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How to Prove Truck Driver Negligence

Commercial truck accidents are often devastating for the occupants of the smaller vehicle. A collision between a large truck and a passenger car can be catastrophic or fatal for the latter. Many accidents involving 18-wheelers are caused by careless and reckless truck drivers. If you suspect truck driver negligence, or the failure to use reasonable care, in your truck accident case in Pittsburgh, contact an attorney for assistance establishing proof.

What Is the Legal Definition of Negligence?

Negligence is the failure to use ordinary care, meaning a reasonable level of care based on the situation. If a reasonable and prudent party would not have done the same thing in the same or similar circumstances, an individual may be guilty of negligence. Negligence consists of four main elements:

  1. Duty of care: a responsibility to act toward others with the same amount of caution and prudence that a reasonable person would have.
  2. Breach of duty: an act or omission that falls short or violates the accepted duty of care. Any conduct that fails to meet the applicable standard of care is a breach of duty.
  3. Damages: losses suffered by the plaintiff or filing party, including bodily injuries, medical bills, other expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  4. Causation: a causal connection between the defendant’s breach of duty and the plaintiff’s injuries.

Truck driver negligence can refer to anything that violates federal trucking laws or the ordinary standards of care for a motor vehicle driver. Examples seen by our Pittsburgh car accident attorneys include speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving or drowsy driving. 

Evidence to Support a Claim Against a Truck Driver 

The burden of proof in a truck accident lawsuit is a preponderance of the evidence, meaning enough evidence to establish that the defendant is at fault for the accident with at least a 51 percent certainty. It is the victim or plaintiff’s burden to prove a civil claim, including a traffic accident case. Meeting the burden of proof and proving negligence requires clear and convincing evidence, such as: 

  • A police report
  • Photographs and video footage
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Highly qualified expert witnesses
  • The truck’s black box
  • Electronic data recording devices
  • The truck driver’s medical and driving records
  • The driver’s history of truck accidents
  • The trucking company’s compliance records
  • Proof of broken laws, such as hours-of-service regulations
  • The truck driver’s cell phone records
  • Criminal evidence, such as a DUI conviction
  • Truck accident reconstruction

A truck accident attorney in Pittsburgh can help you preserve, collect and present evidence to establish truck driver negligence during your injury claim. A trucking company will take immediate action to try to refute your claim, such as sending a rapid response team to the scene of the accident immediately to collect evidence. You can fight back by getting legal representation from an experienced Pittsburgh personal injury attorney.

Your Rights After a Truck Accident Case in Pennsylvania 

Pennsylvania is a no-fault insurance state – meaning that injured victims must file claims with their own insurance companies regardless of fault for an auto accident. A victim can only file a claim against another driver with serious injuries that meet the state’s tort threshold, or with “full tort” insurance coverage. 

Commercial truck accidents are often serious enough to meet the injury threshold and give a victim grounds to hold a truck driver or trucking company responsible, regardless of whether the victim has purchased limited tort or full tort coverage. To collect financial compensation, however, the victim must prove truck driver negligence as more likely to be true than not true. 

For more information about establishing negligence in a truck accident case, contact Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. for a free consultation.

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