What Parties May Be Liable for Your California Truck Accident?
With car accidents, there are often times when liability is obvious. You may have been rear-ended or broad-sided. Maybe someone ran a red light. In those cases, you may simply be able to exchange contact information with the other driver and file a claim against their insurance. However, determining liability in truck accidents is much more complex because there are often multiple parties responsible. Determining who is liable could be difficult, but a California trucking accident attorney can help. An experienced truck accident lawyer will investigate the scene of the accident, research maintenance logs, driver records, and numerous other factors in order to determine which parties are responsible for your damages and losses.
Who’s Liable for a Trucking Accident in California?
Trucking accidents do not just involve you and the truck driver. The truck driver may work for a larger trucking company. Or, there might be instances where the truck driver is an independent contractor. Knowing all the parties that could be responsible for your truck accident in California is vital in maximizing your claim.
Liable parties for a Sacramento truck accident might include:
- Truck driver: A truck driver might be liable for a collision if they were engaging in negligent behavior, such as speeding, driving fatigued, or driving distracted. Truck drivers are also responsible for ensuring that the truck is free of any maintenance issues and that all cargo is secured correctly. If a maintenance issue or cargo contributed to the truck crash, the driver might bear some responsibility.
- Trucking company: Commercial truck companies are responsible for the trucks and truck drivers they employ. If the company does not provide adequate training, they might be responsible for accidents their employees cause. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also regulates how many hours a truck driver can work. If a trucking company forces them to work over that amount, they could be liable for an accident.
- Cargo loaders: In some cases, cargo loaders might be responsible for a trucking accident in California. If the loader did not properly inspect the cargo or secure it, they might be liable if boxes or equipment falls off and damages other cars.
- Truck manufacturers: Some truck accidents may result from a faulty part, such as tire blowouts, brake failures, or steering problems. While this could be a maintenance issue, the manufacturer might be liable if they knew of a defective part and did not notify the trucking company or truck driver.
If an investigation shows that multiple parties are to blame for your accident, your lawyer should be filing claims against multiple parties. Remember, the other party’s attorney and the insurance company will work quickly to close out any claims. Unfortunately, that means offering the accident victims low settlements that will not cover the full extent of their damages. Accepting a settlement before a truck accident attorney has the opportunity to investigate the accident may result in you not receiving fair compensation. Before accepting any settlement, consult with your injury attorney. They can assess whether the offer is fair and negotiate with insurers to ensure you receive the right amount.
Tips for Staying Safe When Driving Near Trucks in California
Driving next to a commercial truck causes many people anxiety, causing them to speed up to pass the truck. This is a dangerous risk that could cause an accident. Instead, maintain your speed and focus on safely passing the truck. Other safety tips when traveling next to a truck in California include:
- Avoiding sudden stops
- Not driving in blind spots
- Using turn signals
- Giving the truck enough space
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that human error causes 94% of all motor vehicle accidents, so it is vital to stay focused behind the wheel and always be aware of your surroundings.
Speak to a Truck Accident Attorney in California Today
If you sustained injuries in a truck crash in California, contact Eric Ratinoff Law Corp today. Attorney Eric J. Ratinoff understands the complexities of trucking accident cases and has the resources and experience needed to secure maximum compensation for your claim.
As with any personal injury, time is of the essence to file a claim before any statutes of limitations may expire, preventing you from ever filing a claim. With trucking accidents, it’s even more important. The sooner you hire a qualified trucking attorney, the better the chances of conducting a thorough investigation and securing key pieces of evidence on your behalf. Call (916) 970-9100 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.