Who's Liable in a Semi-Truck Accident?

Posted by Randy Andrus | Jul 30, 2021

High speed, heavy loads, and negligence are a recipe for disaster when it comes to semi-truck accidents. These accidents are fundamentally different and often more harmful than passenger vehicle wrecks. The injuries sustained in commercial vehicle accidents can be devastating and long-term. As if the injury itself isn't horrible enough, the piles of medical bills can compound, leaving you hurt with no idea what to do next. This is where our big rig accident attorney at Andrus Law Firm comes in. The first step is hiring an attorney to help you prove liability for a commercial truck collision. In this blog, we'll discuss who's liable, how to prove it, and answer frequently asked questions about big-truck accidents in Utah

If you have injuries and a mountain of medical bills on your kitchen table with zero to minimal income, give us a call today at 801-400-9860, or fill out our convenient online form. Our goal is to help you get the legal recovery you need to get your life back on track. 

Who's Responsible for Your Financial and Physical Recovery?

The nature of liability is a key difference between commercial truck accidents and passenger vehicle collisions. The at-fault parties of a big truck accident can be numerous. From the driver to the shipper of the cargo transport, the reason for the accident might fall on several associated parties. With multiple potential parties at fault, comes multiple big insurance companies to handle. As such, it's advisable to have an experienced big rig accident attorney in Utah on your side. These truck companies and insurance providers are professionals at denying liability after accidents. Their entire goal is to give you as little settlement as possible, working to prove that you were the liable party. A semi-accident lawyer will fight for you with the goal to get you the compensation you need so that you can pay your bills and recover as much of your life back as possible

Potentially liable parties in a big truck accident case include:

  • Truck driver
  • Truck driver's company
  • Owner of the truck
  • Company leasing the truck
  • Company leasing the trailer
  • The shipper that requested the load transport
  • Truck, trailer, or parts manufacturer

Big truck accidents can be so severe that the victim, sadly, does not survive the wreck. In this case, our attorneys can help you file a wrongful death claim on behalf of your loved one. A wrongful death lawyer will establish the same facts of your case that they would have if your loved one had survived and filed an accident claim themselves. We help our clients secure economic, non-economic (pain and suffering, emotional trauma, etc), and punitive damages with wrongful death claims.

Common Causes of a Commercial Truck Accident 

The three most common causes of a big-truck, semi-truck, or 18-wheeler accident as reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are:

  1. Trucks crossing the travel lane into a different lane or off the road
  2. Loss of control as a result of driving too fast for the conditions, shifting cargo, truck systems failure, or bad road conditions
  3. Rear-end collisions with another vehicle in the same travel lane

Commonly, the cause of the accident stems from driver negligence. As a result, lawsuits filed for compensatory damages after a truck accident are frequently based on the negligence of the driver. Typical signs of a negligent commercial truck operator may include overall inexperience, overloading trucks, poorly maintained vehicles, operating the vehicle above state-mandated speed limits, failure to adhere to safety laws, or driving the truck too long without breaks. 

In a lawsuit based on negligence, your attorney will demonstrate that the truck driver had a duty to other drivers on the road to act in a reasonable and careful manner and that the driver breached this duty, which resulted in injuries to other parties. As stated above, the driver is not the only party who is expected to uphold his/her duty to other drivers on the road. For example, the driver's employer may be found responsible in some way for the driver's lack of breaks, lack of training, violations of state and federal trucking laws, potentially pressuring the driver with requirements to reach a certain number of hours on the road. Your big rig accident attorney in Utah will help you establish liability where it belongs to get you the compensation you need.

Proving Liability in a Big Rig Accident 

Everything is bigger in a truck accident from trucker insurance policies to property damage to medical bills. The burden to prove liability is also bigger in these cases, which is why you need a semi-truck accident lawyer to help you demonstrate who was at fault. Your Andrus Law Firm attorney will go right to work for you, examining all aspects of your semi-truck accident case. Some steps to proving liability may include:

  • Finding expert witnesses
  • Reviewing traffic reports
  • Reviewing traffic camera footage, if available
  • Reviewing police and accident reports
  • Obtaining alcohol and drug testing from the truck driver
  • Examining and reviewing medical records
  • Consulting with experts to reconstruct the accident scene

Your big rig accident attorney in Utah will ensure that all evidence from the opposing party is obtained, as well. Sometimes, getting evidence from the other side in truck accident cases is difficult, however, your attorney will ensure the proper protocol is followed to secure any evidence needed, like driver logs or black box information before any of it is tampered with.

Hire Andrus Law Firm to Represent You in Your Big Rig Accident Case Today 

Having an experienced semi-truck accident lawyer on your side is crucial to the outcome of your case. You need someone with the skills to effectively represent you, as well as someone who cares about you and your family. If you or a loved one have been injured in a commercial truck accident, call us at 801-400-9860, or fill out our online form today. We'll schedule an initial confidential consultation to review the facts of your case and advise you on the next steps.   

About the Author

Randy Andrus

BIO   Education University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (LL.M. 1987) Business and Taxation – Transnational Practice Courses and International Bar Association Convention, Salzburg, Austria Southwestern University School of Law (J.D. 1984) Dean's List American Jurisprudence...

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