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Liability and trucking accidents

While some similarities exist between trucking and automobile accidents, such as the fact that both a trucker and another vehicle's occupants can suffer injuries or be killed, there are many differences as well. It's important to know that truckers are considered to be expert drivers and are thus held to higher standards.

Another difference is that, in the case of a trucking accident, a trucker is most likely operating a company truck as opposed to a personal vehicle. Depending on the nature of the accident, a trucking company may be held liable, in addition to the trucker, for injuries suffered in a trucking accident.

In filing a trucking accident claim, you first need to determine how the accident occurred, who is associated with the truck, cargo and trailer, and what insurance coverage is in place. Answers to these questions will help you ascertain whether you have a viable case, and the best way to go about representing the lawsuit.

Even though trucking related accidents only account for 3 percent of motor vehicle accidents that result in injury, those injuries tend to be greater in nature, due to the size and weight of those trucks. The number of trucking accidents has increased by 20 percent over the last twenty years.

Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations generally governs the trucking industry. Owners, drivers and companies must follow certain standards as outlined by those laws. It is those laws that usually determine the responsible parties in trucking-related accidents.

Depending on the nature of the accident, a variety of parties can be liable for the accident including the trucker, leasor of the truck or trailer, owner of the trailer, truck, or cargo or combination thereof. The vehicle manufacturer, manufacturer of the tires or the manufacturer of certain parts of the truck may also be held liable.

Current federal laws mandate that any company possessing the permit associated with the truck involved in an accident is responsible for resulting damages. This is the case regardless of who owns the truck or whether the driver is an independent contractor or employee.

Given the atypical nature of truck accidents, it goes unsaid that the litigation process is quite complicated when it comes to these type cases. Thus, the advice and counsel of an experienced Kentucky personal injury attorney may prove to be a valuable asset to decipher the complex nature of these type cases.

Source: NOLO, "Trucking accidents: common causes & liability," Thomas Fazioli, accessed Jan. 26, 2017

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