Crashes involving big rigs are distinctly different than passenger car wrecks on many levels. There are obvious reasons, such as the significant size and weight of the truck, which can easily inflict serious damage. But there are also differences in how these cases are investigated and tried.
An experienced trucking accident attorney has the specialized knowledge to help get you the best result after a crash with a tractor-trailer. The fundamentals of these cases parallel those in ordinary car wreck cases, but people with no experience in the area can easily miss important legal theories and evidence.
A basic accident case involves the existence of a legal duty, a breach of that duty, causation of the injuries at issue, and actual damages to the injured party. Here’s how those elements look in a crash involving a tractor-trailer:
To win a trucking accident case, you must first be able to show that the person or organization you want to sue had a legal duty toward you. In many cases, traffic laws provide the basis for this element of your case. For example, all drivers have a duty to comply with laws and rules that apply to them on the road, such as speed limits and laws banning distracted or impaired driving.
In trucking accident cases, there are many more potential sources of duty. That is because a plethora of laws apply to the trucking industry that do not apply to the drivers of passenger cars. Examples include laws and regulations that govern rest periods and breaks, drug and alcohol testing, truck maintenance, and cargo capacity. The wider scope of these laws also means that there are frequently more parties that may be sued.
The second element of an accident case is that the person or organization you want to sue breached a duty it owed to you. In regular accident cases, this might mean that the driver ran a stop light, exceeded the speed limit, or drove while impaired by alcohol. Of course, all of these laws also apply to drivers of commercial vehicles. In addition, however, if a trucker or trucking company breaches any of those additional laws or regulations that apply to them, you can meet this element of your case.
The third factor in proving an accident case is called “causation.” To show that this element is met, you must be able to provide evidence that the breach the wrongdoer committed caused your injuries or damages. For example, in a trucking accident case, you might show that overloading of the truck caused it to rollover, striking your car. Or you might show that the driver fell asleep because she did not follow the laws on rest periods, causing her to drift into your lane.
The last element of an accident case is known as “damages.” Even if you can prove that a duty existed, that it was breached, and that the breach led to your damages, you cannot win your case if you can’t show that you suffered from damages as a result of the accident.
Many people think of damages as personal injuries—and these certainly qualify as damages—but injuries to your property count, as well. Damages typically include your out-of-pocket expenses for medical care, prescriptions, and car repairs, as well as lost wages, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.
At the Alexander Law Group, LLP, we have worked with truck injury victims for decades, and we know the professional help an experienced trucking injury attorney can provide. Contact us today. We will work with you to obtain unmatched results and to defend your interests. That’s what we do.