I was badly hurt in a big-rig truck crash and am totally disabled. The driver's insurance company says they only have $1m in coverage which won't even cover my hospital bills. Is anyone else liable?
First – do not accept the $1m without talking to an attorney who can help determine whether others might share liability for a semi truck accident. Determining who is responsible in a tractor-trailer accident can be difficult. The trucking industry is complex and there might be parties other than the driver who are also liable. There are multiple parties involved behind the scenes in a trucking case and finding them and valid theories of liability takes investigation and sophisticated legal analysis. These include:
- The driver
- The company employing the driver
- The owner of the truck
- The owner of the trailer (might be a different person or entity!)
- The company that hired the trucker
- The mechanic or truck maintenance company
- The broker who arranged the delivery
- The shipper or the company whose goods are being shipped
- The supplier who loaded the cargo on the truck
In general, as a matter of public policy the law does not allow a large company with substantial resources to shield itself from responsibility by hiring an independent contractor trucking company who has little assets. In some cases, the law will impose a nondelegable duty on the hirer of the trucker – meaning that the hiring company is liable for the truck driver's negligence even though it was not driving the truck.
If you were injured in a trucking collision, it is very important to talk to an attorney knowledgeable about these issues to make sure you can recover the full compensation available to you.
-Anthony L. Label, Esq., Trial Team Leader; The Veen Firm, PC, San Francisco, CA
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This Month's Expert; Anthony L. Label, Esq.
Anthony L. Label is a team leader of the Label trial team at the The Veen Firm, PC, in San Francisco, CA. Mr. Label represents people who have suffered severe personal injuries which have a life-changing, career-changing, life-ending, or career-ending impact. He represents plaintiffs in actions arising from construction site accidents, industrial accidents, dangerous premises, auto accidents, wrongful death, governmental or public entity liability, defective products, and others. In 2013, Mr. Label was invited for membership to the National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers, and currently holds the record for the largest recovery in the history of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s lawyer referral service program.