Determining Fault in Semi-Truck Accidents
By Chris Dixon
It can be difficult to determine fault in semi-truck accidents, especially if multiple vehicles are involved, more than one driver is at fault for the accident, or it’s unclear who caused the crash. If you are injured in a semi-truck accident and need help determining who is at fault in the crash, an experienced attorney can asses your case and determine who is at fault in the accident.
Who is At Fault in Semi-Truck Accidents?
Determining fault in semi-truck accidents isn’t always simple. If bad weather is a factor in the crash, the semi-truck “jackknifed” out of nowhere, or other uncontrollable factors are involved, it could be difficult to prove who caused the accident. In other types of semi-truck accidents, such as truck defects accidents and rear-end accidents, fault is easier to determine. If you are in a semi-truck accident and need help determining who is at fault, gathering evidence and consulting a lawyer are the first steps that should be taken. Taking photos of the scene of the accident, collecting information from other drivers involved, seeking immediate medical attention, and filing a police report are ways that you can gather supporting evidence from a semi-truck accident. Your lawyer can use this evidence to analyze your case and determine if you are eligible to recover compensation for your damages caused in the crash.
Can More Than One Person Be At Fault in Semi-Truck Accidents?
It can be easy to assume that only one driver is at fault in an accident, but in some cases, more than one driver is liable for a crash. Examples of this include a semi-truck and a passenger vehicle both turning at the wrong time and two vehicles attempting to change lanes at the same time. If two drivers are at fault in a semi-truck accident, both parties could be eligible to recover compensation depending on their percentage of fault in the crash and their state’s fault rules.
States in the U.S. follow either a ‘No Fault’ or ‘At Fault’ rule when it comes to accidents. If a semi-truck accident happens in a no fault state, both drivers are required to recover damages through their own insurance company, regardless of fault. The driver responsible for the accident cannot be sued unless the state that the crash happened in has a damages threshold. In states in the U.S. that follow the at fault rule, determining if you are eligible to recover damages from a semi-truck accident can be more difficult. Each at fault state has a negligence system. The two most common negligence systems that are used are comparative and contributory negligence.
There are two types of comparative negligence. If you are partially at fault in a semi-truck accident in an at fault state that uses ‘pure comparative negligence’, both you and the other party involved in the crash can recover damages that are proportionate to your percentage of responsibility. For example, if you are 20% at fault and a semi-truck driver is 80% at fault in an accident, you would be eligible to recover 80% of the total damages from the crash, while the semi-truck driver could recover the other 20%. However, if the accident happens in a state that uses ‘modified comparative negligence’, the only party eligible to recover damages from the accident is the driver that is less than 50% at fault in the crash. If fault is split in the accident, parties are unable to sue and must file a claim against their own insurance company to recover damages.
In at fault states that use a contributory negligence system, which isn’t very common (Alabama, District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia), if either party can prove that the other driver acted slightly negligent at the time of the accident, neither party is eligible to recover damages from the crash. If this happens with your semi-truck case, you are liable to pay for your own damages out-of-pocket. It can be difficult to understand which fault rule your state follows and which negligence system they use, but an experienced lawyer can help you determine this and inform you of the options available to your case.
How is Fault Determined in Semi-Truck Accidents?
In 2017, 97% of people killed in accidents involving a large truck and a passenger vehicle were passenger vehicle occupants. Semi-trucks have many blind spots and take longer than passenger vehicles to come to a complete stop, which can be dangerous to other drivers on the road. If you are in a semi-truck accident and need help determining who is at fault in the crash, an attorney can determine who caused the accident and whether the truck driver’s negligence caused the accident. If the truck driver is at fault in the accident, you could be eligible to recover damages with a truck accident claim.
Consult a Lawyer About Your Semi-Truck Accident Today
If you are ready to file an insurance claim, you need an experienced lawyer by your side. A lawyer can shield you from the other party’s insurance company and preserve the details of the accident. Your lawyer has your case’s best interests at heart and will do everything possible to recover compensation for your pain and suffering. If you need a lawyer to determine fault for your semi-truck accident and represent your case, contact the Dixon Injury Firm today to schedule a free consultation.