Auto accidents involving a commercial truck are different than a standard car accident when it comes to pursuing legal action. Suing a trucking company requires a few extra investigative steps that may require an attorney’s legal experience in dealing with trucking accidents. Determining Fault The first course of action in any accident is determining fault. At the scene of the accident, the police officer assisting the situation generally assesses fault against the presumed responsible party. If possible, while waiting for the authorities to arrive, gather information such as the driver’s name, license plate number, and, if applicable, driver/truck number and employer name. The person the officer presumes at fault is not always the driver truly at fault, and if additional investigation proves necessary, this information will be invaluable. Who Do You File the Lawsuit Against? When dealing with commercial trucks you are usually dealing with two legal entities: the driver and the trucking company. This makes suing a trucking company different than your average automobile accident. You can sue both the driver and the driver’s employer, if the driver is an employee of a trucking company. If the driver is an independent contractor, he presumably has fewer assets with which to compensate you and you may need legal assistance help you determine the best course of action. Trucking companies are held responsible for the negligent driving of their employees, so determining all the companies and individuals involved with the truck is important. This is where the information you collected at the scene of the accident comes in handy. When suing a truck company, you might also sue the owner, the leaser of the truck, and the company who acquired the services of the trucking company to ship the goods. Additionally, it’s important to look at factors involving the truck itself to see if there is a claim against the trucks manufacturer or servicing company. Your attorney can help make sure all of the correct parties are held responsible. Seeking Compensation Your lawyer may determine if it is best to sue the trucking company alone and not the driver. Remember that when suing a truck company, you do so seeking compensation; either for your vehicle, an injury, lost time at work or a combination of all three. While bringing the driver to justice may seem desirable emotionally, doing so is not as profitable as suing a trucking company. If the trucker is an independent contractor and has no ties to a trucking company, it may only be possible to file suit against the driver. Alternatively, depending on the facts pertaining to the trucking company, the judge can toss out everything except the case against the driver, which can significantly reduce the dollar amount of your reparations. Only a legal advisor familiar with the process of suing a truck company in your particular jurisdiction can help you determine which course of action will benefit you most. For help with your case, no matter the scenario, contact Edwards & Kautz Law Firm for your free consultation or call 270-908-4914. Edwards & Kautz Law Firm is located in Paducah, Kentucky and serves most of Western Kentucky, Southern Illinois, Northwest Tennessee and Southeast Missouri.
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