Semi-Truck Accidents: Who Do I Sue?

truck on an empty road

In 2019, semi-trucks were involved in 179,509 crashes. Because of their size and weight, semi-truck accidents are some of the most severe. Nearly 5,000 people were killed in trucking-related crashes in 2019 and thousands more were injured, some critically. Lives are lost and others are changed forever when someone is negligent while operating a 40-ton vehicle.

If you’ve been injured in a crash involving a semi-truck, or if a loved one has been incapacitated or killed, you may be able to sue for damages. Schuler Law Office has helped clients in Louisville, Kentucky and the surrounding areas get compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering. We help people overwhelmed by injury or death find a way to move on with their lives.

Assessing Liability

Liability or “fault” for an 18-wheeler accident can lie with more than one person or entity. You can sue the semi-truck driver, the trucking company, and anyone else whose negligence contributed to the crash.

The crash might be the fault of a driver who failed to inspect the semi-truck properly, logged excessive hours on the road, and was fatigued, or simply failed to pay attention.

The trucking company might be liable for inadequate driver training and supervision or for placing profit over safety. In most cases, the company’s insurer is who pays for the damages and losses of someone injured or killed in a semi-truck crash.

The manufacturer of the semi-truck or trailer, or of parts used on the vehicle, could have provided faulty parts, like defective brakes, or a compromised coupling mechanism, which led to the crash. Maintenance personnel who failed to inspect, repair, and maintain the vehicle could be held liable. Even the person who loaded cargo on the trailer could be at fault if they did so improperly and shifting cargo contributed to the crash.

There are other factors considered when determining liability for a crash, including potential negligence or comparative fault on the part of the driver of passenger vehicles involved, as well as road and weather conditions at the time of the crash.

Steps to Take

There are steps you can take to help your injury claim:

  • Call the police;
  • Seek medical treatment when first responders arrive;
  • Don’t admit fault and try to remain calm;
  • Exchange information with the truck driver and any other drivers involved in the crash;
  • Takedown names and contact information for any witnesses;
  • Take photos of the truck, vehicles, roadway, and debris;
  • Don’t post any photos or other information about the crash on social media;
  • If anyone representing any potentially liable party or their insurers calls you, do not speak to them. Tell them you are consulting an attorney; and,
  • Retain an attorney with experience in pursuing trucking-related personal injury claims.

If a loved one was incapacitated or killed in a trucking crash, talk to an attorney right away.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

If you’ve been injured in a crash involving a semi-truck or other commercial vehicle, or if a loved one has been incapacitated or killed, you shouldn’t pursue a claim on your own. You need an experienced truck accident attorney to tackle the complicated task of investigating the circumstances of the crash and proving who was liable for causing it. This might require a crash reconstruction specialist, interviews of witnesses, inspections of the semi-truck, trailer, and other vehicles involved, and investigation of any potentially liable party. The federal government requires the trucking industry to comply with highly specific and rigorous safety standards. You need an attorney who knows what those regulations are and how to determine if those standards were breached.

Trucking companies typically carry high limits on their liability insurance policies, which means there can be a lot of money at stake. It also means the insurer will have highly compensated attorneys on their side, so it’s important you have an attorney to negotiate with that insurer on your behalf.

Above all, you need someone with the best legal expertise and experience fighting for you to make sure everyone liable for your injuries or your loved one’s death is, indeed, held accountable.

Schuler Law Office has provided seasoned, aggressive legal representation for dozens of victims of trucking accidents and their families in Louisville, Kentucky, and throughout the state of Kentucky and southern Indiana, helping them recover compensation. Put our experience to work for you by calling our office. The consultation is free, so don’t wait. Call us today to get the legal counsel and support you deserve.