Proving Fault in a Truck Accident Lawsuit
Negligence is arguably the most common cause of action in a personal injury lawsuit. The law of negligence deals with situations where someone is harmed by another person or entity’s actions that fall below a certain standard of care. While this body of law varies from state to state, the general idea is that we all have a duty to avoid actions that harm others.
For instance, motorists must obey the law and take reasonable steps to avoid collisions.
The law of negligence is important because when you are harmed by another person or entity’s negligence, you have a right to recover compensation for the harm caused by their actions. However, you cannot simply accuse someone of negligence; the law has set forth specific requirements that must be established before a wrongdoer is held responsible for someone else’s injuries.
- The liable party had a duty to act reasonably
- The liable party failed to act reasonably
- The liable party’s unreasonable acts caused the harm complained of
Whether a trucker’s actions are negligent depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. There are obvious situations of negligence that can cause a truck accident, such as rear-ending a vehicle, and more complicated situations of negligence, such as failing to load or secure cargo or failing to maintain the truck. In other situations, a truck accident may be caused by a factor completely outside a truck driver’s control. Whatever the case, trained truck accident attorneys can identify the root cause of a crash and determine who is responsible.
Identifying the Responsible Party in a Truck Accident Case
A host of issues can arise when proving negligence in a semi-truck accident. This has little to do with your injuries and everything to do with the parties involved.
When two standard motorists are involved in a crash, one driver may accept responsibility and admit that their actions were negligent. Truck accident cases are rarely that simple. This is because 18-wheeler cases involve many different parties, the injuries are usually more serious, and there is typically much more money at stake. When dealing with a truck accident, a skilled truck accident attorney will consider the actions of:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company responsible for the driver and truck
- Repair or maintenance providers that recently serviced the truck
- The loading and shipping company
- The manufacturer of the truck
In a lawsuit, all wrongdoers have the same goal—limit liability by blaming someone else. As you can imagine, the more entities involved, the more difficulties arise and must be dealt with before receiving fair compensation. Even when you did not cause the accident, recovering compensation may be difficult.
It is generally wise to have an experienced 18-wheeler accident attorney on your side to ensure your rights are adequately protected. A trained and experienced lawyer understands how to identify the parties responsible for an 18-wheeler crash and the information needed to prove their negligence.
Gathering Evidence to Prove Liability
Every day, motorists share the road with commercial truckers, expecting the professional behind the wheel to be a qualified and safe driver. Unfortunately, sometimes, truckers fall far short of these expectations, and you may be involved in an 18-wheeler accident. When this happens, determining liability can be difficult. As mentioned above, there are usually multiple parties involved in a single 18-wheeler crash, and no party wants to accept liability.
To determine who is responsible for your injuries, a detailed investigation of the accident must be conducted. At the Ammons Law Firm, our trained truck accident lawyers conduct extensive investigations for our clients to ensure all parties responsible are appropriately identified and prosecuted. This investigation includes:
- Recovering dashcam footage
- Interviewing the truck driver and employer
- Obtaining accident and incident reports from local and federal authorities
- Obtaining surveillance footage within the accident vicinity
- Interviewing first-hand witnesses
- Reconstructing the accident sequence
- Inspecting the truck
- Obtaining records from the truck driver and employer, including data from the truck’s electronic data recorder; the truck driver’s logs; cargo manifest records and bills of lading; truck, trailer, and load inspection records; truck and trailer maintenance records; the truck driver’s driving record, both the official state driving record and prior incident reports from the employer
Information is power in truck accident cases because it provides a picture of what happened before the accident. While some truck accidents are simply driver errors, many involve negligent shippers, brokers, and corporations that are not discovered until all relevant information is gathered and analyzed.
Our truck accident lawyers have extensive experience identifying all responsible parties and prosecuting truck accident claims. Contact us online to learn how we can help you without any upfront fees or expenses.