Most truck accident victims often believe that in order for them to recover compensation for the losses they suffered in a crash all they need to do is file a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver. Unfortunately, the process is much more complex and often requires the assistance of a skilled truck accident attorney. You see, while it may be clear to you that the trucker who hit you was at fault, you will have a hard time winning your case unless you are able to prove that the party who you are holding labile was negligent in some way.
What is negligence and how is it established after a truck crash?
Negligence is defined as “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” When a truck driver fails to abide by one or more state or federal safety regulations, they could be held accountable for any accidents they cause as a result of it. In order to prove a trucker was negligent, four elements must be established after you initiate the lawsuit process.
The four elements that must be established to prove negligence include:
- The defendant (i.e. the truck driver or the trucking company) owed a duty to the plaintiff (i.e. you, the victim).
- The defendant breached that duty.
- The defendant’s breach of duty has caused you harm (i.e. physical and/or psychological injuries).
- Proof that the defendant’s breach of duty caused the injury (i.e. the trucker was driving drunk, operating their vehicle in a careless manner, etc.)
What are some examples of truck driver negligence?
- Let’s say the truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into your car. After looking through his driving logs, it was discovered that he had been driving for a period that exceeded what the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) hours-of-service rules allow. The trucker, aware that he is required to follow these rules, chose to continue driving in an effort to get his load to where it needed to go which ultimately led to an accident happening.
- A trucker could also be found negligent in an accident if he/she was cited for excessive speeding or driving recklessly. Federal and state regulations do not permit drivers to engage in such behavior.
- The trucker driver was carrying a load that exceeded the weight limitations state and federal regulations allow which resulted in the vehicle tipping over and causing a chain reaction crash. Again, truckers and their employers are aware of what these weight limitations are and anyone who intentionally fails to abide by them is considered to be negligent.
Now, although the driver’s behavior is what ultimately led to the crash occurring, that doesn’t relieve his/her employer from being held liable as well. While you may have a variable case against the truck driver, you may also be able to name their employer as a defendant in your lawsuit. And to make things even more complex, if the truck crash was caused by a defective part, some of the blame may also be placed on the manufacturing company who sold the part.
Truck accident attorneys are ready to answer your legal questions.
In most truck accident cases, especially those involving semis or 18-wheelers, negligence can only be established after a thorough investigation has been conducted. Experts such as an accident reconstructionist team are often brought out to assess all the details surrounding the crash to determine what factors played a role in it occurring. After this has been determined, then it becomes easier to establish negligence.
Now, if you are ready to speak with a lawyer regarding the horrible accident you or a loved one were involved in and need help finding a truck accident law firm in your city, USAttorneys.com is here to assist you.