Determining liability after a truck accident

When a tractor-trailer barreling down a Maryland highway collides with a passenger vehicle, it’s likely that the occupants of the passenger vehicle will suffer greater injuries than the truck driver. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident involving a big-rig, you can file a personal injury claim against the parties responsible for your accident to recover compensation for any injuries and damages.

Will only the truck driver be held responsible?

In most cases, the truck driver will be the first party named in a truck accident lawsuit. Truck drivers, as well as other drivers on the road, have a duty to exercise reasonable care when operating their vehicles. A breach of this duty occurs when a truck driver drives at an excessive rate of speed, fails to stop at a red light, drives too many hours consecutively, or otherwise violates traffic laws or federal trucking regulations. If the truck driver’s breach of duty caused your accident-related injuries, the driver may be sued for negligence.

When an accident involves a commercial truck, the truck driver is often not the only party liable for your injuries. Trucking companies are often vicariously liable for the negligence of their driver, if the driver was acting within the course and scope of their employment when the accident occurred. The trucking company may also be sued for negligence resulting from inadequate supervision, hiring and training of their drivers, as well as failing to properly inspect and maintain their commercial trucks.

If the truck driver was an independent contractor, the larger company who hired them may be liable for the accident, depending on how much they supervise their contractors. If the truck was carrying hazardous or flammable materials, it is likely that the injuries suffered in the accident could be even more serious. In such cases, the manufacturer or shipper responsible for transporting the hazardous substances may also be liable for the accident.

In order to recover damages in court, it is important that you file your claim against the appropriate parties. A qualified attorney can help you determine who is liable for your injuries and ensure that your lawsuit includes all liable parties as defendants.