If you have been in an accident with a big rig or truck, you may be considering hiring an attorney to help you. A personal injury lawyer can help you to find evidence of negligence, which allows you to recoup money for your lost wages, medical expenses, and permanent disfigurement or injuries. One of the questions that many people have is how exactly you prove negligence and what an attorney looks for in order to prove negligence when it comes to a truck accident case. Here are some common types of negligence and how an attorney can prove that it occurred.
Driving Under the Influence
When investing a truck accident case, one of the first things that an attorney will look for is evidence that a driver was driving under the influence. This may include alcohol, prescription medications, marijuana, or illegal drugs. In many cases, there will be a police report made and the driver of the big rig will either be questioned by an officer. An officer will look for signs of impairment. Additionally, many commercial truck drivers are required to get a blood test following a truck accident to prove that they were not under the influence. As such, an attorney may subpoena these records to see whether the driver was under the influence of any substances while driving.
The Speed the Driver Was Going
Another factor that a personal injury attorney will look at when investigating a truck accident is what speed the driver was going. If the driver was going above the speed limit or driving too fast for the road conditions, the driver may be guilty of negligence. The speed at which truck drivers can drive is typically lower than the posted speed limit for automobiles. This is because it takes truck drivers longer to come to a full and complete stop due to the weight of their trucks. Accident recreations can help to show if a driver may have been speeding, as can witness statements.
Violations Regarding Hours and Breaks
Truck drivers have to abide by either state or federal laws regarding how many hours a day they can drive, how many hours a day they must sleep, and how frequently they must take breaks. These laws vary based on whether a driver is an interstate or an intrastate truck driver. However, the rules are in place to ensure that truck drivers get the sleep and rest they need to focus on the road. Truck drivers must maintain a logbook that shows how long they slept, how many hours they have been driving per day, and how frequently they take breaks. This logbook can come in vital if an accident occurs, as it can show whether the driver committed any violations in regards to hours and breaks, which can be proof of negligence.
Distracted driving is the leading cause of all automobile accidents and truck accidents. Distracted driving includes texting while driving, making phone calls while driving, inputting information into a GPS system while driving, playing with the radio while driving, or eating while driving. Basically, anything that causes you to take your eyes off of the road or lose focus on what is going on around you can be distracted driving. Distracted driving is illegal and can be a form of negligence. If an attorney suspects a truck driver may have been distracted while driving, they may subpoena phone records to show whether a truck driver was playing with their phone while driving. Witness information may also be crucial to show a driver was distracted behind the wheel.
Reckless or Aggressive Driving
Truck drivers are not immune from driving aggressively or driving recklessly. Unfortunately though, if they do so, they can cause more damage than automobile drivers can. One of the most common forms of reckless or aggressive driving is road rage. Trucks may become upset if someone cuts them off and becomes aggressive. Proving reckless or aggressive driving is not always easy, but lawyers rely on police reports, traffic cameras, and witness statements to show what happened in an accident and how reckless or aggressive driving may have played a role in the accident.
Committing Traffic Infractions
Another form of negligence that can be used to show why a truck driver was at fault for an accident is proving that a truck driver committed traffic infractions while on the road. The most common infraction is illegally changing lanes, but other infractions may include running a red light or not stopping at a stop sign. As is the case with other types of negligence, personal injury attorneys rely on witness statements and police reports to detail what type of infraction was committed. Additionally, many trucks have black boxes in them that record speed, stops, and lane changes. An attorney may subpoena that information if they think the information contained on that box may help show negligence occurred.
The Truck Not Being Properly Maintained
In many cases, an attorney will try to prove that a truck driver was acting negligently. However, this is not the only type of negligence that can occur. In some cases, the owner of the truck or the trucking company can be negligent and can be held responsible for the accident. A truck owner or trucking company is responsible for ensuring that a big rig is properly maintained before it is allowed on the road. Trucks must have a logbook that details when key types of maintenance were performed, including when the brakes were inspected and replaced. If something goes wrong on the truck, such as a tire blowout or the brakes not working, and proper inspections or repairs were not completed, the truck owner may be negligent and can be sued for the accident.
The Driver Not Being Properly Trained or Licensed
The final type of negligence that a personal injury lawyer will look for when a truck accident occurs is the truck driver not being properly trained or licensed. A truck driver must be properly trained and licensed for the type of load they are carrying and the type of truck they are driving. If the driver is not properly trained or licensed, both the driver and the truck company who they are working for could be liable for the accident. An attorney will look at the type of license the driver has and compare that to the type of license needed for the truck and the load that was being transported.
Accidents involving big rigs and trucks can lead to a lot of injuries and medical expenses. You need to hire a personal injury lawyer who has experience handling truck accidents, as the laws are different for big rigs than they are for vehicles. An experienced lawyer will look for evidence of negligence to help win your case. Here at Terry Bryant Accident and Injury Law, we know how life-altering a collision with a truck can be. That’s why we are here to help you. Schedule a consultation with our office today to get the legal help you deserve.