicles that fail inspection or performing shoddy work.
  • Contractors can be sued for failing to load or couple the tractor-trailer properly.
  • Employers can be sued for negligent hiring, training, and retention practices, forcing drivers to work illegal shifts etc.
  • Local governments can be sued for failing to clear debris or vision obstructions.
  • Truck manufacturers can be sued for defects involving the brakes, tires, steering columns, transmissions, and other components.

Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer

If you have lost a loved one to a trucking incident, it is recommended to seek help through a truck accident lawyer who can help you in collecting evidence and proving liability. Most of the semi-trucks are operated by large firms, agencies, or the government and it may be difficult to fight on your own against such organizations that have huge financial resources. Moreover, multiple parties may be responsible for the accident fatalities and injuries but it could be difficult to prove fault without having an expert who can expose certain matters. Hence, it is best to hire an experienced and knowledgeable truck accident attorney who will help you hold the at-fault party accountable in the court so that you get rightfully compensated for your loss.

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