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How Is Fault Determined in a Truck Accident Case?

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In most cases, when a massive commercial truck is involved in an accident with a passenger vehicle, the occupants often suffer severe or fatal injuries. The medical expenses and other losses associated with a truck accident can accumulate quickly, mainly when the injuries are catastrophic. If you suffered a devastating injury in a truck accident, you must be able to prove that the truck driver or another liable party was at fault for the accident. This can be a complicated process since multiple parties may be liable. To recover the financial damages you deserve, it is highly recommended that you contact an experienced truck accident lawyer.

Determining fault in a truck accident is complicated because several parties may be held liable, depending on the exact cause of the accident. For example, if the accident was caused by distracted driving, the truck driver may be considered at fault. However, several other parties could be liable as well. The following are examples of the potentially responsible parties in a truck accident case:

  • The truck driver: Driver negligence is the most common cause of truck accidents. This can include distracted driving, drowsy driving, speeding, improper lane changes, reckless driving, and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • The trucking company: If the truck company fails to maintain the trucks, make any necessary repairs, hires unqualified drivers, does not provide the required training, or pressures drivers to violate the federal hours of service to meet tight delivery deadlines, the truck company may be held liable for an accident.
  • The truck manufacturer: If a truck manufacturer either makes or sells a defective part responsible for a truck accident, the manufacturer may be liable.
  • The maintenance company: If the company responsible for inspecting and maintaining the truck fails to fix or replace damaged equipment, they will likely share liability with the trucking company.
  • The loading company: When a commercial truck is not correctly loaded, the cargo can loosen, making it difficult for the truck driver to maintain control. In some cases, this can cause the cargo to come loose and fall onto the road, hitting other nearby vehicles. If the loading company does not correctly load and secure the cargo, it may be liable for an accident.

How Do I Prove That Another Party Was at Fault for Causing a Truck Accident?

You must establish that negligence was a factor to prove that another party was responsible for your injuries. This involves demonstrating the following:

  • The other party owed you a duty of care, meaning they were responsible for acting as a reasonable person would under similar circumstances.
  • The other party breached the duty of care.
  • The breach in care caused your injuries.
  • You suffered financial damages as a result of the injury.

You can demonstrate several ways the truck driver or another negligence party was responsible for causing the accident and the resulting injuries. For example, you could take pictures of the accident scene, including pictures of your vehicle, the position of the truck, skid marks on the road, and other relevant evidence. If witnesses saw the accident happen, ask if they would be willing to provide a statement and ask for their contact information.

Another critical piece of evidence that can help prove that negligence was a factor is the truck’s data recorder, or “black box.” This records a wide range of data, including the truck’s speed at the time of the accident, the force of impact, the acceleration and deceleration speeds, whether the truck driver applied the brakes before the accident, and steering angles. Your lawyer can request the black box data from the trucking company or file a court order to obtain the data if they do not comply with the request. The black box data can often provide the evidence needed to prove liability.

What if I am Partially At Fault for Causing the Truck Accident?

Ohio is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning you can recover financial damages if injured in a truck accident. However, the total damages you are entitled to will be reduced by the percentage of your shared liability. Keep in mind, however, that if you are found to be more than 50 percent liable, you will likely be unable to recover any damages. It is highly recommended that you consult with a lawyer who will review the details of your case and ensure that your legal rights are protected.

Dayton Truck Accident Lawyers at Wright & Schulte LLC Represent Clients Injured in Truck Accidents

If you were seriously injured in a truck accident, you are urged to contact our Dayton truck accident lawyers at Wright & Schulte LLC at your earliest convenience. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 937-222-7477 or contact us online. We are located in Dayton, Ohio, and we serve clients in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Centerville, Toledo, Youngstown, and Miamisburg.