When it comes to trucking accidents, fault is not always clear cut.
You might ask, “What if I am partly to blame for the trucking accident?” This can immediately complicate matters, dissolve straightforward fault lines, and bring in a host of legal complexities that can make seeking justice feel like navigating through a labyrinth. Even if you are partly at fault, however, that does not prevent you from seeking compensation.
Whether you are a driver, a passenger, or an innocent bystander, a lawyer who understands the potential repercussions of partial fault in a trucking accident can help you manage your expectations. A Macon truck accident lawyer can provide critical insights into the complex world of trucking accidents and how fault allocation can determine your best course of action.
Danger of Trucking Accidents
Trucking accidents usually involve collisions between a large truck, typically a commercial vehicle such as an eighteen-wheeler or freight truck, and other vehicles or pedestrians, resulting in damage, injury, or death. Common causes of these incidents include improperly loaded cargo or mechanical failure.
Statistics and Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
Trucking accidents account for a considerable number of road accidents worldwide. In the United States alone, over half a million trucking accidents occur yearly. Although most truck accidents involve only property damage, a significant percentage results in injuries or deaths. In one year, approximately 107,000 truck accidents led to injuries, and another 4,888 truck collisions resulted in fatalities, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Common causes of truck accidents include truck driver error (which is the leading cause), equipment failure, improper loading of cargo, road and weather conditions, and negligence on the part of the trucking company in terms of maintenance and driver training.
You may realize you are not necessarily at fault for the truck accident. The chaos of an accident can often lead to a warped perspective, and you may not know all of the contributing factors leading up to the crash.
Never admit fault for an accident. Immediately contact a truck accident attorney. An investigation may reveal evidence that the truck driver or another party caused the crash, not you.
How Can You Hold a Truck Company Liable for a Truck Accident?
You can hold a trucking company liable for a truck accident in several ways. It may have cut corners on safety to save time or money or failed to maintain the vehicle properly. You can hold the company accountable if it hired a driver with a poor safety record or inadequate qualification, failed to properly train its drivers, or allowed or encouraged unsafe practices, such as driving longer hours than legally permitted without breaks.
Determining Fault in Trucking Accidents
Determining fault for a truck accident requires an in-depth investigation to consider all available evidence. It also involves understanding the role of law enforcement and insurance companies and the importance of gathering sufficient evidence to support your case.
Authorities consider factors such as eyewitness accounts, police reports, photos and videos from the scene, vehicle damage, skid mark analysis, expert testimony, and evidence from within the truck. Many commercial vehicles have black box devices that can record vital operational information such as speed and any alerts relating to equipment malfunction. A truck accident lawyer can seek and preserve this critical evidence.
Role of Law Enforcement and Insurance Companies in Determining Fault
Law enforcement and insurance companies play a significant role in determining fault and negligence.
The police will typically make an initial assessment at the scene and then file an official report, which may indicate who was at fault from their perspective or who received a citation for traffic violations leading to the crash.
Although the police report can hold great weight, it does not shut the door to presenting more evidence. Insurance companies conduct their investigations during their claims process to determine liability based on the police report and other evidence. If you, as a plaintiff, have evidence that counters a determination of fault, then you may present it to change the apportionment of fault and strengthen your case.
While your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company to reach an agreeable settlement, they may need to take the case to court to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Importance of Evidence in Determining Fault
Evidence is the backbone of any trucking accident investigation. Whether it is photographic evidence from the scene, eyewitness testimonies, or police reports, each piece can paint a clearer picture of the events leading up to the accident and who caused it.
The fault determination process in trucking accidents often involves multiple parties. Never assume liability, even if you think you are partly responsible. Seek legal advice for a comprehensive analysis from a truck accident attorney as soon as possible. They may have a different evaluation of the evidence and insight into how a truck driver or third party may have caused the crash.
Protecting Your Rights if Partially at Fault
Shared fault does not automatically strip you of your rights. Protect your rights and seek appropriate legal representation.
Hire a competent legal representative after a trucking accident. An experienced truck accident understands the intricacies of the law surrounding these types of incidents. They can guide you through the labyrinth of legal pathways and explain the implications of fault in relation to your claim.
Damages Available to Victims of a Truck Accident
If you are the injured victim of an accident involving a truck, you may recover damages to compensate you for your losses, including:
- Medical expenses: This can cover any medical costs related to the injury, including hospital bills, prescription medications, physical therapy, and future medical care.
- Lost income: If your injury prevents you from working, you can claim compensation for your lost income. This could include future earnings if you cannot return to your job or work in the same capacity as before.
- Pain and suffering: This is more subjective and can be harder to quantify. If the accident caused significant pain or emotional distress, you can recover compensation for it.
- Property damage: This can cover the cost of repair or replacement of your vehicle and any personal property that suffered damages in the truck accident.
- Loss of consortium: If your injury hurts your relationship with your spouse or family, you may claim for loss of consortium. This could include a loss of companionship, affection, or sexual relations.
- Punitive damages: You may receive punitive damages if the reckless or negligent actions of the truck driver or company caused the accident and your resulting injuries. These damages aim to penalize the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future. Punitive damages are rare, but a court may include them in an award for a plaintiff in severe cases.
The damages you recover will largely depend on the specifics of your case, your state’s laws, and the apportionment of fault for the accident. A truck accident attorney can identify the damages you may seek and estimate a fair value for your claim.
How a Lawyer Can Help Even if Are Partially at Fault
Many truck accident victims who believe they are partly to blame make the common mistake of not seeking legal advice because they think their role in the incident diminishes their case.
Even if you think you are partly at fault, a competent truck accident lawyer can assess your case and explain your options. They can review the evidence, explain the legal implications of fault determinations, defend your rights, and work tirelessly to secure the maximum compensation you deserve under the law.
Steps to Take After a Trucking Accident
After a truck accident, get the appropriate medical attention. Once you address your injuries and have a firm grasp on the treatment plan in place by your providers, gather as much evidence as possible. Evidence supporting your claim may include photographs, a police report, witness information, and detailed notes about the incident.
Documentation of your injuries is a key piece of evidence in any case. Continue with your medical provider’s prescribed treatment plan and keep all medical records.
Contact and retain an experienced truck accident lawyer. Make this a top priority after addressing your health concerns. A competent lawyer representing your interests can provide valuable guidance and advice on dealing with insurance companies and can begin building a strong case for compensation, even if you are partly at fault.
Do Not Assume You Are to Blame for a Truck Accident; Seek Professional Advice
Determining fault in trucking accidents involves complex factors and evidence. It typically requires an extensive investigation by law enforcement agencies and insurance companies. In some cases, this process may involve expert witnesses and various types of evidence, including eyewitness accounts, police reports, and photos or videos from the accident scene.
If you are the injured victim of a trucking accident and think you are partially at fault, that does not necessarily diminish your rights or invalidate your claim.
The proper legal representation will allow you to navigate the challenging legalities, protect your rights, and work toward securing the best possible outcome for your case.
Speak with an experienced Macon personal injury attorney about your case to determine your options and discuss their perspective on the likelihood of reaching a successful settlement for your losses.