car after a collision with a heavy truck

Who Is Responsible in a Trucking Accident?

Wilson Law Firm PLLC April 12, 2022

Truck accidents can be much more severe than typical car accidents, mostly because commercial trucks are much heavier and carry more dangerous materials than regular vehicles. Consequently, determining liability in trucking accidents is a primary concern when facing physical injuries and property damage.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, there may need to be an independent investigation of the crash to determine who should be held responsible for your injuries and other losses. My firm—Wilson Law Firm PLLC—is dedicated to providing knowledgeable legal guidance and compassionate representation to Oklahoma clients in their truck accident cases. I proudly serve clients in Shawnee, Chandler, Norman, Okemah, Ada, and the rest of Oklahoma.

Assessing Liability

One of the main problems with assessing liability in trucking accidents is that there are a number of possible parties that could be involved. The trucking company (known as a carrier), as the trucker’s employer, may bear legal responsibility for the truck drivers’ actions, as well as for the safety of its trucks.

Several other parties may be liable for a truck accident in addition to a truck driver and the carrier. These parties might include:

  • The manufacturer of the truck and its parts

  • Vendors providing services to the carrier

  • The cargo’s owner

  • The person who loaded the cargo

  • Maintenance personnel

  • The driver of the other vehicle

  • A local government or contractors responsible for highway design or maintenance

Factors in Determining Liability

While negligence is a possibility, other factors can contribute to truck accidents. Even the most conscientious driver can fall victim to weather conditions or poorly maintained roads. Other examples include:

  • Aggressive driving

  • Alcohol and drugs

  • Distracted driving

  • Fatigue

  • Malfunctions or defects

  • Overloaded and improperly loaded trucks

  • Speeding

What Steps Should I Take Next?

In the immediate aftermath of a truck accident, there are a number of crucial steps to take:

  • Report the accident to the police

  • Get medical help

  • Gather witness statements

  • Collect evidence at the accident scene

  • Exchange information with the other involved parties

  • Ask witnesses for their contact information

  • Get proof that the truck driver was employed by the trucking company

Once you have taken the initial steps after a truck accident, contacting an experienced truck accident attorney should be your next move. An attorney can help you with a number of tasks, including filing an injury claim with your own insurance provider, filing a third-party claim directly with the at-fault party's insurance carrier, or filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault party.

If You're Representing an Incapacitated Loved One

If you are representing a loved one who is incapacitated, recovering damages on their behalf requires establishing guardianship. The court may appoint a legal guardian for the injured person, and then the guardian may then sue the at-fault party and file a personal injury claim on behalf of the victim.

If You're Representing a Deceased Loved One

If your loved one lost their life due to the negligent actions of someone else, the personal representative or executor of the decedent's estate can bring a wrongful death action on behalf of the surviving spouse, children, or other dependents.

Advocacy From a Shawnee

Truck Accidents Attorney

In all my years as a personal injury attorney, I’ve seen firsthand the damage a truck accident can cause to not just victims, but their families. Truck accidents are extremely dangerous and those who are liable for them should be held accountable. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, please contact me at Wilson Law Firm PLLC for an initial consultation.