Truck accidents are complicated and traumatic for victims. The sheer size of a big rig can cause irreparable damage to a standard vehicle and can often inflict serious bodily injury as well. If you are seeking damages related to a truck accident, it is important to identify the correct defendant. Failure to do so can leave you empty-handed.
Possible Defendants in a Truck Crash
When you are injured in a collision with a semi-truck or commercial big rig, it could be difficult to determine who is liable due to the multiple parties involved. From truck companies to brokers, an entire host of companies and individuals could potentially be held responsible.
The Truck Driver
One of the most obvious choices when it comes to a responsible party is the truck driver. Injury claims will usually name this individual, but not always. A truck driver can be named in the lawsuit if it is suspected they were driving under the influence, fell asleep behind the wheel, or contributed to any other kind of negligence that led to the accident.
Freight or Truck Company Brokers
Shippers sometimes use brokers to hire truck companies to transport their goods. The broker is responsible for finding a truck company that is safe and qualified. If it is suspected they did not properly screen the hired company, they can be held liable.
Commercial Vehicle Owners
Oftentimes, the truck driver is not the owner of the semi-truck involved in the accident. Commercial vehicle owners are responsible for maintenance and repairs. Sometimes finding this owner is complicated as it may not be the company or logo listed on the truck itself.
Truck Driver Employer
Whether the truck is owned or leased by the trucking company, the driver’s employer can often be listed as a defendant, usually due to not properly screening or monitoring the company’s drivers. One example of this would be if the truck driver was driving with a suspended license but was sent out on a route nonetheless.
If a maintenance or repair service was contracted to handle the service and repairs of a semi-truck that then gets into an accident, they could be held liable for any mechanical malfunctions that can be proven in court.
If a truck has a defective component that might have been the cause of an accident, the truck manufacturer might be held responsible. Wholesalers who sell particular mechanical parts can also be named as a defendant.
Identifying Correct Defendants Matters
Identifying the correct defendants is incredibly important. If a case is filed against the incorrect party, there will likely be a Motion to Dismiss filed by that defendant. If it can easily be proven that they are not the responsible party, the court will often grant the motion, and you won’t recover any damages. This can cause a significant delay in your case when the entire process must be restarted with the correct defendant. Time is of the essence when it comes to truck accident litigation, as Virginia has a statute of limitations. The clock can run out before you even realize it.
Identifying the correct defendants in a truck accident case can be very complicated, partially because of the number of options and also because any trucking companies or brokers will have powerful attorneys on their side. This is why it is so important to work with a professional from the start.
Contacting a Lawyer
If you are the victim of a truck accident, reaching out to a qualified accident attorney is the single most important step you can take. As soon as you have been examined by a medical doctor following the accident and have filed a police report, the next step should be finding a lawyer to guide you through the healing and litigation process.
Have You Been Injured In A Truck Accident?
If you or a loved one was injured in a commercial truck accident you need to speak with an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Fairfax, Virginia personal injury law office at 703.277.2811 to schedule your free consultation. We help clients throughout Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia and look forward to helping you.