Large commercial trucks, which are often called big rigs, semi-trucks, tankers, and 18-wheelers, are massively heavy and powerful vehicles that cause an extraordinary amount of damage in a collision with a passenger vehicle. The consequences for the occupants in the smaller vehicle are often devastating injuries or fatalities.
There are many elements required to prove who’s liable in a truck accident. So if you or a loved one is struggling in the aftermath, contact a skilled Kansas City truck accident attorney who can help you explore all your legal options for rightful compensation. Federal and state laws regulating trucking safety and traffic control can be complex to navigate, which is why you want to ensure you have an experienced legal team on your side.
Who Can Be Sued for a Truck Accident in Missouri?
There are many different parties who may be held accountable for the crash. It’s important to also note that more than one party may ultimately be responsible: multiple parties could have acted negligently and contributed to the circumstances resulting in an accident. Here are some possibilities.
A Truck Owner
They’re responsible for ensuring the rig is fully maintained. For example, failure to ensure a truck’s brakes or tires are sound and replace them as needed could lead to an accident, which puts both the truck operator and the other motorists on the road in significant danger.
A Truck Driver
All operators must follow the rules of the road, just like any other driver. If they break a traffic law—such as failing to stop at a red light or speeding—and cause an accident, they could be held responsible for an accident. Any negligent actions they engage in, such as texting while driving or using drugs or alcohol, will also result in their culpability.
Trucks carry a lot of weight when fully loaded. If overloaded or unevenly loaded, the vehicle is harder to handle—perhaps it pulls to one side or is harder to stop. There are maximum weight limits that trucks must adhere to. Employees responsible for loading must follow these requirements, and if they don’t, and an accident is the result, they might be found liable.
The Truck Manufacturer
If the big rig was designed improperly or has a known defect that commonly causes accidents, there could be a potential claim against the manufacturer.
A Truck Maintenance Company
An attorney might be able to prove maintenance negligence by reviewing records and asking detailed questions during the discovery process.
The Fleet Company
If the semi involved in the crash is part of a larger fleet or company, certain issues might make it liable for the accident. For example, there might be demand from a client to deliver cargo in an unreasonably short amount of time. This deadline may force a driver to be behind the wheel longer than allowed by law. Tired operators are more likely to be involved in accidents. An attorney can help document this negligent practice to prove the trucking company’s negligence.
The trucking industry is strictly regulated by both the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and state laws, which are designed to keep the public safe and minimize accidents on U.S. roadways. Unfortunately, accidents involving big rigs have increased dramatically over the past few years. If you or someone you love suffered such a tragedy, you deserve dedicated legal assistance that can help you recover physically, emotionally, and financially.