Many truck accident victims who contact a Henderson truck accident attorney believe that they can recover their damages solely from the responsible truck driver. However, when a commercial vehicle is involved in a traffic accident, the chain of liability is more complex. In many situations, the trucking company, the loader of the cargo, or the truck maintenance company may also be liable to pay compensation for economic and non-economic damages to injured persons.
In this article, the team of Henderson personal injury lawyers at Christian Morris Trial Attorneys will explain everything you need to know about liability for truck accidents and the laws governing it.
The Most Important Legal Text: The Respondeat Superior Law in Nevada
The respondeat superior law is Nevada’s legal doctrine regarding vicarious liability. In summary, it means that an employer can be held indirectly responsible for their employees’ acts of negligence or omissions.
However, this law is applicable under certain circumstances:
- The employee must be acting in their ordinary scope of work when the negligent action occurred
- The employee’s negligent action results in an injury and economic damages to another person.
Although these two ideas appear simple and straightforward, a skilled Henderson truck accident attorney knows that trucking companies will always look for ways to waive liability. Most of the time, they will try to claim that:
- The truck driver is not an employee, but an independent contractor
- The driver was not delivering cargo, thus they were outside the scope of work
- The driver committed an intentional act, acting against the employers’ business and conduct practices.
Federal and State Laws for Trucking Companies and Truck Drivers
For Henderson personal injury lawyers, respondeat superior is not the only law they can rely on to prove that a trucking company should share liability with their driver for the crash resulting in an innocent person’s severe injuries and crippling economic damages.
Your truck accident lawyer will seek to find out if the truck driver and their employer may have broken one of the following rules and laws:
1. The Mandatory Hours of Service
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a clear set of rules for the maximum hours of service and the mandatory breaks truck drivers should take. In reality, many trucking companies give their drivers very tight delivery deadlines on long routes. If they are to meet these deadlines, the drivers must skip mandatory breaks.
For this reason, many truck accidents are caused by drowsy drivers, who, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are just as impaired as drunk drivers. In this instance, Henderson personal injury lawyers can quickly check the driver’s log and find out how many hours they were effectively behind the wheel. Most drivers will admit that their employer ordered them to break the rules in order to make their delivery on time.
2. Driver Qualifications
FMCSA requires truck drivers to hold a commercial driving license. This type of license can be obtained by a person who is at least 21 years old and a proficient English speaker. Nevada laws add a few extra requirements to these federal regulations:
- A truck driver must be at least 25 years old to drive a truck that is longer than 25 feet
- A truck driver must hold a special permit to drive a truck that exceeds the total weight of 80,000 pounds.
3. Truck Length and Weight
The state of Nevada also has rules concerning the maximum sizes and weight for trucks. Thus, a truck must have the following maximum measurements:
- 14 feet in height
- 8.5 feet in width
- 70 feet in length.
As for the maximum weights, these are:
- 20,000 pounds for a single-axle truck
- 34,000 pounds for a tandem axle truck
- 42,000 pounds for a triple-axle truck.
In case of a collision, a Henderson truck accident attorney will verify that the commercial vehicle complies with these rules. In some cases, the truck is overloaded by the freight forwarding company, and this may be a contributing factor to the accident. In this situation, your lawyer will make sure that the liable party is held responsible and pays the maximum compensation you deserve.
4. Hiring Negligence
As we explained above, truck drivers must meet certain criteria to obtain a commercial driving license. They must also have an impeccable driving record. And trucking companies should do their due diligence and perform careful background checks before they entrust a heavy commercial vehicle to a driver.
In reality, this does not happen all the time. Drivers with an easily findable history of drunk driving, aggressive driving, or reckless driving, or with several other traffic violations on record, end up behind the wheel of a large truck. And they cause catastrophic accidents on the highways of Nevada. Our Henderson personal injury lawyers will make sure that the trucking company that hired such a driver owns up to its indirect liability for your injury and losses.
How Can a Henderson Truck Accident Attorney Help You Prove Your Case?
Truck companies are big businesses, protected by the largest insurance companies and very skilled lawyers. This is why accident victims needs an experienced personal injury lawyer to help them win their case.
Our team of Henderson personal injury attorneys will:
Investigate Your Truck Accident
We will seek out the relevant evidence and eyewitnesses to create a clear picture of how the truck accident happened. The evidence we usually rely on consists of:
- The accident report prepared by the police
- CCTV footage (where available)
- Photos and videos of the crash scene and the injuries (which you should take right after your accident)
- Eyewitness’ reports
- Truck driver’s log, mobile phone activity log, BAC test results
- The medical report prepared by first responders who gave you emergency medical assistance.
Determine the Degree of Fault for All the Parties
Nevada is a fault state relying on the contributory negligence principle. This means that you have to be less than 50% at fault for your accident in order to claim damages. Your Henderson truck accident attorney will determine who was mostly at fault for the crash and explain your rights clearly.
Identify All Liable Parties
An experienced attorney will determine if the trucking company and other persons or legal entities are also indirectly liable for the accident. The lawyer cannot be deterred or intimidated – tactics that insurance adjusters usually apply in order to dissuade accident victims from filing a claim.
Let a Top Truck Accident Law Firm Protect Your Rights!
Christian Morris Trial Attorneys is a personal injury law firm formed by experienced attorneys with a combined experience of 30 years. We used to work for insurance companies, but we believe that ordinary people deserve our time, skills, and experience to seek justice.
This is why we founded our law firm and we offer our services on a contingency fee basis. If you were injured in a truck accident, an experienced lawyer is always ready to help you win your case. Call our Henderson personal injury lawyers today at (702) 434-8282!