Truck accidents can be devastating, causing severe injuries and even fatalities. When these accidents occur, it’s important to determine who is at fault and establish negligence. Negligent parties can then be held responsible for paying for the damages in your case.
Negligence refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to others. In the case of truck accidents, negligence can be established by examining various factors.
A Buffallo truck accident lawyer can help you gather evidence, analyze the crash, and develop a compelling argument to help you prove negligence in your claim, but it can be helpful to understand how the process works in a personal injury case.
Here’s what you need to know about how negligence is established in a truck accident.\
Establishing Negligence in a Truck Accident Involves Four Main Elements
Here are the main factors a truck accident attorney will work to establish in order to validate your claim for compensation after a crash:
Duty of Care
The first step in establishing negligence is to prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. In a truck accident case, this duty of care is typically established by demonstrating that the truck driver had a legal obligation to operate the vehicle safely and follow traffic laws.
Breach of Duty
The next step is to show that the duty of care was breached. This can be done by presenting evidence that the truck driver acted negligently or recklessly. Examples of breaching the duty of care in a truck accident could include speeding, driving under the influence, distracted driving, or violating hours of service regulations.
It’s crucial to establish that the breach of duty caused your injuries. This requires proving that the defendant’s actions or negligence directly led to the accident and subsequent harm. This can be done through witness testimonies, expert opinions, accident reconstruction, and other forms of evidence.
In order to pursue a negligence claim, the plaintiff must have experienced financial loss of some kind, otherwise known as damages. These damages can include the cost of medical treatment, the wages you lost as a result of time off work to treat injuries, or the cost of repairing or replacing your car. It’s important to gather evidence of these damages to support the negligence claim.
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What Is Comparative Negligence and How does It Impact the Amount of Compensation I Recover?
In some cases, both parties may share some degree of fault for the accident. For example, you may have been using a mobile device, eating, adjusting the radio, or engaging in other distractions that took your eyes and attention away from the road.
If this can be proven, you might share liability. In such situations where multiple parties bear responsibility, the legal concept of comparative negligence comes into play. Comparative negligence allows for the allocation of fault between the parties involved.
The compensation awarded to you may be reduced based on your percentage of fault. This is why it is important to work with an experienced truck accident attorney. Your lawyer can work to defend you against allegations of fault to preserve your claim and improve your chances of recovering the maximum compensation possible.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Commercial Trucking Accidents?
Common causes of semi-truck accidents that can be attributed to negligence include:
- Distracted driving: Truck drivers can be distracted while driving. Using cell phones, adjusting radio/GPS, eating, etc. takes the truck driver’s attention away from the road.
- Fatigue: Driver fatigue is common because of the pressure to deliver cargo in often unreasonable time frames. Long hours and excessive overtime lead to tired drivers who are unsafe behind the wheel. Trucking companies may be liable for accidents if they push drivers beyond the legal hours of service limits.
- Unsafe speeds: Drivers may speed to meet deadlines, failing to leave enough braking distance in an emergency.
- Equipment failure: Mechanical issues like brakes, tires, or lighting not properly maintained can cause loss of control. If a truck was improperly maintained, the trucking company, maintenance providers, or even the manufacturer of a defective part may be liable for your accident.
- Inadequate training: In a rush to meet staffing needs, freight companies may not screen or train their drivers adequately. Inexperienced drivers are left to operate large rigs without full safety preparation. This can lead to serious accidents.
- Illegal/risky maneuvers: Backing without a spotter to guide the driver, taking turns at intersections or on highway ramps too fast for the large truck’s capabilities, driving while fatigued or under the influence of drugs or alcohol could all make the driver, and even the trucking company responsible for your crash.
- Poor load security: Unsecured or improperly tied down cargo that is not adequately sheltered or safely loaded can potentially fall off from trucks while in transit, posing road hazards and endangering other motorists and pedestrians. A freight loading company may be liable for accidents like these.
Contact a Truck Accident Law Firm to Learn More About How We Can Help You Establish Negligence
Establishing negligence in a truck accident case can be a complex process. It requires a thorough investigation, gathering of evidence, and legal knowledge. By understanding these key factors, you can better navigate the legal process and seek the compensation you deserve in the event of a trucking accident.
Remember, consulting with an experienced attorney is crucial to protect your rights and ensure a fair outcome. The personal injury attorneys of Richmond Vona can help gather evidence, analyze the circumstances of the accident, consult with experts, negotiate with insurance companies, and fight for full and fair compensation.
It costs nothing to learn more about how we may be able to help you. Contact us today to learn more in a free consultation.