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How Liability Can Be Determined In Truck Accidents

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 3,978 trucks were involved in accidents that resulted in fatalities in 2014. While the numbers have decreased somewhat, truck accidents are still a cause for concern. When a truck accident happens, the most crucial thing is to determine liability. Determining which party is at fault clarifies who should be held responsible for paying for any of the accident costs, including medical treatment.


Truck accident liability can fall onto any or all of the following parties:


  • The owner of the truck.
  • The truck driver.
  • The commercial company that leased the trailer or truck.
  • The shipper or loader.
  • The manufacturer of the truck, tires, or other truck part that may have caused the accident.


The players involved in truck accidents often try to transfer liability to each other. For instance, a trucking company may blame the accident on defective brakes. The manufacturer can also argue that the trucking company failed to maintain the brakes. These back and forth exchanges can drag out the claims process for a long time. This works to the disadvantage of the victim who was injured in the accident.


If you have suffered injuries and it is not clear who is at fault, you should consider engaging the services of  Charlottesville VA injury lawyers. Our lawyers are available to assist you and we may be in a position to help you recover your damages.


Liability and Negligence


When it comes to auto accident claims, two commonly used terms are negligence and liability.

  • Liability is the legal responsibility to pay for the damages incurred when at fault.
  • Negligence is when does not exercise a duty of care and the person’s actions or inaction leads to an accident which results in harming someone.


Liability in accidents falls on the negligent party.


Duty of Reasonable Care


Drivers owe a duty of care to avoid causing harm to other drivers and pedestrians. The following are examples:


  • Driving within the stipulated speed limit.
  • Stopping at stop signs and red lights.
  • Watching the road.
  • Avoiding distractions.
  • Making necessary repairs on one’s vehicle.


How to Prove Fault


Fault and liability are proven using evidence. This evidence may constitute photos taken at the scene of the accident and witness testimonies. It can also prove to be very decisive to involve a personal injury lawyer from the onset. In addition to providing many other services, they can build your case while you take time to recover from your injuries.


After it’s established who is at fault for the accident, damages may be awarded based on the costs of repairs and injuries. There are instances when more than one party is liable. In these scenarios, the courts may use comparative negligence or contributory negligence to calculate damages.


Comparative Negligence


Comparative negligence is applied when both or all parties are at fault. The courts will assign financial responsibility to each of the parties responsible. For instance, if you were injured in a truck accident and found to be 30% at fault, then you can only receive 70% of the compensation. You need to bear in mind that state laws differ. In some instances, you are not allowed to collect any compensation if you were more than 50% at fault.


Contributory Negligence


Contributory negligence denies you of any compensation if you were found to be partly at fault. It is wise to seek legal consultation to understand the laws that apply to your case. Again, injury cases are bound by a statute of limitations. Any claim should be filed within the stipulated time frame. As personal injury lawyers, we may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from MartinWren, P.C. for their insight into truck accident cases.