How Do You Prove a Truck Driver’s Negligence After an Accident?
Truck driver negligence comes in many different forms, but it always has the potential to cause catastrophic accidents for average motorists. Trucks are heavier and more sluggish compared to passenger vehicles, and they may struggle with exceptionally slow braking. In addition, they often carry dangerous cargo. With all that said, even the most dangerous and poorly maintained trucks can be safe if they are operated by responsible drivers. On the other hand, a brief act of negligence behind the wheel of a truck can make the most advanced safety features useless. What can you do if you have been injured by a truck driver, and how can you prove that their negligence led directly to your crash?
The Elements of Negligence
In order to establish negligence, you must show that four factors exist:
- Duty of Care: The first step is to show that the defendant owed you a duty of care. In other words, they had a legal responsibility to behave in a safe manner and avoid causing other people to suffer injuries.
- Breach of Duty: The next step is to show that the defendant breached this duty of care in some way. In other words, they failed to act in a safe manner.
- Causation: Next, you must show that this failure led directly to your injuries. In other words, you need to establish a “causational link” between the defendant’s wrongdoing and your injuries.
- Injuries: finally, you must show that the defendant’s actions (or inactions) caused you to suffer real, documentable injuries.
How Do I Establish the Negligence of a Truck Driver?
Establishing the negligence of a truck driver might follow this general process:
- First, you would establish that the truck driver owed you a duty of care, arguing that by using a public road, they were expected to use a reasonable amount of care, respect the traffic regulations, and avoid causing accidents.
- Second, you would point to specific acts of misconduct committed by the truck driver. You might need to provide evidence to help establish that these acts (or inactions) actually took place.
- Third, you would show that this misconduct led directly to your accident. You might argue that if the truck driver had not committed this misconduct, your accident would have never happened.
- Finally, you would provide evidence of your injuries. You might do this by showing relevant parties your medical records, medical images, and doctors’ notes. This evidence should establish that you have suffered real injuries as a result of the crash.
Examples of Truck Negligence
Here are some examples of trucker negligence:
- Intoxication: Perhaps the most obvious form of trucker negligence is also one of the most common: Intoxication. It is no secret that many truckers become intoxicated behind the wheel. Some take illicit drugs and stimulants to stay awake for long periods. These drugs may cause truckers to become erratic or aggressive while slowing their reflexes. Drinking and driving is also relatively common among truckers.
- Distraction: Truckers often struggle with the monotony of long hauls, and they may address their boredom with dangerous distractions. Distracted driving might involve texting, eating, reading, watching videos, and much more.
- Traffic Violations: Traffic violations are clear examples of negligence. Examples include speeding, reckless driving, road rage incidents, illegal turns, failure to properly merge, parking in an unsafe location, and much more.
- Failure to Maintain the Vehicle: Some trucking companies fail to properly inspect and maintain their fleets of trucks. This can lead to dangerous mechanical failures such as brake failure, tire failure, and much more.
- Driving Too Many Hours without Breaks: Truckers are legally required to take breaks after driving for a certain number of hours. Drowsy driving can easily lead to crashes, and in many cases, it is even more dangerous than drinking and driving.
- Driving in Unsafe Conditions: Truckers are also legally required to pull over and stop if road conditions become unsafe. Examples include heavy rain, heavy winds, snow, ice, fog, and anything else that impedes a trucker’s ability to drive safely.
- Dangerous Cargo: Finally, trucking companies may negligently pack or secure cargo. This cargo might become dislodged mid-journey, impacting other vehicles and causing serious accidents.
Find a Truck Accident Attorney
If you have been injured by a truck accident, your best bet is to get in touch with a qualified injury attorney at your earliest convenience. Choose the Personal Injury Legal Group to immediately start discussing the best way to collect evidence of negligence. Each case is slightly different, and online research cannot help you determine the type of evidence that might be useful based on your unique situation. During a consultation, you can determine the most appropriate course of legal action alongside a legal professional. Contact Personal Injury Legal Group today to begin the discussion.