Who is Liable?

A tractor trailer truck on its side after a New Jersey truck accident prompts attorneys to determine who is liable.

When an accident with a commercial truck causes serious injuries, one of the first questions that must be answered is who is liable for the damage. Unlike an accident that only involves passenger cars, there are often multiple parties in a trucking accident claim, and determining who should be held responsible can be complicated.

Since 1981 the tractor trailer accident lawyers and staff of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., have dedicated their legal careers to helping people who were injured as a result of the carelessness of others. Call our New Jersey and New York truck accident attorneys today at 1-800-LAW-2000 or use our online form to receive a free initial consultation.

Truck Driver and Truck Company Liability

Just like any other accident case, a trucking accident case must establish that someone or some company was negligent, and that the injuries of the person filing the claim are a direct result of that negligence. Specifically, an accident victim must show that:

  • The truck driver, trucking company or another party owed the victim a duty to operate safely. (Also known as “reasonable care” this is the same duty all drivers owe to everyone else on the road).
  • The truck driver, trucking company or other party failed to meet that duty.
  • That failure caused the victim’s injuries.

While it may seem simple to prove negligence in a case in which a large truck has crashed into your car, proving which person or company is ultimately to blame may be more difficult. An experienced New Jersey truck accident attorney will review information about all parties involved, because there may be more than one person or entity that shares the responsibility. If that is the case, you may be able to file claims against multiple parties – and it may be necessary in order to recover the compensation you need to help pay for medical care and other costs associated with your injuries. Potential parties that may be held responsible in a trucking accident include:

  • The truck driver;
  • The trucking company;
  • Freight shippers;
  • Trailer owners;
  • Truck parts manufacturers;
  • Contractors;
  • Insurance companies.

If your accident was the fault of the truck driver, then the trucking company that employed the driver may also be liable. A legal theory known as “respondeat superior” holds an employer responsible for damage caused by the employee while on the job. When the driver is an employee of a trucking company this can be simple to establish, but some truck drivers are independent contractors – and thus not true employees. In these cases, establishing the level of supervision or management in the relationship between independent contractor and trucking company is key to the success of an accident claim against the trucking company.

In certain cases the manufacturer of materials that were being transported by the truck may be held responsible. This is not as common, but occasionally comes into play when hazardous cargo is involved – particularly if the shipper failed to notify the trucking company or driver of the dangerous nature and that cargo contributed to the accident or injuries. For instance, if the shipper did not notify the trucking company that the material in the cargo load was flammable, and the truck crashed and caused a serious fire, the shipper might be liable. More than 100 large trucks carrying hazardous materials were involved in fatal accidents in the United States in 2009, according to federal data. One-third of those spilled hazardous materials from the cargo compartment. Because of the potential for catastrophic damage, trucks carrying hazardous materials are required to carry $5 million in liability insurance coverage.

The tractor trailer accident attorneys of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., have three decades of experience in representing persons who have been injured or killed in trucking collisions throughout the State of New Jersey. We know the importance of gathering and evaluating all of the available evidence after a trucking accident to ensure documentation isn’t destroyed.

The trucking company’s insurance investigators and their pre-retained lawyers will often arrive at an accident scene as quickly as the police and emergency personnel, collecting evidence to help their case against any injury claim. An experienced truck accident lawyer from the New Jersey office Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., can deal directly with the insurance carrier to ensure that your rights are protected. We consult with crash reconstruction experts and medical personnel to build an effective and accurate picture of what went wrong and why. Our experience in presenting trucking accident cases has helped recover damages for our clients that help pay for medical care and rebuild their lives – and those of their families.

Experienced New Jersey Truck Accident Assistance

The truck accident lawyers at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., have been helping people who have been injured in New Jersey accidents since 1981. We have handled thousands of accident injury claims, obtaining excellent results for our clients in many instances. Each case and the results vary, so we invite you to contact an accident lawyer at our New Jersey or New York offices to discuss the specifics of your situation. If we take your case, you can be assured we will use all the resources of our law firm to develop a strong argument for money damages and other compensation for you.

To speak with a personal injury lawyer with many years of experience, contact our New Jersey or New York offices at 1-800-LAW-2000. We do not charge attorney’s fees unless we are successful in your case and our initial consultations are free.

No Fee if No Recovery – Home and Hospital Consultations Available

New Jersey personal injury lawyers helping car accident victims and their families since 1981 in Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, Edison, Toms River, Trenton, Clifton, Camden, Brick Township, Woodbridge Township, Bergen Co., Middlesex Co., Somerset Co., Warren Co., Sussex Co., Monmouth Co., Mercer Co., Ocean Co., Hudson Co., Passaic Co., Essex Co., Union Co., Morris Co., Teaneck, Fort Lee, Paramus, Hackensack, Hoboken, Secaucus, Englewood, Mahwah, Bergenfield, Union City, North Bergen, Ridgewood, Bayonne, Ridgefield, Belleville, Alpine, New Milford and Atlantic City. Also in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Kings County, Richmond County and New York City, in New York.