Truck Accidents with Multiple Defendants
Posted in Truck Accidents on March 13, 2018
Victims of accidents involving 18-wheelers or commercial motor vehicles can obtain compensation for their injuries by filing a personal injury suit. However, liability concerns surrounding commercial vehicles are very complex. While many victims assume that the truck driver is the negligent party, there are often multiple defendants in these cases. Truck accidents involve both state and federal laws involving not only the driver, but also his or her employer, the manufacturers of the vehicle, and even the crews who load cargo into the truck itself. The following parties may be responsible for damages in your trucking accident:
The Trucking Company
The trucker is often not the only party liable for an accident – in fact, the employer of the commercial driver often shares the blame. A trucking company may be legally responsible for your injuries using a legal principal called “respondeat superior,” which is Latin for “let the master answer.” In other words, the employer is responsible for any employee’s negligent acts, provided that the acts were not intentional and the employee committed negligence under the scope of his or her job duties.
An employer might be liable for a trucking accident if the trucker was not an independent contractor. In order to avoid liability, many trucking companies hire drivers under the guise of independent contract, but legally they are employees. If you’re getting the runaround from a trucking company because they say their drivers are independent contractors, contact your attorney.
Maintenance Companies or Manufacturers
Malfunctions like blown tires and faulty brakes are often responsible for serious accidents. If this is the case, the manufacturer of the truck or the company in charge of the truck’s maintenance may be to blame.
In these sorts of situations, a victim may have to file claims against three separate parties: the driver, the driver’s employer, and the manufacturer of the truck. Each party may only have to pay a percentage of your total damages, based on its proportion of fault.
Other Third-Party Claims
There are other instances where a third party is partially liable for an accident. Examples include:
- Accidents involving improper loading. When the weight of a truck’s cargo does not have equal distribution, jackknifing can result. In this case, the crew who loaded the truck may be partially liable for an accident.
- Accidents involving bad road conditions or mislabeled construction zones. Even the government can play a role in a semi truck accident if the roads are dangerous due to improper maintenance or construction.
Dealing with Multiple Insurance Companies
One of the primary disadvantages of filing a claim against multiple parties is working with several insurance companies. This increases the difficulty of achieving a quick settlement, even when it’s obvious that a victim has no responsibility for the accident. Accidents involving multiple defendants may be more likely to go to trial, especially if the defendants are arguing among themselves about how much blame they hold for the accident.
Commercial vehicle accidents involving multiple defendants can be difficult to navigate, particularly in terms of liability. Even when a truck driver is clearly at fault for an accident (such as by drunk driving), there is often more to the story – for example, the trucking company may be responsible for negligent hiring, creating a need for multiple claims. This highlights the need for an experienced legal advocate by your side. If you or a loved one recently sustained injuries in an accident involving a semi vehicle, contact the attorneys at Larry R. Williams, PLLC . An attorney will negotiate aggressively on your behalf to obtain fair compensation for your injuries, taking the case to trial if necessary.