While car accidents and truck accidents share many similar legal characteristics, there are some elements that make them decidedly different when trying to seek compensation if you have been injured in a truck accident.
Because the weight and size differences are significant, the chances for a catastrophic incident are greatly increased when a truck is involved. Statistically, truck drivers are less likely to be involved in an accident than car drivers, but still, in a typical year about 4,000 people will die, and another 100,000 people will suffer injuries involving trucks.
Aside from a weight differential as much as 25 times more than an average car, what complicates a truck accident is trying to determine who all the potential defendants might be. The driver of the truck is a natural possibility, but the list of defendants may be much longer than that.
For example, if it can be shown the truck had documented safety issues that had not been resolved, then the company that owns the rig could be held liable as well. If it can be shown that the driver was acting in the course of his relationship with him and his company, this may also lead to the company being held liable as well. In some instances, the contents of a truck are hazardous, and the owners of the contents could also be held liable as well.
Sometimes, an accident that took place on a roadway that was under construction or was somehow shown to be unsafe may mean the government entity in charge of oversight of that roadway could be held liable too.
The key to winning a truck accident case…
After the responsible parties have been identified, an attorney must then take the right steps to hold them accountable. In truck accident cases, as in all personal injury cases, the key to winning a case is being able to prove that the defendants were negligent.
In many truck accident cases, an attorney will be going up against attorneys representing large firms with considerable legal defenses. To win, an attorney must be fully prepared with strong arguments, sound evidence, the testimony of expert witnesses, and a full understanding of every detail of the case.
There are several specific steps involved in proving negligence. First, it must be shown that the defendants owed the plaintiffs a duty to exercise reasonable care of duty to avoid injuries or death. For example, this means not speeding, especially under less than ideal conditions such as rain or at night. Next, it must be shown that the defendants breached that duty. Perhaps a truck driver ran a red light, or a trucking company did not perform adequate maintenance on a truck. Finally, an attorney must show that the failure of the defendants to exercise reasonable care was the direct result of the plaintiff’s losses.
The Law Offices of Donald D. Hiney serves clients in San Diego, Chula Vista, and surrounding San Diego communities.