Liability in DC Truck Accident Cases

Truck collisions frequently leave victims seriously injured or result in death. The harms from a crash can be significant, and those who are responsible for the incident should pay for all resulting damages and losses. It is up to victims or their surviving family members to prove liability in truck accident cases. A DC truck accident attorney with experience in truck collisions can help with an investigation into who was at fault and can provide assistance in pursuing a claim for compensation from all liable parties.

Determining Liability in Truck Accident Cases

Liability in truck accident cases can be determined by considering who was directly at fault for causing a crash to occur.

An individual or a company whose negligence or carelessness was the proximate cause of a collision is liable for resulting damages. The truck driver, trucking company, truck manufacturer, truck mechanic, or road designer are among those whose actions or in-actions may have resulted in the collision.  This means all of these individuals and businesses are among those who could be liable to truck accident victims.

You can determine if someone was liable for a truck crash by showing his negligence or carelessness which was the catalyst for the accident or the but for cause of the crash. If the negligence did not occur, the crash would not have occurred.

Negligence can include a failure to exercise care a reasonable driver would have shown under the circumstances. A violation of driving safety laws, such as speed limit laws, creates a presumption of negligence. A trucking company can be considered negligent either because one of its employees is careless on duty (the employee is the company’s agent) or because the company itself does not have reasonable safety policies in place.

How to Prove Liability in Truck Accident Cases

A victim injured in a truck crash can file a personal injury claim and family members of a person killed in a collision can file a wrongful death claim. Both personal injury and wrongful death claims can be resolved outside of court if the truck driver or trucking company’s insurer accepts responsibility and offers fair compensation.  Cases can also be resolved by a judge or jury in civil litigation.

If the case goes to court, the plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is liable for the truck crash. You can prove liability in truck accident cases by using things like police justifications, witness testimony, and expert testimony. Truck drivers and trucking companies are subject to many rules set forth in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and many victims can prove liability by successfully showing a violation of one of these safety rules was the direct crash cause.

An attorney with experience handling truck accident cases can help you to determine how to make your case, conduct an investigation to help you get evidence, and help you to make a compelling argument. Having a strong case not only maximizes the chances you can prevail in court, but it also makes a settlement more likely. If the insurance company knows you have solid evidence showing liability in a truck accident case, the insurer may be more willing to try to make a settlement offer.

To get help proving liability in truck accident cases, contact our attorneys as soon as you can after you were involved in a wreck with a tractor-trailer, big rig or other commercial truck. The sooner you begin gathering evidence, the less evidence will be lost that could help you make your case.

When Can a Truck Driver be Liable

A DC truck driver is liable for causing the accident by his or her own conduct, which has to be negligent in order to trigger liability. There is a duty of ordinary care that is owed and that is breached.

A driver can be liable, for example, if it can be demonstrated that he or she violated the highway safety laws by speeding, not maintaining proper control of the vehicle, not maintaining a proper distance, not granting right of way to other vehicles properly on the highway, or by otherwise breaking the law. Essentially, a truck driver in DC is held responsible for the operation of the vehicle and can be at fault for an accident if he or she is negligent.

Whether other parties are held responsible as a result of the driver’s conduct depends upon the relationship of the driver to the employer, as in the case of vicarious liability. There can also be independent liability on behalf or by the company who employs that driver in terms of hiring and training and in terms of the ownership and maintenance of the vehicle.

Logo Liability

Logo liability comes into play when the company that owns the vehicle (either the tractor or the trailer) leases it out to someone and then doesn’t want to be held responsible if the operator of that vehicle is involved in an accident.

However, logo liability says that by the identification of that company by the DOT # and its logo, that they are in many respects not able to shirk responsibility for the accident because they’ve held themselves out by that logo as the one of the parties that would – that can be held responsible for the accident.