Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

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Responsibility Following a Truck Accident

Posted Friday, November 23, 2018 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextAccidents, whether major or minor, can be life changing and devastating. These effects are often only magnified when the accident involves a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, or tractor-trailer. Truck accidents need to be treated in a different way than an average car accident. Usually, a car accident is a mix of fault between the two parties or solely one party’s fault, but this is not always the case in truck driving accidents. Even in accidents where is seems like the car is to blame for causing the accident, the responsibility of the truck for the accident must be considered. Each truck accident must be specially investigated. When determining fault in a truck accident, there are two main parties that come to mind - the truck company and the truck driver. Both the driver and the trucking company can be found liable for the damages caused by the accident.

The Trucking Company

The trucking company is one of the first parties considered in determining who is liable for the damages of the accident. Most people think that the company is automatically responsible for the accident because of its relationship to the accident. For the most part, employers are held responsible for the accident when the acts of their employees are unintentional in nature and are also done within the scope of their employment. This means that a truck company could be liable for the damages caused by a driver if the driver did not intentionally cause an accident and was driving the truck under the terms of his or her employment with the company.

For example, there are strict federal requirements that outline the number of hours a driver is allowed to be on the road without sleep. Sometimes, however, truck companies are trying to meet deadlines or deliver as many goods as possible and might encourage their drivers to drive over the set limit of hours to make deliveries. Fatigued truck drivers often cause serious accidents, which would be the responsibility of the truck company.

On the other hand, studies have shown that 29% of accidents involving a semi-truck are caused by a failure within the vehicle. Oftentimes, these failures extend beyond the control of the driver, placing the blame on the company that owns the truck, maintains the truck, loads cargo onto the truck, or even manufactures the truck.

The Truck Driver

Sometimes the driver of the truck is responsible for a truck accident. In the above-mentioned study, it has been found that truck drivers cause up to 87% of the accidents in which they are involved. This percentage is a mixture of decision errors, driver recognition error, and performance errors. Whether the driver has made the decision to drive too fast, or has fallen asleep at the wheel, these are all errors that could make the driver at least partially liable for the damages caused by accident. Driver error could be considered driver negligence, causing his or her potential liability.

If you have been involved in an accident with a semi-truck in Kent, Renton, or Burien, the personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are here to help you. We know that recovering from an accident can be difficult. Our attorneys want to help you recover the compensation to which you are entitled. Contact us today for a consultation.

(image courtesy of Deva Darshan)