Negligence is the Cause Of Many Trucking Accidents
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Commercial trucks are big, heavy, and dangerous. A big rig or a bus that is out of control will do many times the damage of a car. Big trucks are harder to drive and require more care and maintenance to keep them safe and operable. Their engines and braking systems are complicated. They carry heavy loads, sometimes hazardous materials. All of these factors must be monitored in order to keep other drivers safe on our roads.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates safety. There are strict rules that trucking companies and drivers must follow in order to ensure that these giant trucks navigate our roads safely. If a trucking company or a driver wants to cut corners, for instance by ignoring required repairs and maintenance and passing a semi-truck for inspection when one or more brake pads need to be replaced, they have endangered every other driver on the road and they have violated their duty of care to maintain their truck in a safe operating condition, hence they have been negligent.
Elements of Negligence
In our justice system, nothing is real unless you can prove it. In order to prove negligence caused your horrific trucking accident in civil court, you must show that all four elements of negligence were contributing causes of the accident and your injuries:
- Somebody owed you a duty of ordinary care. In a trucking accident, it could be the trucking company or the driver that owes people on the road a duty to drive safely and reasonably.
- They breached that duty of ordinary care. A breach could include many different acts, or failing to do something important like maintain the truck according to FMCSA standards, or to get enough rest. Poor maintenance of the truck, speeding, or driver fatigue are both negligent.
- The breach of that duty of care caused you injury. You were injured in the truck accident which was caused by the negligent driver or trucking company, or your property was destroyed, or both.
- The harm caused monetary losses. The crash caused your injuries resulting in loss of income, disability, and/or emotion and physical pain and suffering.
How to Prove Negligence
In a civil court the standard of proof is defined as a “preponderance of the evidence” which is a legal term for “more likely than not (51%)”. In order to prove civil negligence you must show concrete proof that an somebody, such as the trucking company or a driver, did something or failed to do something which caused the accident. It was “more likely than not” the truck driver was speeding or made a wrong turn which caused your broken leg in the crash.
There are many things that could go wrong when operating a big truck. Maybe the company pressured drivers to meet unrealistic deadlines to deliver their loads, and the accident was caused by driver fatigue. Maybe the driver was speeding or carrying an oversized load without a permit or their load wasn’t secured properly, in violation of FMCSA rules.
In order to prove the case, you must obtain records, interview witnesses and gather all evidence. This may be difficult to do, especially since you most likely have no experience in these matters, and if you are recovering from a serious injury and unable to work you probably don’t have the resources to pursue an investigation.
The trucking company does not have to give you access to their records, or to the Black Box recording that many trucks now have. In order to gain access to the evidence that will prove the driver or trucking company was negligent, you may have to file a civil lawsuit and demand the evidence during discovery.
You could trust the trucker or trucking company to admit they were to blame and the truck driver’s insurance company to offer you a fair settlement, or you can protect yourself and hire a law firm with experienced attorneys and investigators to:
- Gather the evidence necessary to prove exactly what happened;
- Analyze what happened and who is/are responsible, therefore liable;
- Demand the maximum settlement amount you are entitled to; or if needed
- File a case in civil court to obtain justice.
Negligence Lawsuit – Going to Court With A Truck Accident Law Firm
Civil litigation is time consuming and expensive. Juries can be unpredictable and have been known to award large amounts of money in punitive damages to punish wrongdoing and discourage others from behaving the same way. On the flip side, juries have also awarded nothing or nearly nothing in cases. Therefore, if you and your lawyers have prepared a strong case that is likely to win at trial, then it more likely that the insurance and/or trucking company will want to settle with you and offer you a fair dollar amount to cover all your losses, including:
- Property damage;
- Medical bills, including future treatment, surgeries and therapy;
- Lost wages, including future earnings;
- Pain and suffering, physical and emotion.
A horrific trucking accident could leave you permanently disabled, and the amount of money you need to pay your bills and go forward could be huge. If you have an experienced truck accident law firm in your corner the insurance company will have the choice to either pony up the money or face a civil lawsuit.
In order to demand a fair and just settlement amount, your attorney will need to investigate and gather tangible evidence such as:
- Witness statements;
- Accident scene investigation and analysis;
- Black Box recording from the truck;
- Company records, including electronic files and communications;
- Medical records;
- Maintenance and repair records on the truck;
- Driver’s employment records;
- Driver’s records, including criminal and DMV;
- Any past complaints against the company or driver.;
- Accident reconstruction, if necessary.
Because these accidents involve grave injury, property damage, and death the company is not going to want to freely give you their records and information on what happened, but an attorney who is experienced in these matters knows how to gather the necessary evidence to prove what happened and who is/are responsible. Then, your attorney will have the power to demand maximum damages from the negligent party or parties.
Isaacs & Isaacs truck accident lawyers have been fighting for victims of truck accidents for decades. We have recovered over $890 million dollars for our clients across the country.
Investigating truck accidents can be expensive, but you shouldn’t have to worry about that. We will bear the cost of filing a lawsuit for you so you can focus on healing and going forward with your life.
We will represent you on a contingency fee basis–we don’t get paid until and unless we get you your money. We have a 99% success rate in obtaining fair settlements or jury awards for our clients nationwide.