A woman called me and explained that her husband was injured in a semi-truck accident on I80-94. She was questioning whether she needed a lawyer to assist her husband because he could bring a claim against the truck driver.
I explained to her that tractor-trailer accidents and there are many potential parties and moving parts to a truck accident claim.
Who are the potential parties? Well, I'm glad you asked:
The owner of tractor
The owner of trailer
The shipper or broker
The maintenance company
The leasing or rental company
The motor freight company
A manufacturer of equipment
Here are how the potential parties can be responsible for the crash.
The owners of the tractor and trailer can be two different companies from two different states. The owners can also be responsible for the repair, upkeep and maintenance of the tractor or trailer.
The motor freight company may not own the equipment but may hire a private owner operator of a rig. The motor freight company can be ultimately responsible for negligent hiring, retention or supervision of the driver.
The rental or leasing company maybe responsible because it may be responsible for the upkeep, maintenance and/or repair of the rig. It is a rental relationship if the rig is leased for 30 days or less. It is a leasing agreement if the rig is rented for more than 30 days.
The driver can be the only responsible party if he was speeding, drowsy, not paying attention or any other human error.
A shipper or broker can be responsible for the loading, packing, or failing to properly secure the cargo. These problems can cause the load to improperly shift and cause the driver to lose control over the vehicle..
A manufacturer of equipment can be responsible if there is a defective trailer, tractor, wheels, or brakes.
A maintenance company who was responsible for the inspection, repair and maintenance on the tractor and/or trailer may have done something wrong precipitating the accident.
After I explained all the potential parties to the caller she understood the potential complexity of an Indiana truck accident claim.