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Determining Liability in Serious Truck Accidents

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Blurred semitrucks on highway at sunset

Did you know that trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds while the average passenger vehicle weighs slightly more than 4,000 pounds? The significant disparity in sizes and weights between trucks and cars means that some truck collisions are catastrophic and leave people suffering with lifelong disabilities. Following serious truck accidents, determining liability and identifying all potentially liable parties is critical to ensuring that victims recover full compensation for their losses. 

Determining Who Is at Fault in Serious Truck Accidents

Collisions involving semi-trucks are often extremely complex cases. While many car accidents only involve two potentially liable parties, multiple parties can be liable in serious truck accidents. Determining liability is the first critical step taken by an attorney following a truck collision. Your lawyer will investigate your case thoroughly to determine all of the parties that should be named as defendants in your lawsuit. Some of the parties that might be liable include the following:

  • Truck driver
  • Trucking company that employs the driver
  • Leasing company that owns the truck
  • Third party that negligently repaired the truck
  • Distributors that improperly loaded the truck
  • Entities responsible for maintaining the roads
  • Truck manufacturer
  • Defective part manufacturer

Identifying all of the parties that may have contributed to a truck accident requires a thorough investigation. If a liable party is not named in a lawsuit, you will not be able to recover the percentage of damages allocated to it.

Reviewing Data from Electronic Logging Devices and Black Boxes

One source of evidence that your attorney will want to review is the data from the electronic logging device (ELD) and black box of the truck. To prevent this type of evidence from being spoliated, your lawyer will send a notice to preserve it. ELD and black box data can reveal important information about what was occurring in the truck immediately before the crash, including how fast the truck was going, the number of hours the driver was on duty, when the brakes were applied, and other relevant data.

Investigating Potentially Defective Parts

If a part appears to have failed and contributed to the accident, your attorney will investigate whether the component was in a defective state at the time it left the factory. Designers, manufacturers, and distributors may all be liable when an accident is caused by a defective part. This will require a significant amount of investigation and the retrieval of records from all of the parties involved in the chain of production.

Reviewing Police Reports and Interviewing Witnesses

Police reports are not the final authority about the fault in a serious truck accident. Your attorney will still review the reports to obtain some background information and to understand the perspectives of the responding officers. Police reports might include witness names and contact details that could be important. Your attorney will interview any witnesses to learn what they saw happen.

Accident Reconstruction

Working with an experienced accident reconstruction expert following a serious truck accident can provide crucial evidence about what happened. An accident reconstruction expert uses his or her training to recreate what occurred and to help explain the causes that contributed to the collision.

Reviewing Photographic and Video Evidence

Photographs taken at the scene of the accident immediately after it occurred can be important pieces of evidence. If you or someone else took photos of the damage to both vehicles and other relevant information about the accident scene, your attorney will want to look at them. Your lawyer might also try to find video evidence from nearby businesses to see what happened.

Talk to an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer

Many steps are involved in the investigative process to determine liability after a serious truck accident. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave understand how to investigate these complex cases to identify all of the parties that might be at fault. Contact us today to schedule an appointment by calling us at 417-322-2222 or sending us a message online.

Files under: Personal Injury