Truck accidents are devastating, and they often result in severe and life-threatening injuries. In 2019 alone, more than 4,000 people were killed in a truck crash, and smaller motor vehicle occupants accounted for 67 percent of those fatalities, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Since large trucks weigh so much more than passenger vehicles—often twenty to thirty times as much—collisions frequently cause serious damage and pose very serious risks of harm to those passenger vehicle occupants. Trucking accidents involving collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists also account for a high percentage of all truck accident deaths, and these figures do not account for the tens of thousands of nonfatal injuries that occur every year.
Whether you were injured in a collision with a large truck or you lost a loved one in a trucking accident, it can be difficult to know who is liable and whether or not you are eligible to file a lawsuit against an at-fault party. Our Virginia trucking accident attorneys can help.
Understanding Liability in a Virginia Truck Accident
In order to determine who is liable for a trucking crash—and who you may be able to sue—it is critical to learn more about liability in a Virginia truck accident. Many different parties may be at fault, and in numerous trucking accident cases, it is possible to file a lawsuit against more than one party. While truck driver negligence (driver error more generally) is often a major factor in truck crash claims, injury victims may be able to receive more compensation if they file a lawsuit against a responsible party with deeper pockets. In other words, suing a truck driver who does not have any assets may not result in the plaintiff ultimately receiving the compensation she deserves, even if the court finds in the plaintiff’s favor.
In such situations, if a party with more significant assets is wholly or partially responsible for the collision, such as the owner of the truck or the business that employs the truck driver, the injured plaintiff may be able to negotiate a fair settlement or to receive timely compensation after a court verdict.
Determining Who May Be At Fault
One or more parties may be liable for injuries in a truck accident, including but not limited to the following:
- Truck driver: Driver error is a leading cause of trucking crashes, such as drowsy driving, drunk driving, distracted driving, or aggressive driving
- Car driver: Similar to truck driver, drivers of other motor vehicle can be responsible for negligent driving
- Truck owner: When a truck crash occurs, even if the truck driver’s error played a role in the collision, the owner of the truck also may bear responsibility
- Employer of the truck driver: Depending upon the specific facts of the trucking collision, the truck driver’s employer may be liable for harm caused by the driver’s error
- Company responsible for loading the truck: Improper loading of truck beds can lead to tire blowouts and serious accidents
- Mechanic: Negligent maintenance of a truck can be a causal factor in crashes
- Designer or manufacturer of the truck: Defective design or manufacture of a truck or one of its parts can cause a collision.
Filing a Lawsuit and the Statute of Limitations
In order to be eligible to file a lawsuit against the responsible party (or parties) in a trucking accident, you need to make sure to file your lawsuit in a timely manner. If you were injured and plan to file a personal injury lawsuit, Virginia’s personal injury statute of limitations requires you to file your claim within two years from the date of the collision. If a loved one was killed in a truck crash, Virginia’s wrongful death statute of limitations requires you to file your lawsuit within two years from the date of death.
Contact a Virginia Trucking Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love sustained serious or fatal injuries in a truck crash in Virginia, you should reach out to an experienced and aggressive Virginia trucking accident lawyer as soon as possible. You may be able to file a claim for compensation. Contact Hundley & Johnson today for more information.