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Understanding wrongful death lawsuits

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2022 | Trucking Defense

As an owner of a commercial trucking company, you have a wide variety of responsibilities. You are aware of the liabilities you have, and there is a decent possibility you will face a wrongful death lawsuit at some point.

Accidents involving large trucks often result in serious or fatal injuries to the occupants of the other vehicles. If the plaintiff can prove the truck company is liable for the injuries, this can have major financial and reputational consequences.

Reasons a trucking company may be liable for a crash

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are various reasons why a trucking company may be potentially liable for a death related to a crash. These include poor truck maintenance, poor hiring standards, hours of service violations and cargo issues. If found liable, the trucking company may be responsible for damages related to funeral expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills and lost companionship.

Burden of proof lies on the plaintiff

Although wrongful death lawsuit damage rewards can reach millions of dollars, the plaintiff first needs to prove the trucking company was liable. Along with showing that there was a death of an individual, the plaintiff must also be able to show that the death occurred due to negligence on the part of the trucking company and that the surviving family members are suffering financially and emotionally due to the death.

Even if a plaintiff can prove negligence, there may be a different party at fault. For example, if the trucker worked more hours than legally allowed, and the company was unaware of this, the court may find the trucker, and not the company, to be the negligent party.