What if I Am Partly to Blame for the Trucking Accident?

Transportation scene post-collision with a large truck, depicting aftermath and potential consequences in the background.

Accidents involving large trucks, such as tractor-trailers, big rigs, and eighteen-wheelers, often result from negligence by the truck driver or the trucking company. However, there are often situations in which the truck driver’s or company’s insurance attempts to shift some or all of the blame for the accident onto you.

It’s essential not to assume that this negates your right to compensation. In such circumstances, seeking advice from a qualified truck accident lawyer is crucial.

Suppose an insurance company claims you bear full or partial fault for a truck accident. In that case, your lawyer can engage an accident reconstructionist or another expert to demonstrate otherwise. Your Austin truck accident lawyer can manage the entire claims-filing process on your behalf, handling all written and verbal communications with insurance company adjusters.

If the trucking company’s insurer denies liability or refuses to offer fair monetary damages, your lawyer may initiate a personal injury lawsuit. They will guide you through every step of the litigation process, representing you in legal proceedings, including civil jury trials or binding arbitration.

Unlike the insurance company, your attorney is committed to protecting your best interests and will strive to maximize your total monetary award for injuries, whether through a favorable settlement offer or a successful litigation outcome in the state court system.

Types of Truck Collisions

When truck drivers operate negligently or other parties act negligently, they can be the catalyst for various types of truck accidents, such as:

  • Rollover accidents: Occur when a driver speeds around a sharp curve, especially in wet weather, leading to the tractor or trailer overturning. Sometimes, they happen because of poor or overloading of the semi-truck.
  • Jackknife accidents: Involve the folding inward of the tractor and trailer portions, often causing the truck to skid downhill and collide with other vehicles in its path.
  • Rear-end accidents: Take place when the front of a truck collides with the back of another vehicle.
  • Sideswipe accidents: Result from a truck driver negligently causing their truck to veer into another travel lane, often due to a failure to check the rearview mirror, leading to a collision with the side of another vehicle traveling in the same direction.
  • Broadside or T-bone accidents: Occur when the front of a large truck strikes the side of another vehicle, typically because the truck driver fails to yield the right-of-way at a traffic intersection.
  • Head-on collisions: This happens when a negligent truck driver crosses the double center line and collides with an oncoming vehicle in the opposing travel lane. These accidents are often quite severe and can be fatal.

If you’ve suffered injuries in any of these truck accidents, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced truck accident lawyer promptly. Your attorney can identify all potentially responsible parties, initiate an insurance claim on your behalf, and commence negotiations with the insurance company adjuster handling your case.

Injuries Resulting from Truck Accidents

When a large truck collides with a smaller passenger vehicle, bicycle, motorcycle, or pedestrian, the party on the receiving end typically experiences more severe injuries.

Factors, such as the type of truck accident, influence the nature of the injuries sustained by a truck accident victim. These factors can include the collision’s force, the number of vehicles involved, and the victim’s movements during the crash.

Individuals injured in truck accidents may commonly suffer injuries including open lacerations, bruises, rib fractures, broken bones, soft tissue neck and back injuries, eye injuries, traumatic head and brain injuries, permanent cognitive impairments, internal bleeding, damage to internal organs, mouth, and teeth injuries, facial contusions, complete and incomplete paralysis injuries, and spinal cord damage.

After a truck accident, seeking prompt medical attention is crucial. It’s essential to complete the entire medical treatment regimen to enhance the likelihood of a full recovery from accident-related injuries. Moreover, undergoing comprehensive medical treatment demonstrates to the truck driver’s or trucking company’s insurer the severity of injuries, justifying significant monetary compensation.

While you are undergoing medical treatment, your truck accident attorney can conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances of your accident, collect pertinent documents on your behalf, and organize them into a settlement demand package. This package becomes instrumental when your attorney negotiates with the insurance company to secure a favorable monetary settlement offer for your case.

What is Truck Accident Liability?

To understand why semi-truck crashes create such legal complications, it helps to know the legal meaning of the word liability.

Liability is a word that refers to a legal obligation to pay monetary compensation after causing some harm. Generally speaking, an individual, company, or government agency can have liability in a truck accident. In fact, sometimes, more than one party carries liability.

Determining liability for a semi-truck crash can get complicated quickly. Simply put, however, the law treats an individual or entity as liable if that party’s negligence or unreasonably dangerous decisions, inactions, or actions cause physical, emotional, or financial harm to someone else or if that person or party has legal responsibility for their actions or decisions.

The decisions or actions that lead to a party having liability in a semi-truck crash usually involve those that directly or indirectly cause the crash and the victim’s injuries.

Why Determining Truck Accident Crash Liability is Difficult

Don’t simply assume you are liable for a truck accident based on your own experience or because an insurance company says you are. Determining liability in the aftermath of a truck accident is a challenging endeavor that demands legal skill and knowledge. It’s not a task suited for laypersons, and even attorneys representing truck accident victims face complexities in identifying responsible parties. By hiring an experienced attorney, you ensure a thorough investigation to hold the correct entities accountable for your injuries and damages.

Truck accidents often involve multiple parties with intricate business, legal, and personal interests. Key considerations for liability include:

  • Commercial Nature: Semi-trucks, being commercial vehicles, have connections with various organizations and corporations. Lawyers must delve into ownership details of the truck, trailer, and cargo, deciphering the legal and business relationships between the involved parties.
  • Employment Dynamics: Truck drivers may not always be direct employees. Establishing liability involves navigating the complex relationships between truck drivers, truck owners, operators, and cargo owners. Attorneys must determine whether the trucker alone is accountable or if others share legal responsibility.
  • Chain-Reaction Accidents: Semi-trucks frequently engage in highway travel and can trigger chain-reaction accidents. Attorneys face the challenge of unraveling the events leading to each link in the chain determining liability for harm to occupants and property.
  • Insurance Disputes: Insurance companies involved in truck accidents often engage in disputes over liability. The multitude of parties and extensive damages incurred in truck crashes intensify the competition among insurers, complicating the attorney’s task of identifying legally liable parties.
  • Complexity of the Scene: A truck accident scene can involve numerous victims, bystanders, contractors, and first responders, each with their own agenda. Many parties seek legal representation, some may seek bankruptcy protection, and finger-pointing is typical. Attorneys unfamiliar with truck accidents may find the situation overwhelming.

