According to the law, negligence has occurred when someone failed to conduct themselves in a way that is in line with acceptable standards of behavior to avoid the risk of harm to others. Proving that an act of negligence occurred and that it caused an accident requires evidence.
A successful outcome will largely depend on how you use the evidence to demonstrate the four critical elements of negligence and the evidence you present. Despite often being complex, our personal injury lawyers know how to establish negligence and determine liability in truck accident cases.
The Four Elements of Negligence
The burden of proof falls to the plaintiff when pursuing a personal injury claim for a truck accident. These four elements, when used properly, can help the plaintiff to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that negligence did occur and who was at fault. With the right evidence, you can define these elements and your case.
Duty of Care
In certain cases, the law will consider whether a duty of care is owed. Duty of care refers to the obligation people have to one another in certain circumstances. In the case of a truck accident, each driver on the road is expected to follow the accepted rules of the road and drive responsibly. In an automobile accident, this duty of care is generally implicit.
Breach of Duty
You must prove that the other driver or other party involved in the accident either willfully or through omission breached the duty of care. For example, if the trucking company knowingly sent a truck with faulty brakes out on the road, they wilfully breached this duty.
The plaintiff or plaintiff’s legal counsel needs to show that the defendant was aware of the potential danger and completed the action anyway. For example, if you can prove that the trucking company has a history of sending mechanically unsound vehicles out on the road, it can help you to build a case to prove causation.
In order to file a valid personal injury claim, there must be quantifiable damage. This means that you have to show you suffered financially from the accident. This is easy to show with medical bills, estimates to repair the damage to your car, or past pay stubs to show the amount of money you lost while missing work due to your injuries.
When filing your personal injury claim, these truck accident damages will comprise the compensation you pursue from the liable party in a settlement or court award.
Establishing negligence in a truck accident case may seem like an easy task, but the attorneys for the trucking company will begin working to reduce or eliminate their liability immediately after a crash. A skilled personal injury lawyer can gather the right evidence to build a strong case and protect you from allegations of negligence made by the defendant.
There Can Be Multiple Causes of Your Truck Accident
The cause of a truck accident can be obvious, but other factors may exist beneath the surface that deserves your examination. When trying to establish negligence in a truck accident case, a thorough evaluation of all the evidence can help you identify all potential liability sources.
Causes of commercial or semi-truck accidents could be:
- Speeding, fatigued driving, distracted driver, DUI, and reckless driving
- Defective vehicle or defective parts
- Improperly maintained truck
- Mandatory truck inspections not performed
- Violations of state or federal trucking regulations
- Cargo shift, improperly loaded cargo, or cargo not secured
- Improperly trained drivers and unqualified drivers
- Traffic control issues, road hazards, and obstacles
It is not uncommon for several factors to be at play in a truck accident. Many of these causes can result in multiple liable parties. It is important to locate each source of liability to prove the validity of your claim.
Evidence You Can Use to Establish Negligence in a Truck Accident Case
Your injuries and the pictures of your damaged car can certainly be used to show the severity of the damages you suffered, but proving negligence will require more. Some of the evidence you can gather might include:
- Records of safety inspections for the trucking company and any violations against them
- Driving records and violations of other drivers involved
- Photos and video evidence from the scene
- Traffic camera footage, dash cam footage, and cell phone video footage from other drivers
- Eyewitness accounts and witness statements
- Driver toxicology reports
- Black box and event data recorder
- Evidence from the accident scene
- Police reports
These items can be gathered together and comprehensively reviewed to help determine the liable parties involved. A truck accident attorney can be beneficial and would have previous experience in the evaluation of evidence and how it is presented in court.
Liable Parties in a Truck Accident
When you are looking to establish negligence after a truck accident, it’s important to know all the potentially liable parties. This can help to enable you to seek the entirety of your damages and will ensure that the right parties are held accountable.
Once again, the causes of an accident may not be completely obvious and a thorough and complete investigation into all aspects of the accident will be necessary to determine who can be held responsible.
The parties that can be held liable in a truck accident include:
- Municipalities or government entities responsible for the roads and traffic signals
- The truck driver
- The trucking company or freight carrier
- The cargo loading company
- Maintenance providers for the trucking company
- The owner of the truck
- Other drivers or pedestrians involved in the accident
- Part makers, tire manufacturers, vehicle manufacturers
Contact a Lawyer for a Free Case Evaluation
Proving negligence in a truck accident case can be a difficult and time-consuming endeavor. The trucking company attorneys will be hard at work soon after the accident to reduce the liability to their company and will attempt to deflect whenever possible.
The attorneys of Buzbee Law Firm have represented countless injury victims in trucking accident cases. We have obtained significant financial recovery on behalf of our clients and we may be able to help you.
The initial consultation is free of charge and we work on a contingency basis, so there is no out-of-pocket expense or risk to you. Contact us today to learn how we can help you to establish negligence in a truck accident case and how we may be able to help maximize your compensation.