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How is Fault Determined in a Truck Accident?

Published on Aug 9, 2018 at 2:11 pm in Auto Safety.

While an accident between two passenger vehicles is always a traumatic event, an accident between a passenger vehicle and a commercial truck can be even more devastating because of the truck’s sheer size. In the event you’re in a truck accident, determining liability can be challenging because trucking companies often have determined legal teams fighting for them. It’s important to understand how you can prove the truck driver’s or trucking company’s negligence so you can receive the compensation you deserve.

Gathering Effective Evidence

Photographs. If you’ve received medical attention after the crash and are able to, take as many pictures from as many different angles as possible of the crash scene. You’ll want photographic evidence of all damages to your vehicle, as well as the truck. It’s also a good idea to document the road conditions, any traffic signs, and the general location.

Police Reports. The police report will contain information on both parties and their vehicles, where the collision took place, how the accident happened, any laws or regulations that are suspected to have been broken, and witness accounts. This information will be crucial in proving the truck’s liability.

Witness Testimonies. Whether you, your attorney, or the police speak with an accident witness, they may have crucial information to help prove your case, especially if they saw the entire accident unfold.

Conducting a Commercial Truck Accident Investigation

When an official commercial truck accident investigation takes place, the following items can help prove the tractor trailer’s liability for the wreck.

The Black Box. While there are expectations, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates the use of electronic logging devices (ELD) in commercial vehicles. These black boxes, assuming they are not damaged in the crash, can provide information on the truck drivers’ average speed, the distance traveled and time spent driving, hard braking events, seatbelt use, and more.

The Logbooks. The logbooks play a crucial role in determining negligence. As established by FMCSA, drivers must comply with the following service laws:

  • They may work no more than 11 hours after 10 hours off duty.
  • They may work no more than 14 hours after starting a shift.
  • They may work no more than 60 hours in seven days, or 70 hours in eight days.

When a truck driver disregards these laws and violates their log book, they put other drivers on the road at risk for serious injury and death. These regulations are often disregarded because of time restraints and deadlines.

The Maintenance Records. Just like the logbooks, FMSCA has requirements set for inspections, repairs, and maintenance. If a truck is not properly maintained, there can be issues with its engine, brakes, or hauling equipment.

If you find yourself overwhelmed and confused after a truck accident in South Carolina, you’re not alone. Our knowledgeable Columbia commercial truck accident attorneys can help you determine and prove who is at fault for your accident, so you can focus on your recovery. Reach out to us today for more information.

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