Negligence is established in a truck accident through careful preservation of evidence, an independent investigation, the use of expert witnesses, and building a strong personal injury case.
How Determining Negligence in a Truck Accident Differs From Passenger Vehicle Accidents
There are several reasons that make the determination of negligence in a truck accident much more complex and legally challenging than in a passenger vehicle accident. Some of the differentiating factors between the two types of accidents include the following:
- The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) reports that large commercial trucks often weigh over 80,000 pounds, nearly 20 times the weight of an ordinary vehicle. This makes the devastation following a trucking accident much more catastrophic, including more risk for multiple-car pileups, hazardous or toxic cargo spills, severe injuries, and fatalities.
- Because trucking accident scenes can include multiple vehicles or toxic chemicals, many emergency vehicles, police officers, independent investigators from insurance companies, and even hazmat crew arrive at the scene of the accident. Multiple parties on the scene of a trucking accident may make the determination of liability challenging.
- Multiple parties can remain liable for injuries suffered by a victim of a trucking accident including the truck driver, trucking company, cargo-loading company, repair or maintenance company, or manufacturer if the investigation proves a manufacturing defect caused the accident.
- Multiple witness accounts of a severe truck accident can make the determination of liability even more complicated and challenging.
As a result, many victims of truck accidents make the decision to help ensure their legal rights remain protected by consulting with a truck accident attorney who can assist in helping determine and establish negligence in a truck accident.
Careful Preservation of Evidence
One of the most critical components of a truck accident case and determining negligence rests with the evidence collected regarding the trucking accident. Unfortunately, some truck drivers and trucking companies may attempt to hide or limit their liability by destroying evidence related to the trucking accident. A trucking accident lawyer can issue a spoliation letter, which requires that all parties associated or involved in the trucking accident must preserve any and all evidence that may even remotely relate to the accident. If a truck driver or trucking company fails to preserve this evidence, a court of law can issue serious penalties and sanctions against them. The preservation of evidence remains a critical component in determining negligence in a truck accident.
Consulting with Expert Witnesses
While medical experts can help confirm the injuries suffered by victims of a truck accident, there are many more types of expert witnesses often needed in trucking accidents. Due to the complicated nature of trucking accidents, many trucking accident attorneys will request the advice and expertise of an accident reconstruction specialist to help determine what the true cause of the accident was, thus helping to determine negligence. Other expert witnesses regarding federal regulations such as Hours of Service Regulations per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), trucking safety guidelines, cargo-loading standards, manufacturing defects, and more can all provide vital and critical information to develop the establishment of liability and negligence in a truck accident case.
Building a Personal Injury Case
Every truck accident case will have a different set of facts and circumstances. However, in every truck accident case, California’s statute of limitations laws allows a victim only two years from the date of the accident to file a claim in court. This means that if an appropriate settlement amount is not offered by the insurance company to the victim, the victim has two years from the date of the truck accident to file a claim in court. During this time, a victim must receive medical treatment, follow medical care guidelines established by the medical professional, collect information regarding lost wages, calculate pain and suffering, calculate other noneconomic damages such as loss of enjoyment of life, and perhaps most importantly – make a correct determination of negligence in order to correctly establish which party (or parties) have a legal responsibility to compensate a victim for their injuries and losses. While two years may sound like a long period of time, the determination of negligence in a trucking accident case can prove legally complex and challenging.
Learn How a Trucking Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Because each truck accident case has different circumstances, consider contacting our legal team to learn how negligence would be established in your truck accident case. We can help you understand which party or parties would have a legal liability to reimburse and compensate you for all of your injuries and losses. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 223-5115 to help you understand your legal rights and ensure they remain protected.