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Most personal injury claims involve one victim and one at-fault party. For example, car accident victims usually file claims or lawsuits against the drivers who hit them, and that’s the extent of those claims. But truck accidents are different.
Big trucks may share streets, highways, and interstates with passenger vehicles, but there are typically far more parties involved with these vehicles than just the drivers. That’s because big trucks are used to conduct business, and multiple people and companies may have ownership, use, responsibility, and vested interest in a single truck, which means liability may be split among many parties after crashes.
After a truck accident, five separate parties can usually be held liable for victims’ damages:
The truck driver
Semi-truck drivers aren’t just required to follow Ohio’s traffic laws, such as obeying speed limits and coming to complete stops at stop signs, but they’re also required to follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) guidelines. These include obeying limits for maximum hours behind the wheel or on the job in certain timeframes, having proper licensure, completing required medical exams on time, and avoiding alcohol and drugs.
The truck owner
Although some drivers are owner-operators, many aren’t. Instead, they drive trucks that are owned by other people or parties. Those parties must ensure that their trucks are kept in good condition and are safe to drive. When they neglect to maintain their trucks, critical components can fail, causing serious crashes.
The truck company or companies
Some trucks are used exclusively by one company, while others may be managed by one company but haul goods for many other companies. All companies involved in the use of a truck must ensure that FMCSA guidelines are upheld for things like loading requirements and maximum weight requirements. Some companies may try to maximize profits by overloading trucks, but doing so puts all motorists at risk.
The truck manufacturer
Many companies manufacture big trucks, and even more companies manufacture the individual components that make up those trucks and the trailers they haul. Just as negligent auto manufacturers can be sued for accidents and injuries caused by defective parts, truck and component manufacturers can also be sued if they fail to ensure their products are safe and roadworthy.
Sometimes, truck accidents are only partially caused by negligent truck drivers, owners, or companies. Or, those parties may have no liability whatsoever. Instead, the fault may fall on another driver who cut off a truck driver or did something to cause the truck driver to swerve, slam on their brakes, or lose control of their vehicle, resulting in a crash that injured others.
In some cases, governmental entities can also be held liable for truck accidents if they fail to maintain safe road conditions and known hazards contributed to crashes.
Getting maximum compensation for a truck accident claim involves filing claims against all liable parties. But doing so successfully requires proving that all liable parties were negligent—and that requires a lot of evidence!
Collecting evidence for one party’s negligence usually doesn’t lead to proof that another party was also negligent, so all individual claims must be built separately. That can lead to a lot of work—especially when each party has its own insurance company that will fight tooth and nail to avoid paying the victim compensation.
Truck accidents often cause severe injuries that result in big medical bills and long stretches of disability. Because of those expenses, victims must get every penny they’re owed, and that means ensuring that every avenue for compensation is explored. And at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, our Ohio truck accident lawyers leave no stone unturned when building claims for our clients.
When you contact us, we’ll review your crash with a fine-toothed comb to determine exactly who was responsible for it, what their level of liability is, and how much money they owe you. Then, we’ll aggressively pursue that compensation for you and your loved ones. Contact us today for a free consultation—we’re ready to help you get maximum compensation.
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