Involved In A Tractor Trailer Accident? Who Should You Sue?

Posted on: 11 December 2015

If you have been involved in a tractor trailer accident, you may be injured and nervous about what happens next. If the tractor trailer was the cause of the accident, or has some fault in it, you can file a personal injury claim to recover money for your medical expenses, pain and suffering and permanent injuries. However, who you file the claim against varies based on the cause of the accident. Here are four common reasons for tractor trailer accidents and who would be at fault in each circumstance. 

Driver Error

One of the most common causes of tractor trailer accidents is driver error. This may include hitting the brakes too late and rear ending you, or following too closely and causing an accident. If driver error caused the accident, you are able to sue the company that employed the driver and their insurance will pay your claim. 

It is important to note that driver error does not include illegal activities or activities where the driver was overly negligent. In such cases, such as driving under the influence, you have the ability to sue both the company the driver was working for and the driver themselves.

The Driver Being Tired

When a tractor trailer driver is too tired, and ends up getting in an accident, then the driver and company can both be at fault. All truck drivers are required by law to maintain a log book that shows how many hours they have been driving, how many hours they have sat at a location without driving and how much time has lapsed since they had adequate rest. This allows  law enforcement, trucking companies or the Federal Department of Transportation to ensure that all drivers are getting adequate rest and breaks.

During a tractor trailer accident, one of the things that an investigator or law enforcement officer asks to see is the drivers log book. It is up to the company to make sure that their drivers have sufficient time off to rest so that they are not putting themselves, the company or other drivers at risk on the roadways. If a driver does have adequate rest but still feels that they are too tired to drive and the company forces them to drive after being informed about the drivers condition, then they will be held accountable as well. 

Mechanical Failure 

Another cause of tractor trailer accidents is mechanical failure. Mechanical failure can include something such as the brakes failing to work despite being properly maintained. If mechanical failure is the cause of the accident, you can sue the company who manufactured the part that failed. This is hard to prove and may require experts to testify, but if you can show that a part failed and caused the accident, both you and the truck driver can go after the manufacturer of the failed part.

Improper Trailer Maintenance

If the tractor trailer is not properly maintained, then the owner of tractor trailer can be found at fault and held liable for the accident. Trailers are required by federal law to have a BIT Inspection. This is to ensure that the tires, brakes and airlines are maintained and in good working order in order for the trailer to be traveling on the roadways. This is in addition to routine maintenance on the engine, oil changes and trailer maintenance and care. 

The cause of an accident plays an important role in a personal injury claim. An experienced tractor trailer accident lawyer can make a huge difference when filing a claim if you were involved in an accident. They can evaluate your accident, determine what the cause of the accident was and help figure out which parties should be included in a lawsuit.

For more information about tractor trailer accidents, look at this web-site and others that deal with accidents.