Accidents involving tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks can be life-altering. Even if you believe a truck driver was responsible for causing a crash, proving negligence in these types of cases can be challenging. Trucking companies and their insurers typically refuse to admit that their driver was at fault, so it is critical to hire a top car accident lawyer who understands how to prove negligence in these types of complex cases.
Causes of Truck Accidents Involving Truck Driver Negligence
Drowsy Driving – Even the most experienced truck driver can become impaired when driving while fatigued, Unfortunately, many trucking companies push drivers to make challenging deadlines and drive long hours without resting, leading to thousands of truck accidents each year.
Intoxication – Truck drivers who use drugs or drink pose a serious danger on the road. Impaired driving can lead to delayed reaction times, lack of coordination, reduced concentration, impaired vision, and poor judgment. Many accidents are caused by drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Truckers in this condition have delayed reaction times and often cannot avoid an accident.
Lack of experience or training – Truck drivers must be well-trained to properly maneuver large vehicles. Inexperienced, untrained drivers who do not have an understanding of how to handle hazards and potentially dangerous situations can cause significant injuries and fatalities.
Distracted driving – A truck driver can be distracted by their phone, equipment, work logs, or maps. Truck drivers who take their eyes off the road for just a few seconds can cause serious truck accidents including multi-car pileups, which can hurt or kill multiple parties.
Speeding and/or reckless driving – Reckless or aggressive driving and speeding cause thousands of needless accidents each year. When a trucker engages in these types of hazardous behaviors, the consequences can be deadly.
Truck Driver Negligence and Duty of Care
There are four elements to proving negligence in a truck accident case:
- The truck driver a duty of care
- The truck driver breached that duty
- An innocent victim sustained injuries
- The victim’s losses and injuries happened because of the breach of duty
Multiple parties may be liable in a truck driver negligence accident claim, including the truck driver and trucking company.
Investigating Truck Accident Claims
Truck accident claims are complex and require extensive investigation. Truck drivers, trucking companies, and other parties involved in the transportation of cargo must follow regulations set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Personal injury lawyers who have experience handling these types of cases understand that comprehensive evaluation of the truck driver’s and trucking company’s records is vital to establishing fault and determining whether FMCSA regulations have been violated. A truck accident attorney may use expert witnesses with a background in the trucking industry to identify inconsistencies, errors, and omissions that could indicate misconduct or negligence. Examples of evidence that can be used to prove truck driver negligence include:
- The driving and training records of the driver
- The truck driver’s medical records
- Logbooks, which include the number of hours driven, stops, breaks, and other information
- The truck’s black box recorder, which keeps track of travel and engine data
- Cell phone records
- Truck maintenance records
- Evidence of previous accidents or claims
Photos of the scene and vehicle damage, witness statements, police reports, and other valuable evidence can also help your lawyer prove negligence. An experienced accident lawyer will know how to determine which parties may be liable for damages, and to put all the evidence together to form a solid claim.
If you have been hurt or have lost a loved one in an accident with a commercial vehicle, contact an attorney.