Commercial trucks are responsible for thousands of roadway injuries and deaths each year. While any accident-related injury can be serious, semitruck and 18-wheeler accident injuries are often the most severe due to the size and weight of the truck. If you were injured in a West Virginia truck accident, you may be able to recover damages for your serious injuries by filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault parties.
Who is responsible for my accident?
When people think about who is to blame for an accident, they often point the finger solely at the other driver. However, there are many parties that may be liable for a trucking accident, even if they were not physically behind the wheel at the time of the crash. When a commercial truck is involved, some of these parties may include:
- Trucking companies – Commercial trucks are often owned by trucking companies, who are responsible for ensuring that their trucks are properly inspected and maintained. Commercial truck drivers are also often driving their trucks while within the course and scope of their employment with the trucking companies, making the trucking companies vicariously liable for their negligence. Trucking companies may also be held liable for failure to properly train or supervise the driver or negligently entrusting a truck to an incompetent truck driver.
- Contracting companies – Many truck drivers are employed as independent contractors, and therefore, the third party contracting company may be held vicariously liable for the negligence of their drivers. Contractors can also be held liable for negligent hiring, training, and supervision of their drivers.
- Shippers or cargo loaders – If a shipper of hazardous materials fails to properly warn trucking companies of the risks involved in transporting such materials, or a loader failed to properly load the cargo onto a truck, they may be held liable for an accident.
- Mechanics or manufacturers – Trucks require more maintenance than a passenger vehicle, and a mechanic’s failure to properly inspect a truck or failure to make proper repairs to a truck could make them liable for the accident. Manufacturers of trucks can also be liable for faulty equipment or parts.
It can be difficult to know who to file a lawsuit against after an accident. An attorney specializing in commercial truck accident claims can help make sure all at-fault parties are held liable for their negligence.