Understanding Fault in a Semi-Truck Accidents

Truck accident happening along the highway.

Semi-trucks cause some of the worst accidents on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the people in the smaller vehicles suffer more than 70 percent of fatalities and injuries in semi-truck collisions. This is due to the fact that semi-trucks are so large and heavy. Smaller passenger vehicles simply can’t withstand the impact.

When someone suffers injuries in a truck accident, they are rarely minor. Semi-truck accidents cause some of the most catastrophic injuries. In addition to being painful, these injuries can also be costly. A victim’s life may change forever.

A lawsuit against the responsible party or parties can help to cover the costs of the injuries which a person suffers in a semi-truck crash. Before filing a lawsuit, however, the person must be sure to thoroughly investigate the accident and make sure to identify every one of those parties. For this reason, accident victims should speak as soon as possible with an experienced Fort Wayne truck accident lawyer at Truitt Law Offices.

Identifying Liable Parties in an 18-Wheeler Accident

Within hours after an accident, the insurance company and the trucking company will send a team to the scene of the accident to investigate it. Unfortunately, they are not trying to find the truth about the accident. They are simply looking for ways to avoid liability and, potentially, to shift the blame to the other party. However, if you were hurt in a truck crash in Indiana, an attorney from Truitt Law Offices will protect your rights by going directly to the accident scene to collect and preserve evidence in order to determine liability.

People often automatically assume that the truck driver was at fault for the accident. While this is frequently the case, it is also possible that others share some fault for the crash such as:

  • The trucking company (or carrier)
  • A shipper or loader
  • The manufacturer of the truck or any of its parts
  • A mechanic that worked on the truck.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) statistics indicate that “driver-related factors” contribute to roughly a third of the truck crashes which occur in our country each year. Some of the leading causes are:

  • Speeding
  • Distraction or inattention
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Impairment
  • Careless driving
  • Failing to keep in the proper lane

However, a truck crash can also result from someone failing to load the cargo onto the truck properly, or it can be caused by a defective part. Additionally, if a mechanic or anyone else worked on the truck and failed to ensure it was safe to drive, that party could be liable. In some situations, a trucking company may be to blame simply because it failed to do an adequate background check before it put a dangerous driver on the road.

How to Determine Fault in a Semi-Truck Accident

Due to the fact that the person or people at fault are not always at the scene of the accident, it can be challenging to determine who is really at fault for a semi-truck accident. An experienced attorney at Truitt Law Offices will understand the many different ways of determining fault and employ them to establish fault and build a solid case for you.

While investigating a semi-truck accident, we can obtain the black box inside the truck. This box records different types of data, including the truck’s speed and when the driver applied the brakes. An attorney will also ask for the truck driver’s log books, which should indicate how long the driver had been on the road and how long of a rest which the driver took.

Additionally, we will also ask the trucking company for the employment file of the truck driver and maintenance records pertaining to the truck. We can also collect eyewitness testimony to determine how the accident happened and gather medical records that prove the extent of your injuries.

In some cases, we may also hire one or more experts to help with the case and determine fault. We may hire an accident reconstruction expert, for example. The expert can recreate the crash in order to determine how it happened and who was at fault.

All of these are very important steps when determining fault in a semi-truck accident. They are also very difficult for you to do on their own while also dealing with serious injuries. When an attorney from Truitt Law Offices gets involved in your case, we will take care of all the legwork so you can focus on getting better.

Can Multiple Parties Be Guilty in a Truck Accident?

With so many potentially liable parties, more than one party often is to blame for a truck accident. For example, the person that loaded the truck may have done so incorrectly, failing to ensure the load was secured. The truck driver on the other hand, could have also been speeding at the time of the accident, making it more difficult for the load to stay on the truck. If the load fell and caused an accident, fault could lie with both the truck driver and the person that loaded the truck.

In Indiana, a percentage of fault will be assigned to the different negligent parties. Accident victims can only claim the total amount of their injuries from all liable parties. So, they cannot file a lawsuit demanding compensation from one person and then file another one seeking the same amount of compensation from another. Instead, one lawsuit against both parties must be filed. Fault will then be assigned to anyone that is to blame. Each party will be responsible for paying that party’s share of fault.

Hurt in a Truck Accident? Our Indiana Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help You

If you have been injured in a truck accident, don’t try to handle your case on your own. These are some of the most complicated accident cases. You need to find the right truck accident lawyer in Indiana.

At Truitt Law Offices, our experienced legal team is here to help with your case. If you are hurt, call us today or fill out our online form for a free case evaluation. We will work hard to determine who was at fault for your crash and pursue all compensation you deserve.

attorney image

About the Author

Phil Truitt joined Truitt Law Offices in 2018 after he earned his J.D. from Ohio Northern University Ohio Northern Pettit College of Law. However, his association with the law firm dates all the way back to childhood. His father, Richard, established the firm over 40 years ago. Growing up, Phil…