Determining Liability in a Truck Accident

Truck accidents are a common occurrence. Each year, big trucks are involved in more than 276,000 traffic accidents. This includes more than 2,300 accidents involving injuries and 284 involving fatalities in Texas alone. Unfortunately, truck accidents aren’t just deadly. It is also harder to establish liability. Truck accidents usually occur on two-lane roads, and they often involve several vehicles. Common causes of these serious accidents include improper maintenance, reckless driving, fatigue, driver error and shifting loads. Pinpointing the cause of a deadly truck accident is difficult, especially when trucking companies blame third-parties for errors and equipment malfunctions. 18 wheeler accident lawyers are experts at protecting the rights of victims of these types of accidents and determining who is responsible. Determining the Cause Passenger vehicles and family cars share the roads with 18-wheelers that are loaded with cargo, including some that is hazardous or flammable. These vehicles drive at all hours and in all kinds of weather. Fatigue and operator error are the leading causes of truck crashes. Many accidents are caused by unsafe speeds, improper braking, blowouts, defective signals and improper maintenance. Road conditions, weather and traffic hazards also contribute to a number of accidents. After an accident happens, it is up to experts to reconstruct the scene and determine the cause. Determining Responsibility Once traffic officials have determined the cause of the accident, 18-wheeler accident lawyers need to prove who is responsible in court. In the past, large trucking companies went to great lengths to obscure ownership and avoid liability. Today, government regulations prevent companies from using these tactics. Difficulties in determining responsibility typically occur when multiple parties are involved. Trucking companies are responsible for all trucks under their control and listed on their permits. Leasing companies, independent drivers, third-party maintenance providers and equipment manufacturers may also be partially or totally responsible for the consequences of an accident. It is also possible for loading personnel and ground crews that fill and connect trailers to be responsible for injuries and accidents. Under today’s laws, trucking companies cannot avoid liability due to a driver’s employment status or the ownership of a leased third-party vehicle. Proving Liability A Texas truck accident lawyer specializes in proving liability and helping accident victims recover compensation. This process starts immediately after the accident and continues until the case is settled or heard by a jury. State and federal agencies protect drivers by regulating the trucking industry and compiling accident reports. After an accident, police will file an official accident report and certified inspectors will be called in to investigate the scene. It is the inspector’s job to document the condition of the truck and all mechanical and electrical components. According to federal law, this inspection must be completed before the vehicle is removed from the scene. Truck accidents and subsequent injuries are extremely stressful. That is why accident victims should hire an experienced tractor trailer accident attorney who can gather documentation and prove the case against a team of lawyers who are working for the trucking company. A lawyer can help request inspection reports, black box data and vital documents. Black boxes collect information on braking patterns, driving speeds and operator statistics. However, this information is only helpful if it is collected and preserved immediately. If a lawyer is contacted promptly, the firm can help you collect medical records, take pictures of the accident scene, document injuries and gather evidence. Attorneys can also arrange for an independent investigator or accident reconstructionist to deliver expert testimony in court. Being involved in a truck accident is an overwhelming experience. Trucking companies, insurance carriers and entities with third-party interests will fight to prove that they are not responsible for your personal injuries, damaged car or lost earnings. Gathering evidence and collecting information are important jobs that your attorney can handle while you are recovering. Protect your rights. Talk to an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.