Liability for Truck Accidents
Who was at fault for your semi crash?
After a wreck, compensation for any injuries and property damage depends on liability. In order to hold another person or company liable for your losses, you need to prove that that entity was negligent - that is, that they owed you a duty of care and did not meet it. And in truck accident cases, that can be quite difficult.
There are many different entities involved in most truck accidents, and sorting out liability can be a challenge. That's why you need an experienced truck accident lawyer's help. In Mobile and throughout Alabama, people injured in truck accidents trust Dean Waite & Associates, LLC to handle their claims.
Holding the trucking company liable
As a general rule, employers can be held vicariously liable for the actions of their employees while on the job. This is a legal doctrine called respondeat superior - a Latin term meaning "let the master answer." However, in the world of trucking, this doctrine may or may not apply because many truck drivers are independent contractors. If the trucker who caused your wreck was not a direct employee of the trucking company, respondeat superior may or may not apply, depending on the nature of the relationship between the driver and the company.
There are also many cases in which we can hold the trucking company directly liable for your injuries - that is, we can show that the trucking company's own actions caused the wreck. Some common acts of negligence on the part of trucking companies include:
- Negligent hiring - Trucking companies are supposed to make sure that the drivers they hire are properly trained and safe. We may be able to show that the trucking company failed to conduct a background check or otherwise cut corners during the hiring process.
- Negligent retention - This is similar to negligent hiring but concerns issues that emerge during the truck driver's employment. If, for instance, the trucking company learned that the driver had a history of driving under the influence, but still kept the trucker behind the wheel, that would be negligent retention.
- Negligent training or supervision - Even if the truck driver is an independent contractor, the trucking company is responsible for making sure its drivers are adequately trained and supervised. If failures to appropriately train the driver resulted in your accident, we can hold the trucking company accountable.
- Putting pressure on drivers - In too many cases, trucking companies expect their drivers to meet unrealistic deadlines, which can cause drivers to drive at unsafe speeds or work through mandatory rest breaks. We'll carefully review relevant records to see whether this happened in your case.
- Failing to adequately maintain the truck - Again, the culprit here is putting profits ahead of safety. Our investigation may find that the trucking company knew of an issue with the brakes, engine or another component of the truck, but failed to have it repaired.
The biggest challenge when it comes to holding trucking companies liable is that the trucking company itself controls much of the relevant evidence. That's one reason why it's so important to take strong legal action right away.
Other parties may also be held liable
Depending on the circumstances of your truck accident, entities other than the trucking company may be involved. Some parties that may be held liable for truck accidents include:
- Mechanics or other service professionals who worked on the truck or trailer.
- Manufacturer of the cab or trailer.
- Manufacturer or shipper of the cargo.
- Government agency or construction company responsible for maintaining the road.
- Driver of another vehicle involved in the wreck.
When multiple liabilities - and multiple insurance companies - are involved, getting the compensation you need can be especially challenging. Don't underestimate the complexity of your case. Contact us right away to meet with an experienced Mobile truck accident lawyer.