Possible Liability for Large Truck Accidents
If you have been injured in a trucking accident, you may not know who or what entity is responsible for your injuries. The trucking industry is regulated by federal and state law and has many different players.
In many cases, liability for injuries sustained in a trucking accident may be shared by more than one party. It may be necessary to name a number of responsible parties in your claim so that you can obtain the full compensation you deserve for your injuries, potentially including:
- The truck driver: If the accident was the truck driver’s fault, he or she may be the proper party to hold liable. You must determine if he or she is an employee of the trucking company or an independent contractor. Doing so may provide additional avenues of compensation depending on the circumstances of the case.
- The trucking company: The truck company might also share in the liability for your injuries under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior—especially if one or more of its policies or actions caused the accident. For example, perhaps a truck company did not properly take care of its fleet and the poor condition of the truck caused or contributed to the accident.
- The cargo company: In some cases, the driver is not the one who loaded the trailer or bed of the truck. If the cargo was improperly loaded, overloaded, or not secured properly, the cargo company may be included in a lawsuit.
- The truck manufacturer or parts company: If there is a mechanical defect in the truck on in any of its components—such the brakes or tires—and the defect caused or contributed to the accident, a manufacturer could be liable.
In addition, all of these parties likely have insurers, who will be active participants in the lawsuit.The Clock is Ticking
All truck accident claims brought in California are subject to a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations puts a deadline on when the case must be filed in court. Missing the deadline means that a court will not hear your case, and the person or business that caused your accident will not be held responsible. For most truck accidents, California law states that you must bring your lawsuit within two years of the accident. However, a shorter deadline may apply if someone died in the accident. A longer deadline may apply if the accident only resulted in property damage and no personal injury.
In the context of truck accidents where there could be multiple parties liable for your accident, all parties must be sued in court within the statute of limitations. For example, if you bring a suit against the driver and litigation proceeds in normal fashion, but a judge or jury determines that the cause of the accident was actually the brake manufacturer, you may not be able to go back and sue the manufacturer because the deadline to file may have already passed. This is why it is critical that you seek counsel from a lawyer who understands truck accidents and who knows the proper parties to bring into the lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires.We Can Help
If you have been in a big rig accident in Monterey County or anywhere else in California, contact an experienced Monterey County personal injury attorney. Call (408) 298-7200 for a free consultation with the skilled team at Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. today.