How is Liability Assessed in Multi-Vehicle Trucking Accidents

How is Liability Assessed in Multi-Vehicle Trucking Accidents?

Truck accidents are complex enough on their own—but when there are more than two vehicles involved, the situation gets even more complicated. When there are so many parties involved in a crash, there are dozens of factors involved that determine liability, shared fault, and who’s liable for damages. This all makes it harder for victims to get the compensation they need to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident and you have no idea how you’re going to pursue a settlement, it’s time to talk to an attorney. Call Bailey, Javins & Carter at 800-497-0234 to talk to our team of Charleston truck accident attorneys.

Factors Involved in Liability

There are many factors at play when it comes to determining liability, and the more vehicles you have in a crash, the more factors you must consider. Factors that may affect liability include:

  • Traffic laws: Traffic laws determine what is and is not allowed on the road. When drivers violate these laws and subsequently cause an accident, they are often cited and found to be partially or completely liable. Speeding, running red lights and stop signs, and failing to yield the right of way are all illegal driving choices that can lead to collisions.
  • Driver behavior: Even if a certain behavior isn’t technically illegal, it can still be unsafe and therefore leave you liable for an accident. It’s also important to note that most municipalities have general driving laws against reckless driving, which means that all unsafe driving behaviors can be cited. Drivers who are fatigued, intentionally reckless, or simply too inexperienced to be on the road on their own could be liable for collisions.
  • Vehicle safety: Vehicles must be inspected and maintained on a regular basis. For commercial trucks, these requirements are even stricter. When vehicles are not safely maintained, their owners may be liable when a component failure causes a crash.
  • Road conditions: Road conditions can be unpredictable when inclement weather strikes. However, they can also affect liability if drivers do not take proper precautions. For example, a driver who is driving below the speed limit may still be speeding if they are moving too fast for weather conditions. In other cases, road conditions may point to government liability. If a municipality fails to maintain a road and an accident happens, it could be sued.
  • Driver regulations: When you talk about crashes involving tractor-trailers, you have to look at driver regulations. The FMCSA has strict requirements for drivers and companies. Drivers who fail to meet these requirements are at higher risk of fatigued driving.

Liability in Multi-Vehicle Collisions

In many multi-vehicle crashes, liability is split among multiple parties. In some cases, liability may lie primarily with one or two parties. This is common when there is one initial crash and then several secondary crashes.

Consider, for example, a crash that happens when a truck driver merges into a lane without checking. They hit a car, which pushes the other car into the next lane. Cars in the next lane are unable to stop, and a pileup follows. In this situation, the truck driver would likely have primary liability due to their failure to check before merging.

Other parties may have a smaller share of liability. Perhaps the driver of the first passenger vehicle had been driving in the truck’s blind spot for several miles, or maybe the second car to hit them was driven by a distracted driver.

What Happens When Multiple Parties Are Liable

The good news is that you can still recover compensation if there are multiple parties with liability. West Virginia is a modified comparative fault state. Even if you are partially liable for an accident, you can still receive compensation. Your jury award is simply reduced in line with your share of liability. It’s possible that multiple parties will pay out to victims, as they may all have to pay in accordance with their share of the blame.

Get the Help You Need After a Truck Accident

Looking for help with your truck accident claim? It’s time to talk to the team at Bailey, Javins & Carter. We’ll guide you through the process of seeking compensation. Set up a consultation right away by calling us at 800-497-0234 or sending us a message online.