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Commercial trucking is one of the most vital industries in the United States, bringing goods from warehouses and distribution centers to every corner of the country.

Unfortunately, commercial trucks can also be a danger to other drivers. Due to their immense size and weight, trucks often cause severe injuries or death to other drivers when they are involved in collisions. In Indiana, there are 152.2 injuries or fatalities per every 1,000 occupants involved in a crash with a large truck, illustrating the risk these vehicles can pose on the roadway.

If you are involved in an accident with a big truck, proving fault will be a major component of your case. Hiring an experienced Indiana vehicle accident attorney from Wagner Reese can help you increase your odds of receiving fair compensation.

Who is Potentially Responsible in a Trucking Accident?

If you are involved in an accident with a truck, one of the first things your lawyer will do is determine who was at fault for your accident. Here are some parties that may be at fault for your trucking accident:

  • The Truck Driver

In many cases, the truck driver may be at fault for your accident and injuries. Every motorist is responsible for a reasonable duty of care, which means they must take all reasonable measures to avoid an accident, but commercial drivers have an even greater duty of care than other drivers.

If the truck driver fails to provide this duty of care, they may be liable for the accident. This failure can take many forms, such as driving at an unsafe speed, driving under the influence, or failing to heed the rules of the road.

  • The Trucking Company

In some circumstances, the trucking company may be liable for your accident. For example, if the trucking company fails to properly maintain the truck and an accident is caused by part failure, such as a tire blowout or brake failure, the company may be held liable.

If a driver is known for unsafe driving (for example, if they have several prior accidents on their record) and the company continues to employ them as a driver, the trucking company may be liable for their retention of the driver.

  • The Maintenance Company or Manufacturer

If a truck was maintained by a third-party such as a mechanic, the mechanic may be liable for damages if their maintenance was improper and led to the accident. For example, if a mechanic servicing the steering mechanisms of a truck inadvertently makes the system unsafe for use, the mechanic may be at fault for any injuries if their negligent repairs led to the collision.

The manufacturer of the truck parts may also be at-fault. A malfunctioning truck part can cause damage to the truck, such as a brake failure or a tire blowout. This can directly impact the outcome of the accident and contribute to your injuries, making them liable for damages.

  • The Cargo Loaders

Under some circumstances, the cargo loaders at the shipping company that contracted the truck to carry their freight can be responsible for a wreck, particularly if the freight was loaded unsafely. For example, if a truck is involved in an accident because it tipped over due to an unbalanced load, the shipping company may be liable for the damages.

  • A Third-Party Driver

In rare cases, the driver who caused the accident may not have been involved in the truck accident itself. For example, if another driver unsafely changed lanes in front of a truck and the truck hit you as they attempted to avoid the first driver, that driver may be responsible, even if they weren’t in the collision themselves.

These cases can be challenging to prove, but having an experienced vehicle accident attorney at your side can help you hold the correct party responsible.

How Fault is Proven

Proving fault in a vehicle accident case can be complicated due to the extensive number of variables at play. To win your case, you must prove that the truck driver (or another party, if applicable) behaved negligently and that this negligence caused your losses.

To do this, your lawyer must prove that a reasonable driver would have behaved differently under the circumstances that led to the accident. In some cases, this is relatively straightforward: for example, a “reasonable” driver doesn’t speed or change lanes without signaling, and maintains their vehicle according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule.

Your lawyer may use photographic evidence of the vehicles or the roadway to prove negligence, such as photos of skid marks and the location of the damage on the vehicles. In some cases, your attorney may recruit an expert witness to testify on your behalf.

Our Indianapolis Truck Accident Lawyers Can Protect Your Legal Rights

The vehicle accident attorneys at Wagner Reese have more than 150 years of combined expertise in handling truck accident cases. We have won our truck accident clients millions in damages and know how to fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

If you have been injured in an accident with a truck, call Wagner Reese to schedule a free initial consultation today.