Who Can Be Held Liable in a Truck Accident?

Author: Auger Law | July 9th, 2018
  • In 2016, there were 4,464 accidents involving semi trucks in North Carolina.
  • There were 1,821 accidents involving trucks with three or more axles.
  • There were 62 fatalities resulting from accidents with semi trucks.

Link: NC DOT Statistics 

highway vehicle collision

It’s not unusual to see the remnants of a big rig’s tires when you’re driving down the highway. Rubber scattered alongside the shoulder of the road is something many of us look at quickly and then don’t think about again. But what if that rubber wasn’t the result of a blowout? It could have been debris left behind after a very serious collision.

When a semi truck and a smaller vehicle collide with one another, the results can be catastrophic. A large commercial vehicle has much more power than a smaller truck or car. The majority of the damage is often suffered by the small vehicle and its occupants. In the aftermath of the accident, the victims often find that they are facing life-changing physical, emotional and financial damages.

Accidents such as these often require the expertise of a Charlotte truck accident attorney. A legal professional can help to ensure the rights of the victims are protected. If you hope to recover damages after such an accident, an experienced attorney is essential.

Determining liability is not always an easy task. The person(s) or entity that can be held civilly and or criminally liable for a motor vehicle accident will depend on the findings from the investigation(s) of law enforcement, insurance companies and courts. Causation must be established in order to determine liability. (Remember:  No 2 accidents are the same!)

Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident?

Many people assume it’s always a driver who is held liable in an accident but this isn’t the case. There are several parties who may be held liable in a truck accident, either on their own or in combination.

  1. Driver

If the driver of the semi-truck was negligent or made some type of error, they can be held liable. A driver may be shown to have been fatigued, distracted or impaired. The driver may not have received adequate training or loaded their trailer in an inappropriate manner. When it can be proven that the truck driver was negligent, they can be held financially responsible for property damage and injury to the victim.

  1. Owner

In some cases, the driver and owner of the semi-truck are two different people. An owner may be held liable for a semi-truck accident in some cases. For example, if the owner was responsible for routine maintenance and failed to ensure it was performed and a component of the truck was defective, the owner could be held liable if that defective component led to the accident.

  1. Leasing Company

It’s not unheard of for companies to lease the semi-trucks in their fleet. When this is the case, it is the responsibility of the person leasing the vehicles to make sure the trucks are safe to operate. If the leasing company is found to be negligent in their duties, they could potentially be held liable for the accident or at least named in the lawsuit.

  1. Manufacturer

A North Carolina truck accident lawyer may find that the reason for the accident lies in a vehicle that was not safe. When the truck was not manufactured properly or a defect was known but not reported, the manufacturer of the vehicle could also be named in the lawsuit as a responsible party.

Again, in some accidents there may be more than one party responsible for causing the accident. The owner of the truck or trucking company will almost always be initially named in the lawsuit. Current federal regulations say that trucks must have a placard attached that names the owner. The person named on that placard will almost always involved in any investigation regarding their vehicle.

Compensation for a Semi Truck Accident

If you or a loved one are injured in a tractor trailer or “big rig “accident in Charlotte, you may be entitled to damages if the accident was not your fault. You can recover money spent on the repair or replacement of your property and for any medical bills you have incurred. You may also be awarded monies for future medical bills and lost wages and pain and suffering.

In the case of a fatality, the representative of the deceased person’s estate may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible parties.

These accidents are often catastrophic in nature and the injuries sustained may require lifelong care. We don’t believe that any family should be forced to make difficult financial decisions because of someone’s negligence or error.

Speak to a Charlotte, NC Truck Accident Attorney Today

We understand that the days, weeks and months following a semi truck accident in Charlotte can be devastating. We invite you to call our office if you have been involved in such an accident. We will review the details of your accident at no cost to you and explain how we may be able to help.

Our team is here for you as you work to put your life back together. We can help you determine your best steps in recovering what you have lost. Reach out to our Carolina truck accident lawyers today for the assistance you need.

Posted In: Auger & Auger