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Identifying the right defendant after a truck accident

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2019 | Serious Personal Injury |

Truck accidents are often some of the most complex collisions to understand, especially for victims building their personal injury or property damage claims. In addition to the normal complications that any traffic accident can create, large trucks often involve multiple corporate interests.

For victims, this is potentially positive as well as frustrating. On one hand, if a business or manufacturer is ultimately liable for the accident, this often opens up opportunities for stronger compensation for victims. On the other hand, large companies spend heavily to keep a team of attorneys available to protect their interests. Pursuing fair compensation may take more time and effort overall.

Everyone who experiences a large truck accident should review the causes of the accident carefully. Even if a victim knows that they did not cause the accident itself, they may not receive the compensation they deserve if they do not know which party is liable.

Employee or contractor?

It is usually wise to begin building a claim by determining whether the driver of the truck acted as an employee or as an independent contractor when the accident took place. If the accident was the fault of the driver in some way, then it is important to understand this distinction.

If the driver acted as an independent contractor, then the company paying them to drive may not have liability in the accident. However, if the driver acted as an employee, then the company that hired them to drive may hold liability for your losses. Even if the hiring company claims that the driver is an independent contractor, it may be a case of misclassification. Detailed research is key to a strong claim.

Other potentially liable parties

In many accidents, the events that cause the wreck are out of the control of the driver. This may involve bad repairs or maintenance, failing components within the truck, or poorly loaded and secured cargo.

In many cases, drivers do not perform the repairs and maintenance on their vehicles personally. If a repair shop performs a faulty repair, then the shop may hold the liability. Similarly, if a component of the truck fails and causes the accident, then the manufacturer probably holds some liability.

The same principle applies to cargo. Drivers are not always the individuals loading cargo and securing the cargo. If cargo is loaded poorly, it can shift dramatically while in transit. It is not difficult to imagine how a trailer full of heavy objects may create trouble if its weight shifts suddenly.

Your recovery is your first priority

Recovering from an accident takes time and patience, even with excellent medical care. Do not wait to begin building your injury claim if you recently experienced a truck accident. You must have the energy and resources to focus on your recovery, and a strong legal strategy can help protect you and your rights during this process.