Given these complexities, truck accident victims must enlist an attorney with extensive experience in handling complex semi-truck accident cases. A seasoned attorney can skillfully protect their client’s rights and navigate the intricate landscape with composure amid the chaos.

Common Liable Parties in Truck Accidents

fatigued truck driverVarious parties may bear legal responsibility in truck accidents. While specific circumstances impact each case differently, the following parties are commonly associated with legal liability. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced truck accident lawyer to assess your unique situation and identify liable parties for compensation.

Truck Drivers

Accidents often occur due to truck drivers who make poor decisions while operating their large, heavy vehicles. Instances of driving while distracted, under the influence, or fatigued are not uncommon. Violations such as not adhering to speed limits or other traffic regulations are also contributing factors. However, compared to accidents involving passenger vehicles, it’s relatively infrequent for truckers to be entirely responsible for a crash.

Truck Driver Employers

In many cases, liability for an accident is shared with the employers of truck drivers, as these employees are directly associated with causing the crash. Legal norms typically attribute responsibility to employers for the actions of their employees. However, complications may arise if the trucker is an independent contractor, a scenario that frequently occurs. Such classification nuances can add intricacy to the process of determining liability.

Truck Owners/Trucking Businesses

Legal responsibility for an accident may extend to truck owners and trucking businesses, irrespective of whether they directly employ the truck driver. If their actions or oversights contribute to the accident, your attorney may pursue accountability. For instance, a trucking business can be liable for an accident caused by a truck’s mechanical failure if it neglected proper maintenance, such as infrequent replacement of brakes or tires. Adding to the complexity, tractor trucks and their trailers often have distinct owners.

Trucking Industry Contractors

Contractors in the trucking industry, such as depot operators or mechanics, can be subject to liability for an accident if their services lead to unsafe conditions culminating in a crash. For example, a mechanic’s errors during safety maintenance on a truck or lapses in secure cargo loading by shipping depot employees, failing to meet FMCSA standards, might result in potential liability.

Automotive Manufacturers

In the event that an automotive manufacturer sells or installs a defective or faulty part contributing to an accident, they may be held liable for the resulting damages to the accident victim. Mechanical failures, particularly on large trucks, are not uncommon.

Government Agencies and Contractors

Government agencies and contractors bear responsibility for maintaining reasonably safe road conditions, functional lights, signage, and construction zones. Suppose they neglect to act reasonably, such as by not replacing broken signs or repairing a malfunctioning traffic light. In that case, they may be held liable for any motor vehicle accidents that result.

Other Parties

Various unmentioned parties can share some liability. Individuals acting carelessly, recklessly, or with intentional disregard for safety can potentially cause a truck accident and be held accountable for resulting damages. Parties with potential liability may include other motorists, passengers, roadside businesses, medical providers, and food manufacturers. Practically anyone whose actions or decisions can directly or indirectly contribute to a truck accident may be subject to liability, a perspective acknowledged by experienced truck accident lawyers who are ready to explore each potential scenario to ensure their clients can pursue compensation from every liable party.

Securing Compensation From Responsible Parties

Identifying potentially liable parties in a truck accident is merely the initial step in the comprehensive process of holding them accountable. Seasoned truck accident attorneys tailor their approach to address the unique circumstances of each case and meet their client’s specific needs.

Once the attorney compiles a list of potentially liable parties, they proceed with the following steps:

  • Further investigation and communication to refine the list: Attorneys strive to narrow down the list to those parties with the clearest liability and the most certain ability to cover damages. This phase may involve additional investigation and preliminary communication with the involved parties, their attorneys, or insurance representatives.
  • Formal or informal claim: The attorney may formally initiate legal action or informally demand payment from parties deemed liable. This demand can be made through a mailed demand letter or by filing a legal case in court. Initiating this process puts the liable parties on notice of the claim.
  • Negotiation: Most truck accident injury claims are resolved through negotiations between the victim’s lawyer and representatives of the liable party, resulting in a settlement. Skilled attorneys manage these negotiations, ensuring the responsible party takes the claim seriously. In cases with multiple victims, negotiations may need careful handling to address the rights of each client, especially if the liable party is considering bankruptcy protection.
  • Court proceedings: Simultaneously with negotiations, the attorney may pursue legal action in court if necessary to achieve a favorable outcome. While settlement remains a priority, the attorney is ready to go to trial if it is the best path to securing a full and fair settlement. In some instances, settling with certain parties while going to trial with others may yield the most favorable overall outcome.

Do You Wonder if You Are Partly to Blame for Your Truck Accident? Contact a Seasoned Truck Accident Lawyer Today

dan christensen

Austin Truck Accident Lawyer, Dan Christensen

Dealing with the legal aspects of a truck accident, especially if you feel you share fault or an insurance company told you that you do, can be challenging. Consulting with a seasoned personal injury attorney in Austin is advisable to protect your rights and ensure fair treatment. A knowledgeable attorney will guide you through the legal claims process, negotiate on your behalf, and advocate for your best interests. Even if you think you can be partly to blame for a truck accident, be sure to have a qualified truck accident attorney review your case.

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