Due to trucks’ sheer weight and size nowadays, any accident that involves them usually has severe results. If you or your loved one was involved in a trucking accident, you might face financial debt, property damage, medical issues, and even funeral expenses.
The best way to recoup these expenses is through a truck accident lawyer. Read on to find out if you can sue someone personally after a truck accident.
Can I Sue Someone Personally After a Truck Accident?
Yes, you can sue someone personally for a truck accident. However, you need to prove that they had a duty of care and breached that duty. You will also need to prove that the other parties contributed to causing the accident and prove that you have incurred damages from the accident, whether financial, physical, or mental.
Who Can You Sue?
In the case of truck accidents, there needs to be a certain amount of investigation to determine who is liable for the accident. The scene needs to be adequately investigated, all witnesses need to be interviewed, the truck driver’s logbook and black box need to be examined, and the police report must be reviewed to get the most precise picture of how the events unfolded.
Unlike regular car accidents where either driver is at fault, there can be multiple people at fault for the accident:
The Truck Driver
The most obvious candidate for who is liable would be the truck driver. They may have been driving illegally during the accident by speeding or driving while intoxicated or texting while driving.
The Trucking Company
The trucking company may be held liable as well. They may have overloaded the cargo or been improperly balanced, which may have caused the truck to tip over. If these are the cause of the accident, the company could be found at fault.
The Truck Manufacturer
The accident could have resulted from a flaw in the truck’s mechanics. Unlike cars, these vehicles have to follow a different set of regulations, and if the company fails to follow them, it may be found at fault.
Local or State Governments
You can also hold local or state governments liable for the accident, especially if poor or improper road conditions may have led to the accident. The road design may have been defective, the road may not have been adequately maintained, or there may have been missing traffic signs. These factors could lead to the government agency being held liable.
What Determines Whether You Can Sue Someone?
The main thing that determines whether or not you sue someone is the insurance laws in your state. Many states have no-fault insurance coverage, where the insurance company will cover all injury and damage to the property regardless of who is at fault for the accident. However, if your damages exceed their coverage limit, you may be able to seek compensation directly from the driver.
In other states, the insurance companies will determine who is at fault for paying for the damage. This will allow you to seek compensation from the at-fault party for the truck accident, especially if they are not covered by insurance enough to pay for the damages.
What Could Have Caused the Truck Accident?
To sue someone for a truck accident, you must first prove that their negligence or other factors that may have caused the accident were in play.
The causes that lead to most truck accidents are as follows:
If the driver was travelling over the legal speed limit, this could have contributed to the accident as high speeds can decrease reaction times significantly.
Driving Under the Influence
If the truck driver was driving while intoxicated when the accident took place, you have legal grounds to sue them.
The truck driver may have been distracted at the time of the accident. They may have been texting or just looking away at an inopportune moment. If this is the case, then you can pursue compensation.
The truck driver may have made an error that would lead to the accident. Inexperience and poor decision-making can contribute to mistakes.
If the driver fails to maintain a safe distance from you when driving behind you, this could have led to the accident.
Failure to obey traffic signals
Traffic lights are meant to create a safe driving environment for everyone on the road. If the truck driver failed to obey traffic lights, which led to the accident, you could seek compensation.
What Kind of Compensation Can you be Awarded?
The compensation you receive depends on the severity of your injuries, damage to your property, or your claim’s strength.
Compensation will cover hospital stays, rehabilitation, doctors’ fees, and other related expenses. You will also be compensated for any loss of income due to you being unable to work, including future losses.
Unfortunately, if you have lost a loved one in the accident, funeral expenses will also be covered. These are known as economic damages and are easy to calculate.
Also Read: Pain and Suffering Compensation Claims
On the other hand, there is also non-economic compensation for injuries that have deteriorated your quality of life. Pain and suffering, which is the emotional and physical trauma you have faced due to the accident or the loss of consortium, are all included in non-economic damages. These are a little difficult to calculate due to their intangible nature. It is up to the court to decide the amount.
In very rare cases, you may be awarded punitive damages, but only if there is evidence of egregious negligence on the truck driver’s part. However, it isn’t easy to prove such claims.
To successfully sue someone for compensation following an accident you were involved in, you will first need to prove that there was negligence engaged by the parties involved. First, make an insurance claim against the at-fault party, and then you will require the help of expert truck accident lawyers to properly help you navigate the complexities that may be present in your case.