Negligence is determined in truck accidents by using video footage or pictures of an accident, eyewitness statements, and the official police report of an accident to prove who and what kind an accident. Other forms of evidence may also support your claim that the truck driver was negligent, such as:
- Cell phone records
- The truck driver’s driving logs
- The truck driver’s blood test results
- The truck’s GPS tracking data
- Vehicle maintenance logs
- The trucking company’s training and/or hiring reports
- The truck driver’s use of medications, including any prescriptions that might cause drowsiness.
Establishing Negligence in Truck Accident Cases Takes Four Key Steps
There are four steps involved in establishing negligence for an accident.
The first step involves proving that the party you hold responsible for the truck accident had a duty to act with a certain amount of care and competence. If you drive on the road, you have a duty of driving safely and in accordance with driving laws. This is known as a driver’s “duty of care.”
The second step involves proving that the party failed to uphold their duty of care in some way. There are many ways this can happen, as we discuss below.
The third step involves establishing a connection between the actions of the negligent party and the accident. In other words, you must prove that because of the negligent party’s actions, an accident occurred, or that an accident would likely not have occurred if the at-fault party was not negligent in fulfilling their duty of care.
The final step involves substantiating that you suffered losses or damages because of the accident.
You Also Need to Determine the Cause for an Accident
To determine which party or parties may be at fault for an accident, you must first determine how the accident was caused. If negligence was involved, you can potentially seek compensation for all your relevant damages from the liable party or parties.
Negligence can lead to truck accidents in many different ways. The following can be considered negligent in a truck accident case:
- Driving while distracted, such as from texting or eating
- Driving while fatigued
- Driving recklessly or aggressively
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving without proper licenses, approvals, training, or experience
- Failing to service and/or maintain your vehicle, replace worn brakes, ensure lights and mirrors are working, and that your vehicle is road-worthy
- Carelessly loading cargo, overloading a truck with cargo, or transporting dangerous or hazardous cargo in unsafe containers or without proper care
A local town or municipality may also be held responsible for failing to maintain local roads if poor road conditions contributed to your truck accident. The government may be liable for poor road repairs, uneven lanes, slippery surfaces, missing lane markings, and inadequate signage.
Any of the factors above can lead to an accident. Negligence can be determined in a truck accident by connecting any of those factors to the losses and damages you suffered in the accident. As mentioned above, when it comes to motor vehicle accidents, road users and vehicle operators are assumed to owe others a duty of care as soon as they get behind the wheel of a vehicle. So, simply driving on the road may suffice as proof of owing others a duty of care.
Using whatever evidence is available to you, if you can prove that a truck driver was driving under the influence, drowsy, distracted, or guilty of another form of negligence, you may be able to hold them liable for your damages. You may also be to hold a trucking company accountable for poor hiring practices or a lack of driver training if those factors caused or contributed to an accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that driver experience can affect a driver’s risk of having an accident. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also dictates the safe amount of driving hours for truckers is about 11 hours of driving after 10 hours of rest. A lack of experience or training or overworking can lead to an accident. Should that occur, a trucker or trucking company may be found negligent for the accident.
Seek Legal Guidance from the Fitch Law Firm, LLC
Our team is just a call away. The Fitch Law Firm, LLC, can help you learn more about how negligence is determined in truck accidents. Call (614) 545-3930 today for legal assistance with your truck accident case. We offer a free case evaluation to all prospective clients.