Who is Responsible for Tractor Trailer Accidents?

by | Nov 2, 2015 | Truck Accidents | 0 comments

If you are involved in a tractor trailer accident and need to sort through the potential liabilities, Michigan accident attorney Chris Trainor might be able to help.

First, you must ask yourself, is the owner/employer of the tractor trailer legally responsible for the accident? After all, his vehicle was the first to hit another, and start the chain of events leading to three damages vehicles. This issue, typical of highway truck collisions, is far more complex than may first appear.

The analysis of liability must start with a full account of the accident, including full identification of the three drivers, statements from each of the drivers, and statements from any witnesses to the accident.

Here are the basic facts to be ascertained:

  • First, was the tractor trailer proceeding at reasonable speed considering the road conditions at the time the accident occurred? Speed estimates from each of the three drivers will be needed, along with the observations of any witnesses. If speed was excessive at the time of the collision, the driver who initiated the accident will probably be held liable. Note that this is probably a matter for expert opinion testimony.
  • Second, were there any extenuating circumstances which increased the risk of a truck collision? It is critical to note that in some situations, driving at any speed may be unsafe. Again, expert testimony may be critical on this issue.
  • Were one or more police reports filed? Copies of each of them should be obtained. It is important to interview the author of each such report.
  • Closely related and of great importance, were any citations issued in connection with the accident? What code violations were asserted in each citation? Did any citation claim that any driver was operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the date and time of the collision?
  • What insurance was in place on each vehicle, and what was the name of the insured?
  • Who was the legal owner of each vehicle? The legal owner of each truck may bear some responsibility for the mishap. For example, the owner may bear responsibility for defective or improper maintenance of its equipment. Liability may exist even if a third party driver was engaged to drive.
  • Evidence of reasonable steps taken by the legal owner to assure that its drivers were properly trained and licensed is often of great importance in the analysis of employer liability. If the owner lacks a record of driver safety training, this may be indicative of knowing negligent operation.

In sum, every accident raises its own unique issues; employer liability for each such situation will turn heavily on its facts. Get the help you need from a knowledgeable Michigan accident attorney in order to maximize your chances for success in a personal injury lawsuit. Call the law offices of Chris Trainor today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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