Who Causes Trucking Accidents? | Studinski Law, LLC
February 10, 2022

Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?

Personal injury claims involving commercial trucks are more complicated to resolve than typical car accident claims. Large truck wrecks tend to be more devastating, resulting in serious injuries, extensive property damage, and even death. Additionally, there may be multiple parties who could be held liable after a big rig crash. The truck driver, the trailer owner, the trucking company, cargo loaders, and even government agencies and their contractors may share responsibility for a trucking accident.

At Studinski Law, LLC, our accomplished truck accident lawyers have been helping injury victims throughout Wisconsin for years. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to handle these complex cases and we are committed to helping you recover the justice and compensation you deserve.

Who Is Responsible for a Truck Wreck?

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your wreck, multiple parties may share responsibility for the crash, including:

The Driver of the Truck

Truck drivers are specially trained to operate large commercial vehicles and they must adhere to extensive rules and regulations on the road. When truckers fail in their duty, the results can be catastrophic.

Examples of truck driver error include:

  • Driving under the influence: Drug and alcohol abuse are persistent problems in the trucking industry, and contribute to some of the most serious accidents.
  • Distracted driving: Truckers must refrain from using cell phones when driving, except in the event of an emergency. However, talking on the phone and texting remain major causes of truck wrecks. Other activities, like adjusting radio settings, smoking, drinking, and eating while behind the wheel can also lead to distraction-related accidents.
  • Tailgating: 18-wheelers need more distance to slow down and come to a complete stop. When trailers are fully loaded, the amount of space needed to stop increases. When truckers follow other vehicles too closely, accidents can occur.
  • Improper lane changes: When a truck driver fails to check blind spots before making a lane change, vehicles in adjoining lanes are in considerable danger.
  • Reckless driving: Numerous actions can constitute reckless driving, including driving too fast for conditions, running stop signs and red lights, etc.
  • Excess speed: Speeding is always dangerous, but for truckers, the dangers of speeding are considerably increased. Semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and with a special permit for a higher weight, they can weigh even more. With this massive weight behind an 18-wheeler, truck drivers must use caution when operating their trucks to ensure the safety of others on the road.
  • Driving without sufficient rest:  Truck drivers who attempt to drive too long, or without getting enough sleep substantially increase their risk of causing a wreck.
  • Failure to inspect the truck before a haul: Truck drivers must perform thorough inspections of their vehicles before every haul. If a trucker fails to properly inspect a truck before heading out, mechanical malfunctions and failures may cause a wreck. 

When truck drivers fail in their responsibilities, they breach their duty to other motorists. Proving truck driver negligence is crucial for the success of a truck accident claim. An experienced attorney can gather pertinent evidence to demonstrate that the driver acted negligently and that this negligence led to your injury and subsequent losses.

The Trucking Company

The employment status of the driver can significantly impact a truck accident claim. Although some truckers operate as independent contractors, many are employed by trucking companies. Even if a driver claims to be an independent contractor, the driver may still be legally considered an employee. If the driver was performing his or her professional duties when the wreck happened, the trucking company may share liability for your injuries and damages.

Based on a truck accident attorney’s investigation, it may be found that the trucking company contributed to a crash if it:

  • Pressured the driver to drive longer hours in violation of federal regulations
  • Made errors in the maintenance and repair of the truck
  • Failed to train the driver
  • Failed to supervise the driver
  • Failed to test for drugs, alcohol, and disqualifying medical conditions
  • Committed improper hiring practices
  • Failed to disqualify the driver for committing a serious offense

Trucking companies often have their own attorneys and investigators who will try to protect the carrier from liability and get you to settle for less than you need and deserve. A truck accident lawyer will protect your rights and fight for the full value of your physical, emotional, and financial losses.

The Loading or Shipping Company

Truck wrecks are often the result of excessive loads or unevenly distributed weight inside the trailer. Liability for these accidents may be attributed to the truck driver for failing to inspect the load, the shipping company for improperly loading the truck, or a combination of both.

The Truck’s Manufacturer

A company that designs, manufactures, and sells commercial trucks and components has a duty to ensure that its trucks and parts are safe and function in accordance with industry standards. If a semi-truck or one of its parts is defective and caused your injury and losses, 

you may bring a claim against the manufacturer.

A Service Technician

Negligent maintenance of a big rig can lead to a devastating accident. Trucking companies and truck owner-operators have an obligation to ensure that trucks are properly maintained and safe for the road. Liability for negligent repairs and service may also rest with the mechanic entrusted to maintain the vehicle’s safety and performance.

Following a truck accident that may have resulted from poor maintenance, repair and maintenance records should be obtained to determine if routine service and other work were neglected. An experienced attorney can gather this evidence and determine whether negligence played a role in a crash.

Other Parties

No two trucking accidents are exactly the same, and liability may fall on parties other than the common ones listed above. For example, the carelessness of another vehicle’s driver could cause the truck driver to lose control. Another driver may drift between lanes or cut off a tractor-trailer.

Dangerous roads can also lead to truck wrecks. If not properly maintained or designed, highways and other roads can cause accidents. An attorney can determine which government agencies are responsible for road maintenance and take legal action on your behalf if a road defect contributed to the truck crash.

Speak With a Wisconsin Truck Accident Lawyer for Free

After a serious truck crash, you need a proven law firm you can trust. Studinski Law, LLC has a distinguished history of success in truck accident litigation. Our experienced truck accident lawyers know the challenges you may be facing after a serious injury. We will work diligently to help you recover the maximum compensation you need to get back on track.

See our results.

If you have been hurt or lost a family member in a truck wreck, call Studinski Law, LLC today at (715) 343-2850 for a free initial consultation. We serve clients in Plover, Marshfield, and all of Wisconsin.

Jason Studinski Injury Attorney
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