If you’ve been in a trucking collision, the first step is proving negligence and this can be more challenging than people realize. This is why working with a reputable attorney is a must—they know what judges and juries look for with negligence, how to pinpoint the right evidence and how to present it in the best light. However, it’s also important for you to know the key points in proving negligence to make the most of your case.
Every driver on the road has a duty, but truck drivers have a little more duty than the average commuter taking the kids to school. Duties include obeying traffic laws, defensive driving and basically doing your best to make sure the road is as safe as possible. Of course, truckers have more laws to follow than other drivers and they may also be bound by the laws and regulations of their employer. Proving that duty was not followed is an integral aspect of proving negligence.
The second step is for the plaintiff to show evidence that injuries were directly caused by the negligence (and breach of duty) of the other driver. These injuries cannot be caused by anything else, and this is where things can get tricky. For example, there may be previous injuries that were exacerbated by the accident (which may be a cause in fact) or perhaps the driver was already injured in a completely unrelated incident. Expert witnesses such as physicians may be necessary for this stage.
Showing Proximate Cause
A driver is held responsible for someone else’s injuries if a proximate cause (such as driving recklessly) is proven to have caused injuries. Anyone behind the wheel knows that reckless driving is dangerous and can cause serious injuries. Therefore, driving recklessly means that driver is liable because they could have foreseen the injury. On the other hand, if the accident was truly an accident and no reckless driving was involved, there is no negligence and no liability.
Once all other aspects of negligence have been adequately proven, the damages come into play. During this stage, the plaintiff has to prove not only that the other person was negligent and caused injuries, but showcase exactly what the damages are. This may be proven via medical records and expert witnesses as well as any police reports.
Sometimes, the truck driver’s employer may be found negligent, too. Perhaps it wasn’t necessarily the truck driver’s fault, but the rig wasn’t maintained or the driver didn’t receive training for the vehicle. Sometimes both the driver and the employer may be found at fault. If you’re the victim of a truck accident, you have many tools at your disposal including police reports, witnesses, medical records and an attorney you’ve chosen with experience in negligent trucking cases.