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Totaled vehicle after an accident

Understanding Liability in a Truck Accident

July 27, 2022

Figuring out who is at fault can be challenging in any motor vehicle accident. However, when an accident involves an 18-wheeler, semi-truck, or another kind of commercial truck, assessing liability becomes even more complicated because there may be multiple at-fault parties.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a truck accident, understanding liability will be key to a successful claim, regardless of whether you are suing for damages in a personal injury or wrongful death claim.

Since determining liability is one of the most difficult aspects of a truck accident, you must seek legal counsel at the Law Office of James Maniatis. As a truck accident attorney with over 30 years of experience helping accident victims throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I know what goes into assessing liability and fighting for fair compensation on behalf of my clients.

I proudly serve clients in Shrewsbury, Southborough, Webster, and throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including Grafton, Boylston, Millbury, and Upton.

Assessing Liability Following a Truck Accident

Determining liability after a truck crash can be complex, which is why I often hear the question, “Who can be held liable in a truck accident?” from injured victims and family members of those killed in collisions with 18-wheelers and semi-trucks. Depending on different factors, a number of parties could be held liable for a victim’s injury or death:

  • Truck driver. The driver of the truck could be held responsible for causing the crash if they engaged in some kind of negligent behavior such as distracted driving, speeding, aggressive driving, or driving while fatigued.

  • Truck company. The company that hired the truck driver may also be at fault for the crash. However, proving the truck company’s liability can be difficult, especially if the trucker is classified as an independent contractor rather than an employee.

  • Manufacturer of the truck or its parts. When the truck or its parts fail because of a defect, the manufacturer may be held accountable for the collision and the damages and losses incurred by the victim or surviving family members.

  • Cargo loader. Often, trucking companies hire third-party contractors to load the truck. When cargo is loaded incorrectly, weight is not properly balanced, or the truck is overloaded, the cargo loader could be held responsible for the resulting accident.

  • Maintenance personnel. If a truck crash was the result of inadequate maintenance of the truck, the maintenance company or personnel might be held responsible for the collision.

  • Another driver. The driver of the truck is not necessarily at fault 100% of the time when an accident involves a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, or another large truck. The driver of another car involved in the crash could be held responsible if they acted negligent, reckless, or careless.

Factors in Determining Liability

Certain factors may play a role in determining liability following a truck accident involving a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, or another type of truck. These factors include:

  • Weather conditions at the time of the accident

  • Road conditions at the crash site

  • Whether any driver lost control of their vehicle

  • The mechanical condition of the vehicles involved

  • The speed of each vehicle

  • Whether distractions, fatigue, or impairment played a role in the crash

  • Who had the right of way at the time of the collision

The above-mentioned factors are often evaluated when determining liability in a truck accident. The success of your claim and your ability to secure fair compensation depends on the evidence you and your attorney can present. That is why a timely and comprehensive investigation may be necessary to gather all available evidence and hold all at-fault parties liable. 

What Steps Should You Take After a Truck Collision?

Your course of action following a truck accident depends on whether you are the victim involved in the collision or someone representing a family member who was incapacitated or killed in the crash:

  1. If you are the victim, you will need to get immediate medical care, gather medical records, and file a personal injury claim.

  2. If you are representing a loved one, you will need to gather all available records pertinent to your family member’s incapacity or death and file a personal injury or wrongful death claim, respectively.

Either way, you need to rely on the guidance of an experienced attorney to assist you with your claim after a truck collision.

Fighting for Your Future

Understanding liability in a truck accident is the first step following the collision. While the process may seem overwhelming, you do not have to go through this alone. With three offices conveniently located across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts – in Webster, Shrewsbury, and Southborough – my law firm, Law Office of James Maniatis, takes personal injury and wrongful death cases from all parts of Massachusetts, including Westborough and Northborough. Get in touch today so we can discuss your case.