Understanding Negligence in Truck Accident Cases
Car vs. 18-wheeler, most of the time this doesn’t end well for the person or people in the motor vehicle.
Most of the time the driver of the truck will walk away from the accident unharmed and the people who were in the car are left with serious injuries and in some cases death.
This is a basic size issue; most cars and small trucks are significantly smaller and therefore just by size alone the semi-truck and the driver will mostly end up ok after a collision.
Most truck accidents occur due to negligence by truck drivers for many reasons.
But what exactly is negligence anyway?
Negligence is by definition -Failure to use reasonable care resulting in damage or injury to another.
Just to be clear, if someone is negligent that doesn’t mean it was purposeful.
Truck drivers have a duty to drive according to legal and safety standards and to protect other drivers on the road.
When they don’t this can lead to deadly accidents.
Actually all drivers have the same duty to each other but that doesn’t always work out.
Most trucking accidents are caused by negligence by truck drivers or trucking manufacturers.
Examples of Truck Driver Negligence in Accidents
- Speeding- Speeding is a common cause of accidents. Driving above the posted speed limit by a truck driver can be very dangerous since the vehicle they are driving is so much bigger and heavier than a car therefore making it much harder to slow down or stop in an emergency.
- Distracted driving – Most people think of texting as distracted driving but this also includes talking on the phone, eating, drinking and for the ladies putting on make-up ( we’ve all seen it ).
- Driving when overtired– There are laws and regulations in place to prevent this from happening but yet it still does. Most truck drivers have a time limit to get whatever they are hauling to the location it needs to be. If they are late they may be fined or even lose a bonus so there are incentives to get the load there on time or even early. Even though there are laws, drivers are more motivated to drive over the hours they can legally drive. Remember the movie Smokey and The Bandit? They had 28 hours to go from Atlanta to Texarkana, Texas and back in under 28 hours to get Coors beer. Even in the movies they joke about driving long and tired to get somewhere on time.
- Failing to perform regularly scheduled maintenance– Truck drivers are similar to other commercial drivers in that they are required to regularly run specific safety checks and do regular scheduled maintenance to their vehicle. This also goes for UPS and Amazon trucks.
- Driving under the influence– This is a common problem all over but when a truck driver does it it can be deadly. The funny thing is on the same lot or near all truck rest stops are bars and liquor stores and even though big rig truckers have a cab that has a sleeper car some choose to take the risk and drive after they’ve had a few.
- Reckless driving- Reckless driving can be anything from running a light, making unsafe lane changes, or failure to yield, and unsafe turns
Since most truck drivers are required to have a CDL or commercial drivers license to drive trucks across the country they can be held to a higher standard of driving.
To get a CDL license you must attend school and pass a special exam before you are issued a truck or bus driver license.
What can Semi-Trucks do to Avoid Accidents
Las Vegas is right on the I-15, a cross country highway that stretches from California to Montana before hitting the Canadian Border.
Las Vegas sees a lot of trucking activity on the interstate.
So when driving through Nevada there are a few things that truck drivers can do to avoid dangerous accidents.
- Slow down, do the speed limit and slow down during bad weather or hazardous road conditions and construction.
- Comply with the driving hours restrictions. Get rest, sleep and stop and take breaks.
- Observing all traffic laws and drive safer, no drunk driving.
- Maintain safety and maintenance of vehicle.
- Maintain a safe stopping distance to be able to stop a vehicle of this size properly.
These are just some of the things that truck drivers can do to avoid an accident.
But not all accidents are caused by negligence; it can sometimes just be an accident or maybe faulty equipment that you weren’t aware of like faulty brakes.
Maybe in an accident the police initially say the driver failed to stop properly or fast enough but after an investigation of the truck they find the brakes failed.
The driver would not be held liable for negligence because he didn’t know the brakes failed until he tried to stop.
However the truck company or the brake manufacturer may be held accountable for faulty equipment.
This can only happen after an investigation into the accident.
At Richard Harris we will start a thorough investigation into your case the minute we take the case.
This will always be an independent investigation from the one conducted by the police.
Evidence to Prove Negligence
When claiming negligence against a truck driver or trucking company you need to gather as much evidence as possible as soon after the accident as possible.
Gathering evidence should be something that you do in any accident, but proving negligence in a truck accident there are some very specific pieces of evidence that you should gather when filing a negligence claim.
- Police reports and evidence from the accident scene- This includes police reports, photos, video, witness statements, accident recreation by the police. The police usually do all of this immediately after an accident.
- Truck Drivers Log Book- All truck drivers are required to keep and complete a log book. This is federally regulated and required to be updated daily. Failure to file a log report can also mean they were negligent.
- Truck’s GPS or Blackbox Data- Most trucks now are equipped with GPS trackers, on board computers, blackboxes (just like on an airplane) and even on board camera systems.
- Employment records- All data or records that have anything to do with the driver at the time of the incident. This includes phone records as well.
As an accident victim you need to be proactive in your case and gather as much evidence as possible.
Sometimes this information is not easy to get or you may need a warrant or a subpoena to get the evidence.
An experienced legal team will have an investigative team to help gather all the evidence in your case.
Why Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident involving a big-rig truck or a trucking company you need an experienced law firm to represent you.
Most truck drivers work for large trucking companies or are independent contractors, either way claiming negligence in either case can be difficult.
When you call us for a free consultation and we take your case we immediately take over all the investigation and evidence gathering.
If we think the truck driver or trucking company is negligent we will take your case and fight for the largest settlement allowable by law.
If the truck manufacturer sold faulty equipment we will file a claim against them as well.
If you need a 2nd opinion then call us for that.
The Richard Harris Law Firm has recovered $1 billion for our clients and have been in Las Vegas for over 40 years.