Compared to an accident between passenger vehicles, collisions involving commercial trucks can be much more severe. The weight of a larger vehicle increases the force it can apply upon impact, often with terrible effects for everyone involved in an accident.
A vast majority of the people who lose their lives in truck accidents are either bicyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, or occupants of the other vehicle, while truck drivers represent only 17% of all fatalities. As a truck accident lawyer in Palm Beach Gardens, FL from a firm like the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt can explain, every year, tens of thousands of people in the United States are injured in large truck accidents.
People who are injured in truck accidents, as well as family members of people who have been killed, have the right to seek recompense for their losses from the entities responsible. Depending on the specific circumstances of the accident, those entities may include one or more of the following.
The Driver of the Truck
If the driver of the truck was negligent in some way, it may be possible to bring a lawsuit against him or her to recover damages from the accident. One way in which a truck driver may be negligent is by violating hours of service regulations. These are imposed by the federal government and restrict the number of hours that truck drivers are allowed to be on the road at a stretch. A driver who ignored hours of service regulations may have been dangerously fatigued at the time of the accident.
The Designer or Manufacturer of the Vehicle
If the cause of the accident was a defect in the vehicle itself, it may be possible to hold any parties involved in the supply chain responsible for getting the truck on the road liable for the accident. This includes the manufacturer and designer. Examples of defects with the potential to cause accidents include failures of the steering system or brake lines.
The Employer of the Driver
If the driver is an independent contractor, the trucking company is not responsible for damages from the accident. However, if the driver is an employee, the trucking company can be held liable. However, you cannot take a claim that the driver is an independent contractor at face value. Trucking companies know that they are liable for accidents caused by employees and may purposely misclassify them as independent contractors. Scrutiny of the working relationship can uncover the truth.
These are not all the parties that can be held liable for a truck accident, and a lawsuit may not name all these parties, but it can name any of them. Truck accident cases are complicated, but a local truck accident lawyer in Palm Beach Gardens, FL from a firm like the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt can help.