Who is at fault for an accident with an 18-wheeler?
Trucking companies, as well as their drivers, are supposed to adhere to safety regulations and conduct operations in a safe manner. However, there are those who disregard regulations and operate the large trucks with negligence. It is these individuals who cause traffic accidents which leave a typical vehicle in shambles, causing extensive injuries or even fatalities. A standard vehicle is no match for an 18-wheeler truck and accidents involving these types of vehicles often end in death.
If a commercial truck driver does not follow the proper driving regulations or their truck is poorly maintained, it can lead to serious injuries or deaths during an accident. If you or someone you love has been involved in a semi-truck accident, contact our attorneys at Cueria Law Firm. Our New Orleans personal injury attorneys are prepared to consult with you about your case and help you fight for compensation.
Determining Who is At Fault
When a semi-truck accident occurs, it is very important to determine who is at fault. The legal principle of negligence needs to be determined. An insurance company and the court will assign fault based on the idea of negligence or the failure of a driver to exercise what is known as their ‘duty of care’. Basically, the driver that was more careless and whose carelessness led to the accident and subsequent injuries during the incident will be considered the one at fault.
Negligence can be determined based on eyewitness accounts of the accident as well as citations that are given on the scene. Police officers will arrive on the scene and interview all drivers involved, along with vehicle passengers and any witnesses. A police report will be filed which includes the officer’s opinion as well. Any traffic violations will be investigated that took place before the accident or during with citations given when necessary.
At Cueria Law Firm, we point out to our clients that the police report does not necessarily determine who is at fault. A court may find the police report to be hearsay and does not include the report as admissible evidence.
Three Negligence Standards in the United States
As per construction law specialist Greg Trif, in the United States, there are three basic negligence laws that are practiced across the board. These are pure comparative fault, pure contributory negligence, and modified comparative fault. Our attorneys can explain these three laws to you and how they apply to your individual case.
- With pure contributory negligence, the rule states that if one driver contributed even a small part to the accident, then that individual is unable to recover damages and are considered the one at fault. The rule can be disputed if the plaintiff is able to prove the defendant was knowingly negligent.
- With pure comparative fault, the law notes that fault lies between both drivers. The plaintiff can sue for damages based on a portion of the fault of the defendant if the plaintiff is found to be the majority at fault.
- Modified comparative fault follows this same rule but stops the plaintiff from suing for damages when they are over 50% at fault.
The Responsibility of the Trucking Company
Regarding a semi-truck accident, the trucking company that operates the vehicle can be at fault. The trucking company is responsible for ensuring the truck is properly maintained as well as hiring only drivers who are responsible and skilled. The company is also responsible for ensuring drivers are not fatigued and driving while tired. Due to these responsibilities, the truck company can be found liable for an accident you were involved in.
The initial steps after an accident with an 18-wheeler may seem daunting in the moment, however you’ll be happy that you followed the steps later on. At Cueria Law Firm, we can help when you or someone you love is involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler.