Can I sue the truck driver and the trucking company after a wreck in Kentucky?

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Scott Powell - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Scott Powell

Located in Louisville, KYThe Powell Law Firm, PLLC

Louisville, KY
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Accidents can be confusing and there are a lot of problems coming at you quickly after a collision. One of the most important things you will have to decide is who you can sue to cover your losses and recover the money you need for medical bills. If you were hurt or someone died after being hit by a commercial truck, do not get overwhelmed.

For most accidents, it is obvious that you can sue the driver and their insurance company. When you are hurt after a commercial truck hits you, there are multiple options. Trucks can be leased by the driver. That driver could be working for a company or they might be under contract to another company. There are also the insurance companies. Road conditions might have been unsafe.

If you were hurt after being hit by a truck, it is important to act quickly. There are multiple parties that could be liable and involved. It could take time to explore the details and the evidence just to decide who can be held responsible. Hire a competent, experienced truck accident attorney.

Accountability After Truck-involved accident matters

You want to hold everyone whose negligence contributed to your accident accountable. There are many things that cause truck-related accidents.

Drivers may not have been qualified to be driving a large truck. They could have been distracted, fatigued or impaired. Maybe they were making reckless or aggressive moves or driving too fast. The truck might not meet safety standards. It could have a defective part, or it might have been loaded properly. There could have been unsafe road conditions or weather issues.

The consequences can be far worse if you are hit by a truck. Tractor-trailers can weigh 40 tons. That weight means it will take longer for the truck to stop. When there are mistakes, the stopping distance can increase and become a factor in accidents. When a truck that size hits a car, the driver of the other vehicle can be seriously hurt.

The statistics, complied by the Centers for Disease Control, are alarming. They include:

  • One in three long-haul truckers have been in a serious accident.
  • The number of large trucks registered to be on America’s roads and the number of miles those trucks travel is increasing. The number of accidents is increasing too.
  • There are almost 5,000 truck crash-related deaths annually.
  • Large trucks have caused the highest number of pedestrian deaths.
  • Three percent of truck drivers who are in fatal accidents exceed the legal blood alcohol content limits.

When a truck is involved in an accident, several factors could contribute. Determining the facts of a crash can help you determine who can be held accountable. Investigators often find that the driver was not fit to drive. There may have been violations of Department of Transportation licensing requirements that the company ignored. The truck might have been overloaded. The driver might have exceeded the number of hours he could legally drive.

Federal Regulations Must Be Met

Those federal regulations include:

  • Hours of service. The driver might have exceeded the number of hours that they were on the road. They must maintain an accurate record of their hours of service and rest.
  • Truck weight. There are limits to a truck’s weight. A fully loaded truck cannot exceed 80,000 pounds.
  • It must be properly secured.
  • Hazardous materials must be safe.
  • Trucks must be inspected regularly.
  • Department of Transportation physicals are required for all CDL drivers.
  • Truck drivers must be licensed and trained.
  • Insurance liability requirements must be met.
  • Trucks must have the appropriate equipment and it must be in working order.

Truck-related accidents are complex because of these federal regulations. An experienced attorney will examine these requirements and ensure they were all met. They will look for culpability. If the regulations were not followed, you could have a lawsuit against the driver.

Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers Provide Extra Details

You might have a case against the driver’s employer or the company that owns the truck or tractor-trailer. If there were hazardous road conditions that led to the accident, you might even be able to sue the government agency that was supposed to maintain the road.

These cases sometimes come down to what the driver should have seen. Did they see your car or the person who was changing a tire on the side of the road? These cases can be complicated. You need an experienced truck accident attorney working with you. They should have experts who can help you determine if all the regulations were met and who is responsible.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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