Truck accident negligence can be a difficult area of law to define and understand. Some cases of truck driver or trucking company negligence are clear-cut, but others are murkier. No matter the case, establishing truck accident negligence is the key to securing a successful outcome in a trucking accident lawsuit.
The experienced lawyers at Pierce | Skrabanek understand the complexities of establishing truck accident negligence. We can put this experience to use to help victims in Texas.
In the legal world, negligence is defined as acting below the average standard of care. For truck accidents, this could mean proving the truck driver, the trucking company or the truck manufacturer was responsible for the crash.
For example, an obvious case of truck driver negligence would be if a truck driver driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol struck your vehicle and caused an injury. It was negligent for the truck driver to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. But it can get much more complicated. It may be that the trucking company was liable for an accident for not properly maintaining the truck, or perhaps even a manufacturer sold a defective mechanical part. Perhaps it is a combination of these issues.
Once truck accident negligence is established, that party can be held responsible for the injuries and damage inflicted.
Truck Driver Liability
A truck driver can be found negligent if he or she drives too fast, recklessly, under the influence of alcohol or fails to obey any number of safety regulations. Federal law limits how many hours a driver can drive and requires that all drivers maintain certain records. Failing to do so can amount to liability.
Trucking Company Liability
The trucking companies that employ drivers are responsible for properly training drivers, conducting background checks to eliminate at-risk drivers, ensuring drivers are not exhausted from driving too many hours and for conducting alcohol and drug tests. The company must also keep trucks in good working order and abide by numerous federal regulations.
Companies that manufacture trucks have a responsibility to the public to make tractor-trailers that are free of defective parts. This includes everything from the motor to the brakes to the restraints that hold the cargo. A mechanical failure on a highway can have horrific consequences.
Truck accident negligence could be established if any of these parties is found to have failed to meet these basic standards, however, negligence in trucking accidents can come in many more forms.
Truck Driver Negligence
Of the parties that can be found liable in semi truck accidents, negligence most commonly falls on the truck driver. One mistake or bad decision by a truck driver can turn a 40-ton truck into an out-of-control battering ram careening down the highway.
Some of the most common examples of truck driver negligence our office sees:
- Alcohol and substances abuse
- Dangerous lane changes
- Distracted driving
- Driving unsafely for given weather conditions
- Extreme or unsafe turns
- Failing to inspect vehicles
- Failing to see blind spots
- Falsifying driver logs to exceed maximum hours allowable on the road
- Following too closely or tailgating
- Improperly securing cargo
Defective, Faulty and Malfunctioning Truck Parts
Trucking companies must ensure their trucks are always safe to drive. They must conduct routine maintenance and inspections to make sure their drivers and everyone else on the road is not put in danger.
If left unmaintained, parts critical to a truck’s safety can become faulty. Because trucks are so massive, one faulty part can lead to a devastating trucking accident. Brake systems can malfunction. Taillights, signal lights or brake lights can break. Warning devices intended to signal dangerous situations to drivers can falter.
These are examples of truck accident negligence. When these safety hazards cause a truck crash, trucking companies can and should be held responsible for the damages they cause.
Establishing a Legal Claim For Negligence
As with any personal injury case, your attorney will need to establish negligence to secure compensation.
To establish negligence, four criteria must be met:
- A truck accident attorney must prove the party had a duty to act in a responsible way that would not have put you at risk.
- Breach. It must be proven that the party breached that duty.
- The party’s actions must be the direct cause of your injury.
- Damages. Your attorney must prove that you suffered harm as a result of the injuries.
Every case is complicated and different in its own way. You will need a truck injury lawyer to navigate the bumps along the road to the settlement or verdict you need to move on in life. Our attorneys have experience building these cases in Texas.
The truck accident attorneys at Pierce | Skrabanek are here to help guide you and win your case. Call us today at (832) 690-7000 or contact us online. Our consultation is free. We’ll be waiting to help.