Winning A Truck Crash Claim In Court
Now more than ever, attorneys need solid plans for winning truck crash claims in court. The number of large truck accidents has increased 27 percent since 2010. Over the last ten years, and especially since 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has repeatedly diluted important safety rules. These changes are bad enough by themselves. They’ve also encouraged drivers and their employers to push the envelope, in terms of things like driver fatigue and weight limit.
These claims are extremely complex. Drivers are legally responsible for the wrecks they cause, but an out-of-state holding company is often financially responsible for the damages these drivers inflict. Because of this complexity, these cases are difficult to settle. Therefore, only the most experienced Columbus car accident attorney should handle them.
Negligence Per Se, Third Party Liability
Generally, inexperienced lawyers only take truck crash cases if this time-saving shortcut applies. If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) violated a safety law, like a weight limit law, and that violation substantially caused injury, the tortfeasor could be liable for the wreck as a matter of law.
However, emergency responders often don’t issue citations in these situations, even if the trucker clearly broke the law and even if the victim was killed. As far as most police officers are concerned, car crashes are strictly civil matters, and they don’t want to get involved.
Even if the negligence per se doctrine is available, a good Columbus personal injury attorney doesn’t over-rely on this shortcut. Evidence is still critical in these situations. Usually, there’s a connection between the amount of proof a victim/plaintiff presents and the amount of compensation jurors award.
Speaking of compensation, a shipping, transportation, or other company is often financially responsible for this compensation, as mentioned above. The respondeat superior doctrine usually applies if:
- Employee: For tax and other financial purposes, most truckers are independent contractors or owner-operators. For negligence purposes, most truck drivers are employees.
- Scope of Employment: Typically, any act which benefits the employer in any way is within the course and scope of employment. If the trucker caused a wreck while s/he was taking a break, that act is within the scope of employment. Well-rested employees are better workers.
A Columbus personal injury attorney can use this theory to hold companies financially responsible for damages in both negligence per se and ordinary negligence claims.
In Ohio, ordinary negligence claims are almost as easy to win as negligence per se claims. Truck drivers and other commercial operators have a higher duty of care in the Buckeye State. The higher duty of care makes it simpler to prove negligence, or a lack of care.
Following distance is a good example. Most noncommercial drivers should maintain about a two-second following distance. The recommended large truck following distance is about seven seconds.
Liability issues aren’t as straightforward as they seem. Various insurance company defenses, such as comparative fault, are available in both kinds of cases. These defenses could reduce or even eliminate the victim’s compensation.
Reach Out to a Diligent Franklin County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Columbus, contact the Oliver Law Office. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.