Determining Liability When Improper Maintenance Leads to Truck Crash
When a truck accident occurs due to improper maintenance, there are several possible options the victims have for obtaining compensation for loss, explains a California truck accident lawyer. One option is under a basic or general negligence theory. If the injured victim (or the family members of the deceased victim in a wrongful death case) can prove that a reasonable driver or trucking company would have been more careful, then the trucking company/driver can be considered negligent and thus liable for the injuries or death.
It is important to note that the trucking company itself need not have been lax in its duties if the driver failed in what was required of him or her. A trucking company can be liable through its own negligence for failure to live up to the required duty of care imposed by the law, but it can also be responsible for negligent acts of its drivers due to agency rules making employers vicariously liable for the acts of their employees.
A trucking company or driver may also be held liable for an injury or death caused by improper maintenance under a legal theory called negligence per se. Negligence per se is a legal theory that creates a presumption of negligence on the part of a defendant if the defendant violated a safety law and injury occurred as a result. In other words, if the trucking company violated laws on maintenance—which are designed to ensure safety—the trucking company is assumed to have been negligent and the plaintiff no longer has the burden of proving negligence. The defendant in a negligence per se action can still defend himself and argue that he wasn't negligent, but the burden shifts to him to prove this once it has been established that a safety law was violated.
Because of the negligence per se doctrine, the California rules on trucking safety have a major impact on civil litigation arising from truck accidents and ensure that a plaintiff can collect damages or compensation after a truck accident is caused by faulty or insufficient maintenance.
Resources for truck accident victims, such as books and articles on the process of pursuing an injury or a wrongful death claim, are available to the public free of charge through our Preferred Friends and Clients Program.
If you would like to request one of these free resources, or to speak with a California truck accident lawyer, feel free to call 866-981-5596.