Every year, there are over 500,000 commercial vehicle accidents in the United States. Because of the vast size and volume of an 80,000 pound truck, these accidents resulted in over 5,000 deaths and 130,000 severe injuries. 98 percent of those killed were in the passenger vehicle.
It’s no secret that truck accidents can be more fatal than car accidents. Their size alone brings up several additional safety concerns while on the road, and is the reason why all truck drivers must hold a Commercial Driver’s License issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Additionally, truck drivers are on the road for over 14 hours each day as they race to deliver goods and packages to waiting consumers.
If you were injured in a collision with a commercial motor vehicle, you could file a personal injury claim in order to potentially receive compensatory damages. However, lawsuits surrounding truck accidents are becoming more and more complicated as people try and determine who they want to sue.
Who Should I Sue?
It should be an obvious answer. In the case of a car accident, you would sue the at-fault driver or request money from their insurance to cover the cost of the accident. Wouldn’t the same rules apply to truck accidents?
If the truck driver was “on the clock” when the accident occured, you could potentially file the claim against the trucking company. Since a company is bound to have more assets than the truck driver, you could receive additional compensatory damages if you win your case. This is because the truck company, as the official employer, is responsible for their employees while on the job. The negligence of the truck driver, therefore, becomes the fault of the company for fostering a work environment that allows for neglect.
For example, if the truck driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the trucking company could be in violation of The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration(FMCSA)’s requirement regarding random drug testing. If the driver committed a traffic violation, the company could be held responsible for a negligent hiring process. Additionally, in the age of one- and two-day delivery services, some trucking companies request their drivers stay on the road for longer than the FMCSA’s required 14-hours. This results in driver fatigue, which can then impact their performance on the road.
Should I Sue the Trucking Company?
It should be that simple, but in most situations, there is no clear answer. Sometimes the trucking company will enlist a third-party vendor to provide additional drivers for a large delivery. Sometimes the trucking company will be hired by a larger corporation who requires that they enforce longer hours on the road. Because of all these potential complications, it’s better to have a skilled tractor trailer accident lawyer in Indianapolis, IN by your side if you hope to file a personal injury claim. They will ensure that you file a lawsuit against the correct party so you can receive the damages you deserve.
Thanks to Ward & Ward Law Firm for their insight into personal injury claims and suing a truck driver or trucking company.