How Is Fault in a Truck Accident Determined?
December 15, 2021
When you get injured or lose a loved one in a truck accident, determining fault is a key step on the road to recovery. Once you determine who (or what company) was at fault, then you can file a claim to recover the financial compensation you deserve.
But, determining fault in a truck accident is not easy. Several factors can play a role in causing a truck driver to lose control. Oftentimes, multiple factors will combine to cause a truck accident; and, in these cases, victims and their families may need to pursue multiple claims to recover just compensation.
10 Types of Evidence Used to Determine Fault in a Truck Accident
The following are all examples of evidence that may be used to determine fault in a commercial truck accident:
- Forensic Evidence from the Crash Site – Skidmarks, damage to the roadway, debris from the crash, and other forms of forensic evidence can all help paint a picture of what happened and why.
- Police Reports – A police report should summarize the responding officer’s conclusions drawn from his or her on-scene investigation. While not sufficient on its own, a police report can be useful for helping prove the cause of a collision.
- Inspection Reports – The location and extent of the damage to each vehicle involved in a truck accident can identify which vehicle caused the crash. Gathering this information involves hiring an expert to examine the vehicles and prepare an inspection report.
- Witness Statements – Statements from drivers, passengers, and bystanders who witnessed the crash can serve as evidence of fault in a truck accident case.
- Truck Driver Testimony – Statements from the truck driver can serve as evidence as well. If the truck driver does not provide a statement voluntarily, it may be possible to obtain the truck driver’s sworn testimony in a deposition or at trial.
- Cell Phone Records – Cell phone use is a common factor in truck accidents and other vehicle collisions. If the truck driver (or another driver) was on his or her phone at the time of the crash, the driver’s phone records may serve as evidence of fault.
- Driver Logs – Federal regulations limit the number of hours truck drivers can spend behind the wheel. If the truck driver exceeded the federal hour limits, this should be reflected in his or her driver logs.
- Employment Records – Many truck accidents are the result of truck driver negligence. If the truck driver’s employment records show that he or she lacked the necessary training and experience to drive safely, then the trucking company may be at fault for negligent hiring and entrustment.
- Maintenance Records – Maintenance issues are also common factors in commercial truck accidents. Records showing a lack of maintenance or faulty maintenance work can be used to prove that a trucking company or maintenance shop is at fault for a collision.
- Shipping Records and Bills of Lading – Improper cargo loading and other cargo-related issues can also play a role in causing truck accidents. If the truck driver was unable to maintain control due to a cargo-related issue, the cargo’s shipping records or the bill of lading may identify the company that is responsible.
What is the Process for Determining Fault?
So, those are some types of evidence that can be used to determine fault in a truck accident. Now, how do you gather this evidence so that you can file a claim (or claims)?
1. Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer
The first step is to hire a truck accident lawyer. As an accident victim or grieving family member, you will not be able to gather the evidence you need on your own. An experienced truck accident lawyer will know exactly what needs to be done, and he or she will be able to get to work collecting and preserving evidence of fault right away.
2. Conducting an On-Scene Investigation
One of the first steps your lawyer will take will be sending an investigator to the scene of the crash. This investigator will take photos, take measurements, and use various forensic methods to piece together the events leading up to the crash.
3. Gathering Evidence Through Other Means
From hiring an expert to examine each vehicle involved in the crash to issuing subpoenas and taking depositions, your truck accident lawyer may seek to gather evidence through a variety of other means. Once your lawyer has sufficient evidence of fault, he or she can then begin fighting for just compensation on your behalf.
Talk to a Kentucky or Indiana Truck Accident Lawyer for Free
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident in Kentucky or Indiana, we strongly encourage you to contact us right away. Call our office in Louisville, Kentucky, at (502) 222-2222 or in Jeffersonville, Indiana, at (812) 282-8500.