In a Virginia truck accident, the person at fault is typically determined using the same methods used in collisions between two passenger cars. The difference with an accident involving a commercial truck and a regular passenger vehicle often hinges on who is liable for the truck accident. Liability for the accident is an important question because the consequences of a truck accident are often incredibly costly and can affect the victim for the rest of their lives.
Many people assume they will never be in a truck accident. However, they are more common than you might think. Approximately 159,000 injuries were sustained in crashes involving large trucks in 2019, causing 5,005 fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Additionally, the occupants of the other vehicles involved in the crash made up 71% of the fatalities. Thus, it is crucial to understand what parties may be liable for the truck accident.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a Virginia truck accident, contact a member of our team at The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, PLLC.
Who Is at Fault for a Trucking Accident in Virginia?
Who is at fault for a trucking accident? Proving liability in a truck accident typically relies on demonstrating that another party’s negligence resulted in your injuries. The injured party filing the lawsuit, referred to as the plaintiff, bears the burden of proving negligence. Negligence is made up of four elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. A defense attorney can help you determine whose negligence caused your truck accident.
Identifying Liable Parties in a Truck Accident in Virginia
As stated above, the person liable for truck accident losses can depend on many factors. Many people automatically assume the truck driver is responsible for causing an accident. Yet, various parties can share liability depending on what caused the collision. For example, if a defective tire causes a truck accident, the tire manufacturer may be responsible for losses caused by the accident. If an accident was caused by improper maintenance of the truck, like lack of tread on the tires, liability could fall on the company that owns the truck and is responsible for maintaining it.
If a truck part has a defect that causes the collision, the manufacturer may be liable for any injuries suffered in an accident caused by a defect. Defects can occur in the form of a manufacturing defect, a design defect, or failing to provide adequate warnings to consumers.
A design defect occurs when a product is produced according to a particular design, but the design poses a foreseeable risk to consumers when they use it as intended. For example, if a truck tire ruptures when it reaches speeds above 65 mph, this might indicate a design defect with the tire.
Manufacturing defects occur during the creation or development of the part and typically affect one or more units but not the entire line of products. In the case of a tire, there might have been something wrong with the production line on a particular day, resulting in one or more faulty tires.
Additionally, a part manufacturer may be liable for your injuries if a part is mislabeled or is missing essential instructions about how to use the product safely. For example, if a tire label incorrectly states its air capacity and the tire is overfilled, causing a blowout and subsequent accident, the manufacturer may face liability for any injuries that occur due to inaccurate information on the tire.
Unlike many passenger vehicles, commercial trucks are often owned by a company that hires truck drivers to transport items across the country. Thus, companies typically hire mechanics to maintain their trucks and trailers. Any issues stemming from a lack of proper maintenance could fall on the trucking company. For example, proper tire maintenance can prevent accidents caused by tire blowouts. The trucking company can also face vicarious liability if the truck driver caused the accident during their employment.
The person people automatically assume is liable in an accident is the driver of the at-fault vehicle. Drivers must abide by basic traffic laws and follow the rules imposed by their employers. If a driver’s negligence is a direct cause of the crash, they may be personally liable for losses stemming from the accident.
What Happens If I Was Partially at Fault?
Virginia law follows a contributory negligence rule for recovery in personal injury lawsuits.
Contributory negligence means that if a person is found to be even 1% to blame for the truck accident that caused their injuries, they are barred from recovering any damages in a truck accident claim. For example, if a truck accident occurs when a large truck rear-ends a passenger vehicle on the highway after it changes lanes but the passenger vehicle did not use its blinker before changing lanes, the driver of the passenger vehicle may be partially to blame for the accident. In this scenario, the driver may be barred from recovering any damages. <a “rel=nofollow”href=”https://www.carltonbennettlaw.com/contact/”>Contact a truck accident attorney at The Law Office of Carlton F. Bennett to discuss who was at fault in your truck accident.
How Is Fault Determined in Virginia Truck Accidents? Contact The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett Today to Find Out
The numerous parties who can share responsibility for a truck accident can make a personal injury claim especially tricky. Luckily, a qualified personal injury attorney is here to help. A member of our team can help you by:
- Talking to insurance representatives on your behalf,
- Negotiating potential settlements with opposing parties and their legal counsel,
- Gathering and analyzing evidence to help support your claims,
- Locating witnesses to testify on your behalf, and
- Creating a strategy to present in the event of a trial.
With more than 45 years of experience representing injured truck accident victims, we are confident in our ability to defend your rights aggressively. We will take the time to meet with you one-on-one and discuss the finer points of your accident. Your attorney will prepare a personalized strategy to demonstrate who is liable for the injuries you suffered in the accident.
Contact The Law Office of Carlton F. Bennett today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team.