According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 415,000 truck accidents across the U.S.. Of those crashes, 4,444 were fatal, and over 100,000 resulted in injuries to the occupants of the other vehicle. As shown by the statistics, truck accidents are very likely to result in injury. Injuries from truck accidents are often extremely severe and potentially life-altering in nature. You could end up dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses after a truck accident. That does not even take into account the mental toll of physical recovery.
Luckily, our attorneys can assist you with what lies ahead after your truck accident. You should strongly consider filing a lawsuit if you believe that your truck accident was the result of someone’s negligence. We can get to the bottom of what happened in your crash to put you in a strong position to receive the compensation you deserve.
Howe Law’s truck accident lawyers offer free case reviews when you call (844) 876-4357.
Proving Negligence in a Smyrna, GA Truck Collision Lawsuit
To be successful in a truck accident claim, you have to prove that the defendant was negligent. The short explanation of negligence is that someone else was careless, and their carelessness caused your injuries. In law, to prove negligence, you need to establish four “elements” in court. Those elements are duty, breach, causation, and injury.
The first element you need to prove to establish negligence is that the defendant had a duty of care toward you. A duty of care is the idea that people should act toward one another with a certain degree of reasonableness so that other people do not get hurt. For example, drivers have a duty to drive safely on the road so that other motorists do not get into an accident. There are also “legal duties,” which are duties that exist not because of “reasonableness” but because a law says they exist. Following speed limits is an example of a legal duty truck drivers must follow.
Breach means that the defendant breached their duty of care to the plaintiff. Essentially, the plaintiff is alleging that the defendant acted unreasonably. In a truck driving context, this could mean that the driver was speeding or drove aggressively by tailgating or switching lanes when it was not safe to do so.
Another way a truck driver could breach a duty in a truck crash is by violating their hours-of-service rules. The FMCSA has standards in place that govern how long a truck driver can be behind the wheel of their vehicle before they must take a break. This is because driving fatigued is about as dangerous as driving drunk and could easily lead to an accident.
Causation is frequently one of the most fought-over elements of negligence in a truck accident lawsuit – or any personal injury lawsuit, for that matter. This is because, in order to be liable, a defendant needs to have caused your injuries through their negligence. To be the legal cause of your injuries, the defendant’s conduct must be a “cause-in-fact” as well as the “proximate cause” of your injuries.
“Cause-in-fact” means that the conduct actually caused your injuries. A straightforward example of a cause-in-fact in a truck accident would be a truck driver speeding and consequently hitting your vehicle. One way to determine whether something is a cause-in-fact is to do a “but for” test. Essentially, the question asked is, “But for the defendant’s conduct, would the plaintiff be injured?” Many things that technically contributed to causing the defendant’s injuries will fall under this category. For example, a trucking company employing a truck driver is technically a cause of the truck driver being out on the road when an accident happens. The same goes for that truck driver receiving training to drive a big-rig truck or getting their driver’s license at 16 in the first place.
However, in order to make a defendant liable in court, a cause-in-fact must also be a “proximate cause.” The idea is that the defendant’s conduct must be closely related enough to the plaintiff’s injuries. So, returning to the example of the speeding truck driver, them obtaining a driver’s license at 16 years old is a cause-in-fact of your injuries, but it is not a proximate cause. The proximate cause is that they were speeding.
In order to be successful in a lawsuit after a truck crash, you need to prove that you were actually injured. After all, if you were not injured, there is not much you can recover damages for in court. Proving you were injured generally comes down to providing medical records as evidence indicating the extent of your injuries. You may also choose to testify as to your injuries, pain, and recovery to convince the jury that your injuries are serious.
Parties to Sue after a Smyrna, GA Truck Crash
The driver is not the only party you should consider filing a lawsuit against when you are injured by a commercial truck. Other parties could also be liable for your injuries.
Employers can be sued for the bad conduct of their employees through a legal principle called “respondeat superior.” The idea is that employers are responsible for their employees so long as the employees are doing work-related activities. It is important to note that a trucker’s employer might not be the company whose name is emblazoned on the truck since many truckers work for dedicated transportation companies. Our truck accident lawyers can help figure out who a trucker’s employer is so you can include them in your lawsuit.
Our Smyrna, GA Truck Accident Lawyers Are Ready to Help
Call (844) 876-4357 to speak with Howe Law’s Atlanta truck accident lawyers about your case.