Fort Worth Dump Truck Accident Damages
Truckers have a duty of care that is one of the elements in a negligence claim. All drivers on American roadways have a duty of care. They have an obligation to look out for the safety of others. A trucker’s duty includes keeping a proper lookout, obeying traffic laws, and using all reasonable means necessary to avoid an accident. Even though all drivers must abide by the rules of the road, the law demands a much higher duty of care for semi-truck drivers.
The standard for truck drivers comes from state and federal regulations. Tractor-trailers are dangerous in a crash situation. Due to the high risk of death and destruction, trucking laws are strictly enforced. Truck drivers who violate traffic laws or trucking regulations are negligent. This means they did something wrong or failed to act as a reasonable driver would.
When a truck driver’s negligence leads to an accident and the accident is the proximate cause, that is another element in the negligence claim. Proximate cause means the reason for the injuries. The trucker is liable for the damages. The at-fault truck driver should have liability insurance to pay the damages. A knowledgeable attorney could help injured claimants determine the type of Fort Worth dump truck accident damages they may be eligible to recover.
If one has been injured in a dump truck accident, a skilled lawyer knows to seek compensation from multiple sources. Besides the at-fault driver, an experienced dump truck accident attorney could uncover other sources of liability such as the truck owner, the driver’s employer or client, the manufacturer of defective truck parts, the business responsible for the cargo, or frequently abused trucking regulations. Successful insurance claims prove the at-fault driver was negligent.
Violating State and Federal Regulations
The most effective way to prove negligence is by proving the driver violated state or federal regulations. A violation of a state or federal regulation could win a case. Courts have traditionally ruled that trucking violations are clear and unequivocal proof of negligence. One should use any additional proof they gather, but regulatory violations can be a deciding factor in their favor.
Two frequently violated trucking regulations involve Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) regulations. Tractor-trailer drivers must have a CDL. To obtain a CDL, the Department of Transportation requires a driver to pass a series of tests designed solely for commercial truck drivers. There are different levels of CDL, depending on the size of the truck. The larger the tractor-trailer, the more stringent the test.
State laws vary, but they all must comply with the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) laws and regulations. The regulations require that a driver demonstrates skills such as maneuvering the full rig for parking, backing, turning, maintaining lights, tires, and other equipment, pre-trip inspections, as well as hazardous materials containment regulations and procedures. In addition to obtaining a CDL, licensed drivers must pass a drug test and a physical exam to be certified as fit to drive an 18-wheeler. There are also logbook regulations. Truckers must keep a proper logbook and record items such as hours of service and hours spent resting each day, load pickup dates, the weight of the truck rig before and after loading cargo, trip destination, and load delivery date.
Proving Negligence Following a Collision
Proving negligence in a dump truck accident claim depends on one’s ability to discover crucial information about the truck driver and the trucker’s regulatory compliance. This includes whether the driver’s CDL license was active or suspended, whether the driver has a criminal record, the number of prior traffic tickets the driver received, the number of accidents the driver was in, and the driver’s financial background, including outstanding debts and judgments. Other factors are whether the:
- Cargo load was over the legal limit
- Driver was driving over the allotted legal number of hours
- Driver deviated from the intended route and destination
- Driver was taking medication
- Driver was impaired by alcohol or drugs
Some of the information is in the official police report. A dump truck driver is not likely to supply any confidential or potentially incriminating evidence without being served with a subpoena.
Types of Recoverable Damages
When determining Fort Worth dump truck accident damages, insurance companies will evaluate the financial value of the harm caused to the individual. Property damage claims could be settled directly with the insurance company. Property damages include the cost to repair the vehicle, get a rental while it is in the shop, and the value of the individual’s vehicle if it is totaled. Damages include items damaged or lost from the accident like glasses, computers, clothing, and anything in their trunk such as groceries.
Bodily Injury Claims
Bodily injury claims are different from property damage claims. An individual may not be able to get fair personal injury compensation on their own. For bodily injury damages that someone fully recovers from such as soft-tissue injuries with only a few missed workdays, they can probably negotiate directly with the adjuster for a good settlement.
The personal injury claim value is the total of the medical and therapy bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and a nominal amount for pain and suffering. Soft-tissue injuries include scrapes, bruises, and minor cuts, sprained or torn ligaments, tendons or muscles, minor burns, whiplash, and back strain. Hard injuries are serious, potentially life-threatening injuries that often have a permanent effect on the quality of life. Hard injuries include fractured bones, amputations, scars, especially facial scars, third-degree burns, spinal cord, and other debilitating back injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) including concussion, or internal organ damage. The hard injuries are high-dollar claims.
Due to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) liability insurance rules, millions of dollars could be on the table after a big rig crash.
How a Dump Truck Accident Attorney Could Help
Insurance companies do not pay those who have been injured in a trucking accident large settlements without a fight. They leave no stone unturned to find reasons to deny the claim or reduce the compensation. A skilled dump truck attorney could help get the maximum settlement amount for the injured claimant. Insurance companies routinely make lower offers to claimants who do not have an attorney. Far too much is at stake to risk handling severe injury claims on one’s own.
Reach out today to learn about your eligibility to recover Fort Worth dump truck accident damages.