Who Can I Sue in a Truck Accident?
Truck accidents are a deadly scourge in the Inland Empire of California and across the country, as the unreasonable demands of trucking companies, negligent driving habits, and the sheer force of an 18-wheeler barreling down our freeways, highways, and byways too often result in serious injuries and untimely deaths. If you have been the victim of a truck accident or a family member has died in a trucking accident, you should take all necessary steps to determine your legal options for financial recovery of your financial, physical, and emotional losses.
One of the key aspects of the financial recovery process is determining what parties may be liable to you in a personal injury suit brought by your attorney for your injuries and losses.
The Driver of the Truck
Whenever a person operates a vehicle, he or she has a legal duty to drive responsibly, taking due care not to endanger those in a foreseeable zone of danger. If the driver fails to drive like an objectively reasonable person, and a victim is injured as a result (whether that be another driver, a passenger, a pedestrian, a motorcyclist, a bicyclist, etc.), that victim can sue the driver in a negligence suit for damages. If the victim dies, then the victim’s family members may bring a wrongful death suit against the driver.
Common ways in which a driver fails to take due care in driving and is thus negligent include:
- Texting while driving
- Changing lanes without signaling
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Drowsy driving
- Failure to follow other driving regulations
The Driver’s Employer
Trucking accident injuries often involve expensive medical bills, prolonged treatment, inability to work for months or even years, and extensive pain and suffering. Few drivers have personal assets and/or insurance to fully cover the costs of a victim’s injuries. But as an injured victim you can also seek damages from the driver’s employer under the theory of vicarious liability, presuming that the accident occurred while the driver was in the scope of his or her employment.
Other Parties Involved in the Trucking Distribution Network
Trucking companies often contract with distributors, companies, and other business entities to transport materials, and in some cases, those parties may be liable as well. One of the biggest factors leading to trucking accidents is the unreasonable schedules and demands that truckers operate under which lead to driver fatigue, speeding, and other errors (under federal law, truckers can drive up to 77 hours a week – or 11 hours a day – and yet many still exceed that). If another party’s actions can be proven to have a causal connection with your injuries, then that party may be a proper defendant as well.
Trucking Equipment Manufacturers and Servicers
Sometimes trucker error is not the only factor leading to an accident, and the accident was at least in part caused by a defective truck part or negligently maintained piece of machinery. A manufacturer or seller of a defective truck part or a party who negligently maintained the truck may be liable to a truck accident victim in a personal injury case as well.