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When Is a Trucking Company Liable for an Accident?

By Newport Beach Personal Injury Attorney on August 6, 2019

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According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, an average of 10 people are killed in tractor-trailer accidents each day in America. And over 80% of those killed are not occupants of the semi-truck—they’re pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers.

This disparity is easy to understand, when you stop and think about the difference in size and weight between a big rig and your average passenger vehicle. A fully-loaded 18-wheeler can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds, dwarfing a sedan car that weighs in at around 4,000 pounds. In a collision between the two, the smaller vehicle is going to suffer more damage and its people far worse injuries—and we don’t even want to think about the aftermath of a collision between a big rig and a pedestrian. (We’ve seen it.)

If you’ve been in an accident with a tractor-trailer, your injuries are likely to be serious, leaving you with high medical bills, a considerable amount of missed work, and maybe even permanent disabilities. If the accident was the fault of a truck driver, you have the right to seek compensation. To find out more, contact an experienced Orange County truck accident attorney at our law firm, Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie. Call (949) 752-7474 today!

Liability After a Truck Crash: It’s Complicated

Tractor-trailer accidents are more difficult to litigate than passenger vehicle crashes, because multiple parties and their insurers may be involved. Most commercial truckers are not owner-operators, meaning they don’t own their own trucks—they work for a trucking company. This means that the employer-trucking company can be held liable for the behavior of its truck drivers on the job. This is often referred to as “vicarious liability.” For more information about what “on the job” means, check out our previous blog.

Holding the trucking company accountable in a personal injury or wrongful death claim is advantageous to you, the plaintiff, because a corporation, generally, has more insurance and assets to pay for your injuries and losses. However, a larger insurance policy—in our experience, in the multi-million dollar range—means that the insurance company will fight harder to diminish or deny their client’s culpability for an accident. This is why you need an experienced commercial vehicle accident attorney to do battle with the insurance company’s army of lawyers.

Depending on the circumstances, a number of other parties may share liability for a big rig accident, in addition to the driver’s employer, including:

  • The owner of the tractor or trailer.
  • The party that leased the tractor or trailer from the owner.
  • The party that hired or vetted the driver.
  • The party responsible for repair and maintenance of the tractor or trailer.
  • The party that loaded the trailer (overloading or unbalanced loading can cause accidents).
  • The manufacturer of the tractor or trailer.
  • The manufacturer of a part of the tractor or trailer (brakes, tire, axles, etc.).
  • The party charged with maintaining the roadway where the accident occurred.

Get the Compensation You Need and Deserve

Tractor-trailer accidents often cause severe injury or loss of life to the occupants of other vehicles. If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a semi-truck accident, you need a strong advocate to help you get the compensation you deserve.

For over 40 years, Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie has been successfully representing families adversely impacted by commercial truck accidents. Let us put our experience, skills, and tenacity to work on your claim. Call our Newport Beach office for a free case evaluation at (949) 752-7474.

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Posted in: Truck Accidents

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