Establishing negligence in a truck accident isn’t very different from a car accident case. To establish truck driver negligence in a truck accident case, you must prove that the actor breached his or her basic duty of care. The actor is the truck driver, although other parties may be held responsible.
Many parties can be liable for a truck accident. Even though the truck driver is the person acting in the situation, the company that owns the truck and usually employs the truck driver can be held responsible for damages. In some cases, other parties like the truck manufacturer can be held liable, too.
To legally recover damages, you’ll first need to be less than 50% responsible for the accident. Plus, you’ll need to have strong evidence establishing negligence. Establishing negligence is extremely important in a truck accident lawsuit, allowing the plaintiff to finalize a case, increase compensation, or both.
How Truck Driver Negligence Is Established
Negligence is defined as a breach of duty of care, which can be intentional or unintentional. Every person has a duty of care to avoid causing harm to others, and for truck drivers, that means that they follow all traffic laws and commercial trucking rules and regulations. For truck driver negligence to be fully established, these four elements must be proven:
- The actor had a duty of care
- The actor breached the duty of care
- This breach caused the damages
- Actual loss or damage was suffered
Truck drivers must adhere to all traffic laws in addition to commercial trucking rules and regulations. That means that there are many more acts that can help prove negligence in a truck accident case. Truck accident lawyers will perform critical in-depth investigations and evaluations to establish truck driver negligence and provide strong evidence to the court.
Evidence for these cases can include many different things, such as truck driver errors, not following rules and regulations, and/or vehicle errors. An Atlanta truck accident lawyer can review the trucking company’s background, the truck driver’s background, travel documents, regulatory logs, and more to provide evidence and prove that the truck driver and/or his or her company acted negligently and caused the damages.
Truck Driver Errors
Commercial truck drivers are held to the same traffic laws as other vehicle drivers. The difference is that commercial truck driver errors can cause much more damage due to their weight.
Truck driver errors include a wide range of things, including:
- Distracted driving – Texting, talking on the phone, reading, eating, or drinking
- Reckless driving – Aggressively changing lanes or tailgating
- Improper operation – Not controlling the steering properly, not using signals, and more
- Fatigue – Falling asleep at the wheel during late-night trips
- Impaired driving – Being under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or prescription drugs
- Choosing to drive in extreme weather
Sometimes, a driver will feel pressure from the trucking company to complete a route in a designated time, which may cause speeding, driving in extreme weather conditions, or driving late at night. Other times, the truck driver chose to act negligently for his or her own motives. Whenever a truck driver fails to follow the basic rules of the road, making one or more of these errors, he or she and/or the trucking company will be held liable for the damage that the error(s) caused.
Not Following Rules and Regulations
Commercial vehicles, trucking companies, and truck drivers must follow the rules and regulations in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. These rules reduce the number of accidents that happen as well as damage to people, property, and the environment. They have to follow different regulations for impaired driving, maintenance and inspections, weight limits, hours of service, and more.
After the truck accident, a truck accident lawyer will investigate and research to determine which rules and regulations the liable parties did not follow. Using evidence from the research and investigations, the lawyer will cite these laws to establish negligence.
Vehicle errors can be the main cause of a truck accident. Both the owner of the truck and/or the manufacturer of the truck can be held liable for vehicle flaws and errors that cause damage.
Vehicle errors can happen from a lack of maintenance or a manufacturer’s error, but there are also cases when the cause may be unknown. Sometimes, the lack of following rules regarding load size and standards can cause vehicle errors, such as an insecure or too-large load that causes a vehicle malfunction.
Common truck errors include but are not limited to:
- Tire issues, such as a blown tire
- Braking errors
- Steering errors
- Improper loading
- Mechanical issues
Vehicle errors can be identified and used to prove negligence. A truck accident lawyer is skilled at proving vehicle errors by reviewing maintenance documents, investigating on the scene, and providing the official police report from the accident.
Get Help Filing Your Claim with Mike Rafi
Commercial truck accidents can mean complicated, tough lawsuits with hard-to-beat defense teams. Trucking companies often have large, experienced insurance companies behind them that are ready to fight a case at all costs and minimize or eliminate damages owed to the victim(s). Commercial truck accident cases can be very expensive for the trucking company when many damages have occurred.
Together, we can establish negligence against the parties liable and win you the compensation you deserve. Get started on your path to success by calling Mike Rafi at 404-948-3311 or send our team a message now to get your free consultation!