Whose Fault Are Truck Accidents? Part 1: The Truck Driver

Over the course of this coming month, we will be exploring the potential causes of truck accidents, as well as the different parties that can be held liable. The majority of truck accidents are due, in some part, to driver error, often that of the truck driver. As a matter of fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that drivers of large trucks are ten times more likely to be the cause of truck accidents than other factors, including weather, road conditions and vehicle performance.

The same study broke down driver error into a few categories:

  1. Truck drivers under the influence of prescription or over the counter drugs (44 percent of truck accidents caused by driver error)
  2. Truck drivers traveling too fast for road conditions (23 percent of driver error truck accidents
  3. Driver fatigue (18 percent of driver error truck accidents

The Theory of Negligence

The legal theory governing much of personal injury law is that of negligence. For a truck driver to be proven negligent, four points must be proven:

  1. The driver has a duty of care to operate the truck in a safe manner (all truck drivers have this responsibility)
  2. The driver violates that duty of care in some way
  3. The breach of duty leads to injury
  4. The injury caused damages to the victim (pain and suffering, medical bills, etc.)

There are many avenues for truck accident attorneys to prove negligence based on driver error. For cases of drug use, attorneys can investigate the driver’s medical history as well as employment records. In instances of truck drivers traveling too fast, investigation of the scene of the accident as well as data recorders on semi-trucks can provide valuable evidence of a driver’s negligence. To prove driver fatigue, we can look into driver logs to determine whether the driver was in compliance with federal hours of service regulations.

These are not the only reasons a truck driver may be liable for accidents, but they are the most common. On Wednesday, we will examine trucking company liability, so stay tuned.



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