America has a large and thriving trucking industry. This industry’s estimated value in 2020 was about 732.3 billion dollars. Furthermore, there were about 902,000 truck drivers in the US. These include drivers of semi-trucks, box trucks, and trailers. However, despite all the job opportunities and revenue streams, many trucks on the road inevitably lead to commercial truck accidents.
For example, about 4,119 persons died in large truck accidents in 2019. However, only 679 fatalities were occupants of these trucks. A whopping 2,757 were passenger vehicle occupants. Therefore, in an auto accident involving trucks, the passengers in other vehicles are more likely to get hurt.
Therefore, it’s crucial to know who you can sue if a commercial truck hits your car in Richmond, VA. Fortunately, an experienced commercial truck accident lawyer can answer this question. It’s thus best to speak to an attorney immediately after a collision involving large trucks. With legal representation, you can recover the financial losses from the crash.
Understanding Truck Accidents
Simply put, truck accidents are collisions involving trucks. These vehicles weigh 20-30 times more than regular automobiles. Furthermore, they’re usually taller than passenger vehicles. This is why these collisions affect passenger cars more than trucks. Such accidents often result in devastating injuries and death in some cases.
Below are some of the common causes of trucking accidents.
Truck drivers usually haul loads for long distances. This means that they can drive for several consecutive hours. However, if they continue without resting, they’ll succumb to truck driver fatigue and cause accidents. That’s why the Hours of Service Regulations mandates 30-minute breaks after eight cumulative driving hours.
Distracted driving is a significant problem in the US. It occurs whenever a driver takes their attention off the road. Since they can’t see the road for a moment, they can collide with any oncoming vehicles. Conversely, a distracted driver may swerve to avoid a collision. However, this swerve can make them crash into a car beside them.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol dulls a driver’s sensitivity. Therefore, it’s almost impossible for intoxicated drivers to escape accidents. But unfortunately, many truck drivers still indulge while driving, thus leading to avoidable collisions.
Other causes of truck accidents include:
- Wrongly overtaking trucks
- Poor training
- Defective vehicle parts
- Bad truck maintenance
- Improper cargo loading
- Bad road and weather conditions
- Distracted driving
Who Can I Sue if a Truck Hits My Car in Richmond?
Commercial truck accidents are different from other motor vehicle crash types. This is because you can file a truck accident lawsuit against several possible liable parties. Below, we explain who you can sue in a Richmond truck accident.
The Truck Driver
The first party an accident victim can proceed against is the fault driver. This is because the driver most likely contributed to the collision. Furthermore, a driver may be liable for any of the reasons discussed above.
For example, you can sue intoxicated drivers if they hit your car. The local district attorney may even file criminal charges against such a driver for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Similarly, truck driver error may be a ground for an accident lawsuit.
The Trucking Company
Commercial trucking companies may also be liable in an accident. This is because the trucking company has a responsibility to the public. One of such responsibilities is to ensure that it employs only suitable commercial truck drivers. This is why trucking companies usually have strict employment rules. If the company negligently hires a bad driver, they may be liable for any accidents they cause.
Trucking companies will also be liable when they encourage their drivers to disobey traffic laws or truck driving rules. For example, one important rule is the Hours of Service Rule. It regulates, amongst other things, the number of continuous hours that a truck driver can drive. Sadly, some companies allow drivers to disregard these rules to meet deadlines. If this is the case, then you can sue the trucking company.
The Cargo Loaders
Cargo loaders or shippers may also face a personal injury lawsuit. However, their liability is very restricted. For example, a loader must properly secure loads on the vehicle so that it doesn’t cause spill-over accidents. So, suppose the truck loaders negligently secured the loads, and they fell off. Then, they may be liable for the resulting accident injuries and vehicle damage.
The Truck Manufacturer
You can also sue a truck manufacturer. This will be the case where a truck accident arises from a manufacturing defect. For example, suppose that defective functioning led to tire blowouts or brake failure. The crash victim can file a personal injury claim against the manufacturer in such cases.
The Truck Owner
Finally, if a truck hits your car in Richmond, VA, you can sue the truck’s owner. The vehicle owner is usually responsible for its repair and maintenance. Therefore, where negligent maintenance causes the accident, truck owners are usually faced with accident claims. This is the case where a private individual owns the vehicle, and not a company and you’ll have to investigate to find the truck owner.
How Do You Determine Who To Sue in a Commercial Truck Accident?
Choosing the right party to sue in a Richmond truck accident can be challenging. This is because of the multiple responsible parties. Therefore, you’ll have to rely on the evidence to determine who to sue. An experienced truck accident attorney can help you interpret the evidence. Below are some of the investigatory steps personal injury lawyers recommend:
The best time to investigate the right party to sue is immediately after the collision. An accident scene usually contains invaluable pieces of evidence. For instance, you can take pictures of skid marks on the road. These marks can help identify which vehicle caused the collision.
Road debris and road conditions at the crash site are also helpful. You may also discover whether a vehicle or part defect contributed to the collision. For instance, you may see a blown-out tire on the scene.
Eye Witness Investigation
Eyewitnesses can also help you determine the liable party in a crash. Therefore, it’s best to speak to people at the scene after the collision. This could be other drivers or even pedestrians. Again, eyewitness testimony may point clearly to the cause of the crash better than an examination of the road and vehicles.
For instance, eyewitnesses will know if a driver disobeyed traffic laws. Furthermore, they can also tell if bad weather conditions, such as icy roads, resulted in crashes. Similarly, a witness can show you if improperly secured loads caused the accident. Whatever the case, you can easily identify the fault party and sue them.
A vehicle inspection may become necessary at some point. This is because some accident causes aren’t apparent to the eye. Therefore, an experienced auto mechanic must examine the vehicle. This is usually the case where a defective part caused the crash.
The expert will examine the vehicle at the repair facility to know which part malfunctioned and resulted in the collision. Vehicle inspection is an excellent way to determine a manufacturer’s liability.
Identifying the Truck’s History
The fault driver may not be the registered owner of the truck. This means that the trucking company or the vehicle owner may also be liable. Therefore, you may have to search for the registered owner and file an accident injury lawsuit. Again, an experienced lawyer will know how to identify the legal owner.
Reach Out to Our Commercial Truck Accident Lawyers
Have you been in a Richmond truck accident? If you have, then you may be eligible for compensation. However, proceeding alone against a trucking company is a terrible idea. Commercial trucking companies have enough resources and tricks to avoid responsibility.
So, you should consider hiring a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in Richmond. At VACAIL, we have just the right lawyers for you. The attorneys at our law firm have the right skills to get you compensation from the responsible parties. So, call us today for a FREE consultation.
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