Anytime that a large tractor-trailer manages to damage a small, 4-wheeled vehicle, the affected insurers and the victims’ lawyers need to seek answers to 2 basic questions: Who is liable; how much are they liable for?
Questions that need to be answered, in order to determine who should be held liable
Was the driver negligent? Was some activity, such a placing a phone call distracting the driver, during the moments before the tragic incident? Had the driver engaged in any type of reckless driving, or speeding?
Had the trucking company been negligent? Had it hired unlicensed drivers? Did it fail to inspect the records for any employees? Were new-hires given a sufficient level of training? Did it force its hired truckers to remain at the wheel for a great many hours?
Besides adopting good hiring and training practices, trucking companies are supposed to adhere to certain regulations. A negligent company might provide its large vehicles with an insufficient level of maintenance. Alternatively, it might violate certain truck safety regulations, as per a personal injury lawyer in Lethbridge.
Had the truck been leased from a leasing company? What manufacturer had made the trucks that then got sold to that leasing company? If the truck had not been leased, what retailer had sold it to the trucking company, or to the driver?
Did a shipping company load the cargo, or was the driver expected to take-on performance of that duty? Was there evidence of defective parts? Had a technician chosen to utilize a cheap part? Was there some problem with the design of the road where the accident took place?
The above questions highlight the large number of people who might be held liable. Each question seeks to narrow down the list of those that should have a finger pointed at them.
Concerns to be addressed, during a determination of what the defendant should be liable for
What were the out-of-pocket costs? That is usually determined by studying the plaintiff’s medical bills.
How large a compensation package is necessary, in order to make the victim “whole” again? The answer to that question comes from studying things like the victim’s pain and suffering, as well as the amount of money lost, due to the inability to show up at the workplace.
Depending on the nature and level of the defendant’s negligence, the court might have an additional concern. It might want to discourage that same level of negligence in other members of society. When that is the case, the court could decide to impose a punitive damage award, in addition to the compensatory damages. That means asking the defendant to pay an added amount of money, because he or she had demonstrated some type of egregious behavior.