Have you sustained injuries because of the negligence of a commercial truck driver? If so, you will have to prove that the driver’s negligence caused the accident – and the injuries you sustained – in order to win a damages award at court. If you want to know if you have a valid claim, a personal injury lawyer in Massachusetts, or in whichever state the accident took place, can help.
About Commercial Trucking Accidents
Unfortunately, accidents involving commercial trucks are a frequent occurrence in the United States. In 2012 there were more than 3,000 fatalities due to trucking accidents. What is especially tragic about these accidents is that they are usually preventable. There is ample evidence that a number of preventable factors come into play in all too many commercial trucking accidents.
By far, the biggest culprit is driver fatigue. Trucking companies typically compensate their drivers based on the amount of miles they drive. This puts excessive pressure on truck drivers to make as many deliveries as possible. It also means that truckers are incentivized to deliver each shipment as quickly as they can. The natural result is that they do not take enough time to rest. What is worse, in many cases they use over the counter drugs or other illegal substances to stay awake and keep driving.
Tired driving makes trucking accidents much, much more likely. But it also raises questions of fact and law for a plaintiff and his attorney when it comes time to seek a damages award after a trucking accident.
In a commercial trucking accident, as in any other kind of motor vehicle accident, the plaintiff has the burden to prove that it is more likely than not that the truck driver was negligent. A plaintiff may also attempt to prove that the truck driver’s employer was negligent. Additionally, the plaintiff will need to prove that the alleged negligence caused his or her injuries. A personal injury lawyer from a firm like The Law Offices of Terrence A. Low and Anthony J. Canata in Massachusetts would explain to a plaintiff that he or she must typically prove four elements to establish that a defendant was negligent:
• Duty – The defendant in a personal injury case must be shown to have had a duty to exercise reasonable care in preventing the incident.
• Breach – A plaintiff must show that the defendant breached that duty. In other words, the plaintiff must show that the defendant failed to use reasonable care.
• Causation – A plaintiff must further show that it was the defendant’s breach of duty – and not something else – that caused the injuries to the plaintiff.
• Damages – Finally, a plaintiff must show that his or her injuries caused some damage that is compesible. Such losses may include pain and suffering, lost wages, property damage, medical costs and others.
Damages: An Overview, Legal Information Institute
Lead Letter: The Tragic Impact of A Truck Accident, The Florida Times-Union