Truck drivers, beyond the immense responsibility of the goods they are tasked to deliver from point A to point B, are also responsible for commandeering a heavy-weight vehicle, that, if they have lost control of, could cause devastating damages. Being involved in a trucking accident, therefore, requires extensive discussion, in order to figure out an optimal course of action, both as a driver and as an injured party.
Before anything else can be done, you first have to figure out who exactly is to blame for the injury that you have suffered. Whether you were behind the wheel when the accident occurred, or just an innocent bystander, accountability can come from many sources.
The Truck Driver
The truck driver themselves is to blame for the accident occurring if any the following conditions are met:
- Their vehicle was in faulty condition, with defective or missing parts that could cause fatal accidents – such as an underride
- They were working under fatigue – a truck driver should not be driving for more than 10-11 consecutive hours, as they would be exposing themselves to the risks of negligent driving
- They were driving under the influence
- They were engaging in other activities while driving, such as texting, smoking, and/or vaping
Any of the aforementioned instances of negligent driving behavior make the truck driver liable for a claim against them from any injured party involved in the accident.
But what happens if you, as the driver, did not engage in any form of negligent driving, but are still being sued for an accident that is not your fault? Who can also be held accountable?
The Trucking Company
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has a clearly defined guideline for best safety practices regarding truck driving in the United States.
If the trucking company that has hired you for their services fails to adhere to the governmental instructions for the health and safety of their workforce, they could become liable for the truck accident claim that they inadvertently might have caused.
This is not something that they will easily admit to, mind you, as trucking companies often play the “independent contractor” card in order to try and wiggle out of any potential worker’s compensation claims that the injured driver might want to pursue. In truth, the company might be responsible for more than you might realize at first glance.
Depending on the contract that you have signed with them, they might have been required to give you protective equipment, such as a hard-hat or ANSI-approved protective footwear, in the situation of potential blunt-force trauma.
Moreover, if cargo that the company had left in your care was by any means an unstable compound, such as an explosive chemical, and they failed to notify you of that, or they failed to properly secure it on the vehicle, the horrible accident that can result from this gross negligence is on their hands.
Other External Parties
More often than not, trucking accidents are caused not because of the truck itself, but because of some sort of external negligence regarding how you should behave when faced with a truck on a highway.
This negligence can come from the other driver involved in the accident – who, due to being impatient, might attempt to cut off a truck at an intersection, or attempt to speed past it on a busy highway. It is any driver’s responsibility to know when they should give priority in order to avoid a potentially fatal situation.
The roadwork itself could also be to blame. The complete absence of important signs which signal a delicate portion of the road ahead, or a general lack in road-quality, which could be filled with holes or slippery portions, can both contribute to a potential trucking accident.
Seeking Legal Compensation
Regardless of the circumstances of your trucking accident, you are entitled to receive considerable compensation for the physical damages and emotional trauma that you have suffered. A truck accident lawsuit is the next logical step.
With the aid of an attorney specialized in truck accident injuries, you can obtain concretely and lawfully determine what action needs to be taken in order to resolve this complicated legal matter. There are plenty of online resources where you can read more about acquiring this vital legal counsel.
Armed with the right knowledge and tools, you are now able to seek personal justice for the suffering you had to endure, regardless of your specific involvement in the truck accident.