What Must I Prove to Win my Truck Accident Case?
Being involved in an accident with a commercial truck is among the most traumatic experiences drivers ever go through. A collision with an 18-wheeler that can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds (when it is fully loaded) can be frightening, and with a size mismatch like this, there is a much greater potential for serious and catastrophic injuries.
If you or someone close to you suffered injury in a trucking accident, you have a right to file a claim for damages. And if the accident happened in Mississippi, you can recover damages even if you are partially at fault under the state’s pure comparative fault laws. If you are found to be partially responsible for the accident, however, your damage award will be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault you share.
Truck accident cases are typically far more complicated than standard auto accidents. There are numerous laws and regulations that govern the trucking industry, and there are several factors that can contribute to these types of accidents.
Because these cases often involve serious injuries and high dollar damage claims, trucking companies and their insurers typically push back hard and spend more resources to fight them. While you might be able to handle a regular car accident claim by yourself if the injuries are relatively minor, this is rarely the case with truck accident claims. With this type of case, you will need an experienced attorney by your side who has a proven track record being able to successfully recover maximum compensation.
What Must be Proven to Win a Trucking Accident Claim?
One of the complicating factors in truck accident claims is the fact that there are often multiple parties that could have contributed to the crash. The most obvious responsible party would be the truck driver, who could be automatically at fault for breaking federal regulations, speeding, and/or driving recklessly or aggressively.
Some of the other parties that could share responsibility for a commercial trucking accident include:
- The trucking company that employs the driver;
- The cargo/shipping company that overloaded or improperly loaded the truck;
- The owner or lessor of the truck;
- The party that is responsible for maintaining the truck;
- The party (usually a government entity) that is responsible for maintaining the roadways;
- The manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of a faulty vehicle or vehicle part.
After all potential responsible parties are identified, a thorough investigation is conducted, and evidence is gathered in order to develop a rock-solid case. This will often involve the help of outside specialists, who will examine the key facts of the case and lend their expertise in order to help substantiate these facts. Medical professionals will also be needed to speak to the extent of your injuries (both physical and psychological) and the damages you have suffered.
The important facts and pieces of evidence will be used to help prove several key elements:
- Duty of Care: The first element that must be proven is that the defendant(s) owed you a duty of care. For example, all motorists owe a duty to operate their vehicles safely and follow all traffic laws. For commercial truck drivers, these laws include federal regulations such as the requirement to take a break after a certain number of hours driving. Trucking companies might also owe an implied duty to take reasonable measures to properly train their drivers and make sure they operate their vehicles safely.
- Breach of Duty of Care: The second element that must be proven is that one or more parties violated (or “breached”) their duty of care through negligence or reckless actions. A breach could be something like driving while intoxicated or texting while driving, or it could be something another party did, such as a shipping company that loads the truck beyond the allowed weight capacity.
- Causation: Once you have established duty of care and breach of said duty, you will need to show that this breach was the proximate cause of the accident you were involved in. In other words, negligence or recklessness on the part of one or more parties led directly to the big rig truck accident. To successfully prove causation, you will need substantial evidence and the ability to make a strong argument, as well as the ability to effectively rebut the arguments of the opposing counsel.
- Damages: Finally, you will need to prove that the accident you were involved in resulted in compensable damages. These may include damages for direct economic losses such as medical costs, lost earnings, and property damage, as well as damages for noneconomic losses such as pain-and-suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.
Injured in a Commercial Truck Accident in Mississippi? Contact a Seasoned Biloxi Vehicle Accident Attorney
When someone is injured in a trucking accident that was someone else’s fault, they are entitled to compensation. Proving that they should receive compensation is not easy, however, and the other side is certain to use whatever tactics they can get away with to diminish the value of your claim. With so much at stake, you cannot afford to fight this battle alone.
If your accident occurred in Biloxi, Gulfport, Pascagoula, Ocean Springs, or anywhere in Southern Mississippi, contact the Gardner Law Firm for experienced legal guidance. We will meet with you to review your case and advise you of your legal rights and options; and if you retain our services, we will not charge you attorney fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf.
Message us online or call our office today at (228) 900-9618 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation. We look forward to serving you!