Truck accidents caused by braking ability problems, such as jackknifing or accidents while bobtailing, are usually preventable with careful driving, adequate training, proper weight distribution of cargo, and regular inspections and maintenance.
Truck Accident Attorneys Serving Stuart and Surrounding Cities
The average American automobile weighs somewhere around 5,000 pounds. An 18-wheeler weighs in at about 80,000 pounds. Since trucks are so much larger and heavier than their passenger car counterparts, truck accidents can be particularly devastating for those in the smaller vehicle. It is therefore extremely important that truckers use safe following distances and that trucking companies keep their vehicles’ brakes in optimal working condition. If you or a loved one has been involved in a collision caused by a braking ability issue, the Stuart truck accident lawyers at Donaldson & Weston are here to help you pursue financial compensation from those responsible.
Bringing a Negligence Claim Based on Inadequate Braking Ability
Motor vehicle accident cases, including those involving big rigs and ordinary automobiles, are generally litigated according to the principles of negligence law. This means that, to recover compensation, the plaintiff must be able to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant failed to act with a reasonable amount of care, thus causing the plaintiff’s injuries and other damages. Making out a case of negligence is a four-step process that requires proof of four separate elements: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove each of these elements, but the standard is the preponderance of the evidence, which is relatively lenient. This means only that the plaintiff’s version of events is more likely than not to be accurate.
One of the main things that may set truck accident cases apart from other motor vehicle collision claims is the fact that often a trucking company is a co-defendant. This can be due to one of two reasons:
- The company is vicariously liable for the carelessness of its employees via the doctrine of respondeat superior (a concept similar to agency); or
- The company itself committed acts of negligence, such as failing to properly maintain the rig or inadequately training the driver.
In any lawsuit, it is critical to act without delay to gather evidence and comply with procedural deadlines, such as the statute of limitations. Often, a person who is hurt (or the family of a person who is killed in a fatal truck accident) is unable to participate in the initial investigation of the accident because of injuries that require hospitalization or other lengthy medical treatment. Unless a plaintiff is represented by an experienced truck accident attorney serving Stuart during this first, crucial phase of the case, valuable evidence may be lost or become difficult to find.
Because of this, it is critically important for a victim or his or her family to contact an experienced injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident caused by a problem with a tractor trailer’s braking ability. This is the best way to make sure that damages such as medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium are fully compensated later.