Whether the driver makes a mistake, a component of the truck malfunctions, or the truck’s cargo shifts in transit, a variety of factors can cause commercial trucks to crash. The negligence of one or more parties may cause these issues, in which case the victims of the accident may be entitled to compensation.
However, actually proving who is at fault for a truck accident can be challenging. If you were injured or a loved one was seriously hurt or killed in a collision with a big rig, our truck accident attorneys will investigate the crash and determine who is liable for your losses.
Please call O’Connor & Partners, PLLC at (845) 303-8777 today for a free consultation. Our attorneys serve clients in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, and throughout New York.
Liable Parties in a Truck Accident Claim
In general, the liability in car accident claims and other cases involving motor vehicles rests with one or both of the drivers involved in the crash. In truck accident claims, conversely, there may be several different parties that could be at fault:
1. The Truck Driver
The first part of any truck accident investigation is determining how the negligence of the driver led to the crash. Common examples of driver negligence in truck accident claims include:
- Alcohol and drug impairment
- Distracted driving
- Braking errors
- Merging dangerously
If the truck driver’s negligence led to an accident where you suffered serious injuries, you may be able to recover compensation from the driver’s insurance company.
2. The Company That Owns the Truck
Trucking companies have a legal obligation to keep their trucks in good working order. They also have a legal obligation to hire trained and safe drivers. Additionally, trucking companies must comply with state and federal motor carrier safety regulations.
Violations of any of these duties may be a factor in your truck accident claim. To determine if the trucking company is at fault, our lawyers will investigate all of the possible factors in the collision, including negligent maintenance, negligent hiring practices, and compliance issues (i.e., forcing drivers to log too many consecutive hours without rest).
3. The Company That Owns the Cargo
Cargo-related issues are also common factors in commercial truck accidents. If cargo is not loaded properly or if it shifts or comes loose during transit, the truck driver can suddenly and unexpectedly lose control. If a truck’s cargo spills onto the roadway, one or more major accidents may occur.
4. The Truck’s Manufacturer or a Parts Manufacturer
If an issue with the truck itself caused or contributed to your accident, then the truck’s manufacturer and/or the manufacturer of the specific component that malfunctioned could be liable as well. The malfunction or failure of a variety of different parts can lead to a semi truck accident, including:
- The brakes
- The tires
- The electrical systems
- The cargo straps
- And other components
Our team will thoroughly examine the truck and trailer to determine if a defect or mechanical failure was a factor in the accident. You may be entitled to compensation from one or more manufacturers and other companies if we can prove that the vehicle or a part was faulty.
5. The Truck’s Maintenance Service Provider
Similarly, if an investigation reveals that a truck component had not been properly maintained (as opposed to being defective when it left the factory), then the shop or dealership that performed the truck’s maintenance work may be liable. Brake failures and other system failures may be the result of negligent service, although in some cases the trucking company may be liable for failing to have necessary work performed.
6. The Government Agency or Contractor That Is Responsible for the Road Where the Crash Occurred
Stepping back from issues related to the truck and the truck driver, issues with the road may also play a role in serious commercial truck accidents. For example, if a truck driver loses control after hitting a pothole or a low shoulder leaves a truck driver with nowhere to go in order to avoid a collision, then the government agency or contractor that is responsible for the road could also be deemed legally responsible for your accident.
Unsafe construction zones, unmarked lanes, obstructed views, turns that are too sharp, and various other road-related hazards may also be at issue in claims against a government entity. To identify these types of negligence, it is important to contact an experienced attorney with access to knowledgeable experts.
7. Other Parties That May Have Caused the Accident
In addition to all of the situations described above, other parties may play a role in causing an accident involving a large commercial truck. Whether another driver made a mistake or some other unexpected occurrence caused the truck driver to suddenly lose control, if anyone else is to blame for your commercial truck accident, an experienced attorney can investigate to determine the liable party or parties.
Contact Our Trucking Accident Attorneys Today
As you can see, determining who is liable for a truck accident is a complicated process. You need experienced lawyers who can investigate on your behalf and pursue compensation from all of the at-fault parties.
If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a commercial truck accident in New York, please call (845) 303-8777 today for a free consultation. With offices in Kingston, Newburgh, and Poughkeepsie, O’Connor & Partners, PLLC represents individuals and families throughout the Hudson Valley and statewide.