People injured in trucking accidents may hold various parties liable for their injuries – from the truck operators to the vehicle and parts manufacturers. The Illinois Department of Transportation reported 11,741 tractor-trailer crashes occurred across the state in 2019. Such wrecks commonly cause substantial property damage, as well as serious injuries or death for those involved.
Trucking Accident Causes and Liability
A range of factors may contribute to causing large truck collisions, and thus, may affect liability for the resulting damages. Some of the most common causes of trucking accidents include the following:
- Driver fatigue
- Alcohol or drug use
- Improper training
- Inadequate vehicle maintenance
- Incorrect cargo loading
Issues relating to vehicle or parts defects may also play a role in causing trucking crashes. For example, this may include problems such as brake malfunctions.
Assessing Financial Responsibility to At-Fault Truckers
If the causes of trucking collisions result from the negligent actions of truck drivers, those injured may hold them financially responsible for their associated losses. To this end, people injured in commercial vehicle-car crashes may file claims with the drivers’ insurance carriers or file a personal injury lawsuit against them.
Tractor-trailer crash lawsuits fall subject to the state’s comparative fault statute. Therefore, injury victims may collect a percentage of the damages they suffered proportionally to the fault of the trucker who caused the crash. For instance, if the court finds the trucker 85% responsible for the wreck and the other driver 15% responsible, the other driver may collect compensation for 85% of the damages he or she suffered due to the accident.
Holding the Trucking Company Liable
People injured in commercial truck-car crashes may also hold the trucking companies who employ or contracted the truck operators financially responsible for their losses. Trucking companies may bear liability in cases where the causes resulted from negligence on their part, as well as in cases where they contracted with truckers that they knew posed a risk to other motorists.
Pursuing Action for Vehicle or Part Defects
If a vehicle or parts defects affect truckers’ control of their vehicles and thus, contribute to causing accidents, those injured may pursue legal action against the manufacturers. To recover damages in such claims, they must show their injuries resulted from a vehicle or part defect, that the defect carried unreasonable danger, and that the defect existed when the vehicle or part was in possession of the manufacturer.