Trucking accidents can be quite devastating. These large commercial vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 lbs when carrying heavy cargo. Unfortunately, passenger vehicle occupants are the ones who are most often injured and even killed in these types of accidents due to the smaller size of passenger cars in comparison to large semi-trucks.
Injured victims and loved ones can experience heavy financial burdens from medical bills, loss of wages, and other damages following a truck accident. In many cases, determining the liable party responsible for paying damages isn’t that complicated. However, it can be more challenging to determine the guilty party and hold them accountable when the accident involves a commercial vehicle accident due to a runaway trailer.
When it comes to liability in a truck-related accident and proving fault, it depends on the specifics of the accident and how exactly it occurred. While the trucking company can certainly be held accountable, they may not be entirely to blame and could share fault with another party. In some cases, another party may hold all of the liability.
Due to the complexity of these types of cases, it is often necessary for the victims or their loved ones to work with an experienced personal injury attorney. A lawyer who has experience with cases related to truck accidents will understand how to determine fault and hold the guilty party, such as the trucking company, accountable to get victims the compensation they deserve.
In runaway trailer accidents, the driver may lose control of the entire truck, including the cab and the trailer, or the trailer may detach from the cab and crash on its own. In areas with steep hills and downgrades, there are often runaway truck ramps built into the side of the highway to keep trucks from running into other vehicles. However, it is not always possible for truck drivers to maneuver the truck into the runaway ramp lane before causing damage, and in some cases, there may not be a runaway ramp at all for them to steer towards.
When a runaway trailer accident occurs, there are various reasons why the cab and trailer may crash or why the trailer may detach and crash on its own. Some of these reasons include:
- A faulty braking system
- A mechanical defect
- An overloaded trailer
- Lack of truck maintenance
- A faulty hitch
- Steep downgrades
- Reckless driving
- Slippery roads
- A tire blowout
- Poorly secured cargo
- Improper trailer attachment
It is the responsibility of the driver to operate the truck responsibly and ensure that the cargo and the trailer are safely secured. If the driver operates the truck recklessly and negligently or fails to properly secure the trailer or the cargo, they can be held liable for the runaway trailer accident.
However, the trucking company is responsible for ensuring their drivers operate the trucks with care. So they can also be held partially liable if they hired a driver they knew tended towards reckless behavior and carelessness. Additionally, it is the truck company’s responsibility to ensure their trucks are properly maintained. If the accident occurs due to a maintenance issue or a mechanical failure, it could be traced back to the trucking company.
In some situations, the liability may even be shared by other third parties, such as:
- The shipping company or cargo loaders: If the shipper or the company that helped the driver load the cargo contributed in some way to the cargo being poorly secured, they could be held liable in part for the runaway trailer accident.
- The manufacturer: If the trailer detached and resulted in an accident due to a faulty part or system in the truck, liability could be traced back to the manufacturer who designed the part or system that malfunctioned.
- The mechanic: In some cases, runaway trailers could occur due to poor maintenance. The mechanic or repair shop that worked on the truck can be held partially responsible in these situations.
If you are going to pursue damages from the trucking company after a runaway trailer accident, you will need to gather specific evidence to show that they are responsible. Proving that the trucking company was at fault requires showing that someone at the company was aware of potential safety issues—such as a careless driver, an overloaded trailer, maintenance issues, faulty brakes, etc.—and did not take appropriate action.
Proving this type of carelessness and inaction can require the involvement of experts and an investigation to analyze the situation thoroughly. Trucking companies also take precautions in situations like this by hiring their own team of specialists and attorneys to protect them in case of a lawsuit.
So if you’re going to take action against the trucking company, you will need your own experienced attorney to help build your case. This can take time and involves a lot of tedious tasks and paperwork, but a lawyer who has experience handling these types of cases will know what needs to be done to hold all guilty parties accountable and get you the compensation you deserve.
If you have been injured in a runaway trailer accident, our team of legal experts can help you build a strong case against all responsible parties to ensure you are protected and adequately compensated. We understand how complex trucking accident cases can be and are dedicated to helping victims and their families seek justice.
Recognized as one of Central Kentucky’s best law firms for over a decade, McCoy & Sparks works to help people in trouble, representing thousands of clients in Central Kentucky with a focus on providing premium service and delivering superior results.
Regardless of the type of case, our goal is to develop a strategy that best serves your personal needs, then draw upon our courtroom skills to help you reach the best possible result. We start by getting to know you. Next, we will explain all of your options, giving you the pros and cons of each choice so that you will be empowered to make informed decisions.
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