A car accident is scary enough, but when the vehicle that you come metal-to-metal with is 80,000 pounds of loaded tractor trailer, “terrifying” isn’t a strong enough term. Tractor trailer accidents kill thousands of people each year, and tens of thousands are injured as a result of such collisions. One can imagine that such a force would easily leave a person with permanent disabilities, if he or she is fortunate enough to survive the ordeal. So, when an accident like this occurs because of an error on the part of the truck company, it is the right of the victim to seek a personal injury attorney to help file a lawsuit.
There are a number of potential defendants in a case like this, and the direction that the lawsuit goes will be greatly determined by the actual cause.
The Driver. The most obvious person to accept the blame in a tractor trailer accident is the driver, of course, but this is not always the correct defendant to name in a case. Many times, circumstances can arise that take the control of the vehicle out of the hands of the driver. The driver should only be sued if he or she was directly responsible for the collision. That is to say that this person is only responsible if his or her action(s) (or failure to act) led to the accident. Unfortunately, when the driver is negligent, it can be difficult to collect the money needed to cover the many losses suffered, as he or she may not have the proper insurance or assets needed to cover such costs.
The Truck Company. In several cases, the trucking company will be named as the defendant or the co-defendant. This company is accepting responsibility for the driver upon hiring him or her to drive for the business. The victim can benefit greatly from bringing the trucking company into the lawsuit, as the business is much more likely to carry insurance or to have assets that will cover the costs of such an accident.
In some situations, there will be other defendants to consider as well.
A Bar, Restaurant, or Truck Stop. Was the driver drunk at the time of the accident? Could the establishment that served any alcohol the driver consumed also be held partially responsible? Many times, courts have found businesses negligent for serving a person, beyond a reasonable limit, who is known to be operating a motor vehicle.
Manufacturers. Was there a mechanical defect in the truck that caused the driver to lose control? If so, it is possible that the manufacturer is responsible for covering the costs of the accident.
Government Organizations. Were poor road conditions to blame? If so, then the town, city, or state might be considered negligent as well.
Warehouses. In other instances, the warehouse where the truck was loaded could be at fault for failure to pack the truck correctly. There are many strict standards in place for the trucking industry to ensure that tractor trailers aren’t carrying too much weight, and that the weight being carried is equally balanced within the trailer. When these rules are broken, people can be seriously hurt or killed.
This is just one more reason to hire a personal injury attorney after a St. Petersburg accident; he or she will be able to help you determine who should be named as defendant in the case. As the victim, you deserve compensation, but the courts aren’t going to make another innocent party pay those bills so make sure you name the correct party in the lawsuit.