In the aftermath of a serious truck accident, one of the most important questions you may have is: Who can be held liable? Determining liability for a Virginia truck accident requires a detailed, in-depth investigation and legal review. To ensure you have a strong claim to compensation following a crash, turn to a trusted Virginia truck accident lawyer from Arrington Schelin.
Since 1976, our firm has vigorously pursued accountability and justice for truck accident victims throughout Virginia. We have an in-depth understanding of how trucking companies and insurance companies operate. Our attorneys have the skills and the resources to take on these powerful companies and demand justice for you.
Contact our firm today for a free case evaluation with a Virginia truck accident attorney. We do not charge any fees upfront to start investigating your case. In fact, there is no fee unless we recover payment for you.
Who Can Be Sued in a Trucking Accident?
Examples of who may be held liable for injuries suffered in a trucking accident include:
- The truck driver can be held liable for negligent or reckless operation of the commercial motor vehicle
- The trucking company may be subject to employer liability for the truck driver’s negligence or may be held directly liable for its own negligence
- The truck’s owner, if different from the truck driver or trucking company when deferred maintenance on the vehicle leads to a crash
- Loading companies may be held liable when an unsafe load on the truck or trailer causes a crash
- Freight brokers may be held responsible for a truck accident caused by the cargo that was being hauled
- Maintenance facilities may have liability for a truck accident caused by improper or negligently performed maintenance on a truck or trailer
- Truck/truck part manufacturers can be held liable when a design or manufacturing defect leads to a mechanical failure that causes an accident
Common Types of Truck Driver Negligence
Common examples of truck driver negligence that lead to accidents include:
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving, eating or drinking, reaching around the cab, or even daydreaming
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Drowsy or fatigued driving, often caused by driving past the legally mandated hours-of-service limitations
- Unsafe turns or lane changes, including failing to signal or check mirrors and blind spots
- Driving without training or experience with a certain type or size of truck
- Unfamiliarity with routes can lead drivers to get lost and make unsafe maneuvers to get back on route or end up on roads not safe for a commercial truck
- Failure to perform required vehicle inspections, which may lead to drivers not noticing unsafe conditions in their vehicle
- Failure to ensure a properly balanced and secured cargo load
Common Types of Trucking Company Negligence
A trucking company’s negligence may also lead to an accident. Common examples of trucking company negligence include:
- Failing to conduct a background check on a driver that would have indicated that a driver posed a risk of causing an accident
- Failing to provide proper operation and safety training
- Failing to properly supervise driver performance, including not conducting random drug testing or not reviewing the driver’s service logs and inspection records
- Recommending or ordering a driver to engage in unsafe behaviors like speeding or exceeding hours-of-service limitations, usually to ensure that cargo is delivered on time under strict schedules
- Not performing required vehicle inspections or deferring necessary or recommended vehicle maintenance
Proving Liability After a Truck Accident
To determine who should be held liable for a truck accident, the attorneys of Arrington Schelin will get to work investigating the crash right away. This may include visiting the accident scene to take photos, arranging for examinations of the truck and other vehicles involved in the accident, securing any camera footage of the accident, and interviewing witnesses.
Our firm takes the time to review all potentially relevant evidence from a truck accident to determine how the crash occurred and identify the party or parties that can be held at fault. Some of the evidence that we may use to prove liability for a truck accident includes:
- The truck driver’s logs, in which the driver records the hours they spend on duty and behind the wheel, to ensure their compliance with hours-of-service rules
- The truck driver’s toxicology report, as after crashes involving serious injury or death, the truck driver may be required to submit to a drug and alcohol screen
- The truck’s electronic data recorder, or “black box” logs, may record information about the truck’s performance, including its GPS position, speed, hours of operation, steering/acceleration/braking inputs, or footage from an in-cab camera
- The truck’s load manifest, which will show what cargo the truck was loaded with and whether it had an excessive, unbalanced, or unsecured load caused the driver to lose control
- Driver and trucking company vehicle inspection reports and maintenance reports, which may reveal if mechanical issues with the truck went unnoticed or if unrepaired
In many cases, our attorneys work closely with accident reconstruction experts to piece together all the evidence and show how the crash occurred. We prepare a solid case to clearly demonstrate liability and always enter settlement negotiations from a position of strength.
How Virginia Contributory Negligence Law Affects Your Case
Virginia remains one of the few states that still uses the traditional contributory negligence law. Virginia’s contributory negligence rule bars injury victims from pursuing a legal claim if they have any fault for the injuries they have sustained.
Virginia’s contributory negligence law can end your truck accident case before it even begins if evidence indicates you may have some share of fault for causing the wreck. For example, if you cut off a truck on the highway and then were rear-ended, the trucking companies and insurers may try to deny your claim on grounds that you should bear partial responsibility. If you take your truck accident claim to trial and a jury finds you partially at fault, you will not be able to recover any compensation.
If the truck driver and trucking companies are trying to pin some portion of fault on you, do not wait to get help from a seasoned personal injury lawyer. At Arrington Schelin, we have an in-depth understanding of how Virginia law will factor into your case, and we can help you understand your options.
Our Virginia Truck Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help
Pursuing a truck accident claim can quickly become a complex endeavor. Let the Virginia truck accident lawyers of Arrington Schelin take the stress of the legal process off your shoulders. We can handle all the work needed to prepare and pursue your case, including:
- Conducting a thorough, independent investigation of the accident to secure all available evidence
- Performing a close review of the evidence, including in conjunction with accident reconstruction and trucking industry experts, to determine what happened and who may have been responsible
- Documenting your expenses and losses to ensure you are pursuing full value for your claim
- Aggressively negotiating with insurance adjusters and defense attorneys to try to reach a settlement that provides you with fair and full financial recovery for your economic and personal losses
- Filing a lawsuit in your case and fighting for you at trial, if necessary, when we believe that litigation represents the best option for getting justice for you
If you have been injured in a truck crash, contact us online or call Arrington Schelin today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will walk you through all your options and help you understand what to expect in your truck accident claim.