Often, the cause of an accident involving an 18-wheeler will be traced to the driver attempting to make a U-turn improperly, thereby endangering the other people using the road. In most car collision cases, the parties involved are limited to the two drivers and on some occasions, an employer. The parties involved are usually crystal clear and straight-forward, and the process of claiming for compensation will usually be governed by the laws of agency and other applicable legal principles of damage and liability.
On the other hand, when it comes to accidents in which 18-wheelers are involved, things become much more convoluted. There is an exponential increase in the number of parties and the relationships between them will be much more difficult to understand. In the unfortunate event that you are involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, you should immediately contact a New York, NY 18-wheeler accident attorney who is well versed in the trucking regulations, knows all the potential parties and also has a good history of making successful claims on behalf of clients.
18 Wheeler Drivers And Their Employers
The driver of an 18-wheeler may be employed as an employee of a trucking company, but he may also be an owner/operator who is leased on to a motor carrier company for a specific trip or for a duration of time. This contract could either be direct or through a third-party broker whose business it is to find drivers for a particular project or contract. The responsibilities and liabilities will vary from case to case depending on the whether the driver is:
• Driving under dispatch with a loaded trailer
• Deadheading (driving with an empty trailer)
• Bob-tailing without a trailer
One issue that often comes up is that of statutory employer, and the issue of course and scope of employment can make matters much more complicated, making it an absolute essential for your Wichita Falls 18-wheeler accident attorney to be one with extensive experience dealing with the trucking industry.
Owner Of The 18 Wheeler Truck
When it comes to 18-wheeler accidents, other areas that could produce more issues are the parties and responsibilities that have to do with equipment. Under the FMCSRs, a tractor and a trailer are two distinct commercial motor vehicles. In some states, the mere ownership of a commercial motor vehicle may subject a person to some extent of liability. In other states, if a tractor bears the logo of a motor common carrier, the motor common carrier may be held liable in accordance with a principle known as ‘logo liability.’
In addition to those relationships, there may also be leases and subleases involving the equipment – the tractor, the trailer or both. Understanding the various parties involved in all those transactions and the responsibilities that have been formed between them will be essential in determining which party or parties should have conducted the requisite maintenance and inspection of the commercial motor vehicle and the liability that would occur as a result of failure to discharge that responsibility properly.
Parties Related to Truck’s Cargo
Beyond the drivers, motor carriers and equipment owners or lessees, there are quite a number of other parties that may be involved in the truck’s operation, and who may therefore share liability for accidents, including:
– Freight forwarders
Depending on the particular circumstances of each accident, any one of these parties may be the one with the liability for the occurrence. They each have specific duties and liabilities under certain circumstances. One of the central issues that can determine on whom the liability rests is whether or not the load is sealed as that plays a very important role in determining who is responsible for the securement of the load.
Third Parties related to an 18-wheeler’s safety
Finally, there are a number of external players that can become parties in an 18-wheeler accident case. They include:
• Third-party maintenance and repair companies
• Third-party safety compliance companies
• Insurance companies
Even though most of the responsibilities that are prescribed under the trucking safety regulations are not delegable, these parties could acquire liability depending on the circumstances of the case.
It must now be obvious that it is very important to hire a New York, NY 18-wheeler accident attorney who is very knowledgeable about the ins and outs of 18-wheeler accidents, as well as having vast experience and a track record of getting favorable settlements on behalf of clients.