Trucking accidents have the potential to create severe or even life-threatening injuries. If you were injured in a trucking accident, you deserve to know your options for recovery through a lawsuit. These options start with identifying who you might be able to sue.
If the truck driver’s negligence caused the accident, you will most likely be able to name the driver in your lawsuit. However, it is usually preferable to sue the trucking company. You may be able to name the trucking company if the driver was acting as an employee at the time of the accident or if you can point to the trucking company’s negligence as the cause of the accident. You may also be able to name other parties, such as maintenance companies or government entities, under certain circumstances.
Determining whom to sue for your trucking accident injuries is a critical step in your recovery. You shouldn’t have to make such an important decision without the competent assistance of the Baltimore trucking accident attorneys at Bennett & Heyman. We offer new clients the chance to sit down and discuss their case for free. To schedule your first case review, call us at (410) 429-7856.
Suing a Truck Driver After a Trucking Accident
If you were injured in an accident, the first place you might look is the other driver. Truck drivers will be liable for injuries that they caused through their negligent or reckless driving, just like any other driver. This may seem straightforward enough. However, proving that a truck driver was negligent may be difficult depending on the circumstances of the accident. This is because driving a truck is a complex endeavor requiring substantial training and experience.
In many cases, you may need to use expert testimony in a lawsuit against a truck driver to demonstrate how they failed to meet their duties. Expert testimony can help by explaining the standard and reasonable practices in the trucking industry to a jury, thereby demonstrating what the truck driver should have done differently in the situation that led to the accident. Your trucking accident attorney can help you secure convincing expert testimony to give you the best chance of recovery for your injury lawsuit.
Truck drivers, like many other commercial drivers, are often required to carry a certain level of special insurance coverage. This coverage will kick in to cover at least some of your damages in a lawsuit. However, depending on the severity of your accident, this coverage may not be enough. Therefore, we typically recommend that you attempt to name the trucking company in your lawsuit if possible.
Suing a Trucking Company After a Trucking Accident
Trucking companies are the ideal defendants in a trucking accident lawsuit. They typically have the most available insurance coverage, as well as deeper pockets than the drivers themselves. However, you can only sue a trucking company under certain circumstances.
To determine whether you can sue the trucking company, the first step you should take is identifying whether the truck driver was an employee of the trucking company or an independent contractor. Trucking companies are typically liable for accidents caused by their employees. A driver is usually an employee if the trucking company is responsible for setting their work schedule, maintaining their truck, or providing them with training. Independent contractors may control their own schedules and do work for a number of different trucking companies. Different states have their own guidelines for differentiating between employees and independent contractors, so be sure to speak with your trucking accident lawyer about which classification applies in your case.
However, the employment status of the driver may not matter if you can show that the trucking company’s own negligence caused the accident. Trucking companies may be negligent in a number of different ways. For instance, if the trucking company overschedules their driver, they could be liable if driver fatigue played a role in causing the accident. Trucking companies are also responsible for screening potential hires for histories of reckless driving or DUIs, so if they fail in this regard, they might be liable if their driver was drunk at the time of the accident.
Talk to your Baltimore personal injury attorneys to determine whether you might be able to name the trucking company in your accident injury lawsuit.
Suing a Third Party After a Trucking Accident
Some trucking accident lawsuits may be more complicated than just determining whether to sue the driver or the trucking company. If your accident was caused by a defect on the truck, you may need to consider naming additional parties in your lawsuit, such as the part or truck manufacturer or the party responsible for maintaining the truck. Sometimes, the truck driver or the trucking company will bear responsibility for maintenance. In many cases, however, trucking companies may contract with third parties to provide inspection and maintenance services.
If liability is unclear after your accident, you likely have the ability to name multiple defendants in your lawsuit and allow them to battle it out themselves. We strongly urge you to contact a dedicated trucking accident attorney to assess liability for your case and help you prepare your official filing so that you don’t miss out on the recovery that you are owed.
Suing the Government After a Trucking Accident
It is possible that your best target for your lawsuit is a federal, state, or municipal entity, particularly if the truck is operated by a government agency. Government entities are not the ideal defendants, but they may nonetheless be liable. However, you may face notification requirements to file a suit against the government, depending on the jurisdiction that you are in. Avoid these traps by contacting your trucking accident attorney as soon as possible.
Call Bennett & Heyman to Take the First Step Toward Recovery for Trucking Accident Injuries
At Bennett & Heyman, we offer an immediate and thorough source of legal case review to all new clients for no charge. To schedule your first appointment with one of our trucking accident lawyers for free, call (410) 429-7856.