Should You Sue the Trucking Company or the Driver?
One of the largest looming questions for the victims of accidents with large commercial vehicles will center on the pending lawsuit itself. After all, most individuals will never have dealt with personal injury law before and will have little existing knowledge about how the steps work and what to expect. For many, the most important question will be who can sue and who can be sued. The truth is that cases involving trucking accidents can be complicated as liability can become a complex web. More often than not, there is a whole host of players who may be at least partially responsible for the accident. For this reason, it is crucial that no time is wasted in contacting a professional attorney to assess your situation. At Arnold & Itkin, we can discuss your case during a free consult.
Who Can File a Lawsuit After a Truck Accident?
Before you determine who should be sued, the first step is figuring out who can actually pursue a lawsuit. In the case of 18-wheeler accidents, anyone who has "standing to sue" may file a lawsuit in the aftermath. Standing to sue is a legal requirement that is used to determine whether the individual bringing the suit has a personal stake in the outcome of the case, which may refer to injury, causation, and more. Most often, this will be the driver or passenger of the vehicle that was involved in the accident. However, in fatal trucking accidents, this will change as it will become a wrongful death claim. In wrongful death claims, "real parties in interest" may file a claim.
Real parties in interest may include the following:
- Immediate family members
- Life partners & financial dependents
- Distant family members
- Individuals who suffer financially
Who Can Be Sued After a Truck Accident?
Determining who can be sued after a truck accident can become trickier as it is not always obvious.
Some people and companies who may be the defendant in a truck accident case include:
- Truck driver
- Owner and/or leaser of the truck
- Shipper or freight loader
- Manufacturer of the truck / truck parts
Who can be sued will be entirely dependent on the case at hand. For example, if the accident was caused by truck driver negligence (ex: drinking), they would likely be eligible. In some cases, it might be the trucking company who employed the truck driver for failing to properly maintain the vehicle or having negligent hiring practices. Still yet, it might be the truck manufacturer if it is found that there were defects in the design of the truck,