How Is Liability in a Truck Accident Determined?

When a vehicle accident is the result of one or more party’s negligence or recklessness, victims who are injured are entitled to financial compensation for any losses they have suffered from that at-fault party. In passenger vehicle crashes, there is typically one at-fault party – the driver – who is found liable for damages.

Commercial truck accident claims are much more complex than other types of vehicle accidents because there is often more than one party who is deemed legally responsible for damages. And because of the massive size of tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks, the injuries are often much more catastrophic than passenger vehicles, leading to extensive past, present, and future losses for victims and their families. This is why it can be crucial to a trucking accident victim to have a Virginia truck accident attorney advocating for them with trucking companies and their insurance companies.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

There are multiple reasons why commercial truck accidents can occur, however, federal statistics show that some of the most frequent reasons include truck driver fatigue, mechanical failure, and improper loading of cargo.


Each of the above reasons ha different liability attached to them and can make a difference in who a truck accident claim should be filed against. A truck accident attorney in Virginia will be able to determine which parties should be included in the pursuit of damages based on the reason why the crash occurred.

Types of Trucking Accidents and Potential At-Fault Parties

There are several different types of trucking accidents that each have common factors which cause them. For example, jackknifing accidents happen when the rear of the truck comes around to the front of the truck. The most common reason why jackknife crashes happen is that the truck driver suddenly brakes.

Improper turning and improper lane changes are also two frequent causes of truck crashes. Truck driver error – whether from negligence or recklessness – is the cause of these two truck accidents and are almost always preventable.

Rollover truck accidents are also common. One of the main reasons why rollover truck accidents occur is because of an improper distribution of weight from the cargo the truck is transporting.

Another frequent cause of truck accident is from tire blowouts which is usually a result of failure to monitor the pressure in all the tires on the vehicle.

Truck Accident Steps

If you have been injured in a trucking accident, your focus should be to seek medical attention for immediate treatment of your injuries. Once this has been done, there are steps you will need to take in order to file a truck accident claim:

  1. Obtain the names of any witnesses to the crash
  2. Take photographs of the scene of the crash, including any skid marks and damage to any property in the area
  3. Take photographs of the damage done to your vehicle
  4. Take photographs of your injuries
  5. Save all medical documentation from your injuries
  6. Contact a Virginia truck accident attorney

Determining Liability

Some of the potential at-fault parties in a trucking accident include the truck driver, the trucking company the driver works for, the freight company who loaded the cargo, or truck manufacturing company if there were defective parts in the vehicle that caused the crash. Your Virginia injury attorney will evaluate all the evidence to determine which party or parties should be named in your truck accident lawsuit.

To find out more information and to find out how the legal team at Shapiro & Appleton can help you with your case, contact our office today at 800-752-0042 for a free and confidential consultation.