Determining Fault in Trucking Accidents 

Fault Determination in Trucking Accidents

As a truck driver, if you’ve been involved in a truck accident and sustained any personal injury, you may be able to claim compensation to cover your medical treatment and other related expenses from the other party involved or their insurance company.

But your ability to claim compensation depends on several factors, including whether you or the other party is found to havecontributed to or caused the accident by your actions. As such, the entities involved in deciding your compensation claim must first decide who is at fault among all the parties involved in the accident before you can get any compensation.

The determination of fault is thus an important aspect of the compensation process, and the steps you take during this time may make or mar your case.

This guide explains how fault is determined in a truck accident claim to help you understand what it takes to get a favorable fault determination as you prepare for your case. 

Why Is Fault in a Truck Accident Case Important?

On issues of personal injury or negligence stemming from vehicle accidents, states in the U.S. are divided into at-fault states and no-fault states.

In a no-fault state, a person’s No-Fault Automobile Insurance company compensates them for any personal injury or damage suffered in an accident, regardless of who is responsible. The determination of fault is not an issue in such states.

But in at-fault states like Missouri, determining fault after a vehicular accident is essential because it is the basis on which the injured party would receive compensation. In such states, the court or insurance company would apportion a percentage of blame between the parties after considering the facts of the case and the evidence presented.

A party could be 100 percent at fault in some cases. But sometimes, the blame may be divided among several parties, including the victim, depending on the extent of each party’s contribution to the accident.

Once fault has been apportioned, different rules across the at-fault states determine whether or not the person making the claim can get compensation as follows:

Contributory Negligence 

In states that follow this rule, the claimant cannot get any compensation if they are found to have contributed to their accident in any way, no matter how small.

Modified Comparative Fault 

Under this rule, an injured party found to have contributed to their accident can only get compensation if they are less than 50 percent at fault ( or 51 percent in some states). If the percentage of fault is above this threshold, they would be unable to get compensation.

Pure Comparative Fault

States like Missouri follow the pure comparative fault principle. Under this rule, an injured party can get compensation even if they contributed to their accident as long as they are not 100 percent at fault. 

However, the amount of compensation they can get depends on the percentage of fault assigned to them. For example, if a claimant is determined to be 99 percent at fault, and the other party’s fault rate is one percent, the claimant can only recover one percent of the total amount claimed.

How Fault Is Determined After a Trucking Accident

Most vehicle accident compensation claims in Missouri are processed or handled by insurance companies. But sometimes, the injured party may file a lawsuit against the party they think it is at fault, depending on the circumstances. As such, the determination of fault may be made by the insurance company or court where the case is presented.

In making their determination, these entities would usually consider whether any of the potentially liable parties, including the truck driver or their trucking company, broke any law. If they find any such breaches, the party who broke the law would likely be assigned some fault.

For example, trucking companies and commercial truck drivers must obey the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. If it is found that any or both of them were in breach of these regulations when the accident occurred, both the truck driver and the trucking company would likely receive some blame for the accident.

Other acts that could lead to fault determination against a party engaging in them at the time of the accident include the following:

    • Going over the speed limit
    • Running a stop sign or red light
    • Texting and driving
    • Drunk driving
    • Distracted driving
    • Driving too fast in unsafe conditions
    • Other traffic violations

     

    Evidence Used To Determine Fault After a Truck Accident

    The court or insurance company will not decide fault without trying to piece the facts of the accident together. They do this by considering important pieces of evidence such as;

    • The police report(s) of the accident
    • Footage from security cameras mounted close to the scene
    • Testimony of witnesses at the scene
    • Photos or videos of the incident and injuries or damages that occurred as a result.

    As the claimant, you have to prove your case and provide them with any relevant evidence to support your claim. Otherwise, you could have fault determined against you, which would adversely affect the outcome of your claim.

     Identifying and obtaining the evidence you need to support your case could be challenging because there may be a lot to consider. If you have any difficulty in this area, consider getting help from a skilled truck accident lawyer. They can help you identify the evidence required to build a solid case.

    What To Do if You Disagree With the Fault Determination 

    Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the determination of fault may be against you and may be assigned a high fault percentage. This issue is relatively common with some auto insurance companies who do that so they can underpay claimants. 

    If that is your case, you can file a lawsuit against the company, asking the court to review the company’s assessment of your claims. The court system also has a review process known as appeals, so if you disagree with the court’s decision, you can file an appeal in a higher court.

    However, these processes are complex and may be difficult to handle on your own without legal knowledge, so you need to consider getting professional help from skilled truck accident lawyers. They understand how the laws relating to truck accidents work, can represent you throughout your case, and help you avoid any mistakes or omissions that could prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve.

    Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer at Hurt Trucker Attorneys for Help With Your Case

    Fault determination is a compulsory phase in truck accident cases. To get a favorable outcome, you must provide solid evidence that supports your claim and proves that you are not at fault.

    However, the process is not always straightforward and may be difficult to navigate, especially since you may still be recovering from your injuries. In such cases, you can rely on the skilled lawyers at Hurt Trucker Attorneys to guide you through the process.

    Our law firm is committed to helping injured truck drivers like you who risk their lives for the commercial benefits of the nation get the help and representation they need to secure their entitlements after sustaining injuries while driving.

    Your well-being is our priority, and we hope to help you with the legal services you may need to succeed with your truck accident case. So, if you have any questions about your truck accident injuries or Wrongful Death Claims after trucking accidents, do not hesitate to contact us and schedule a free consultation. 

    Depending on the nature of your injuries, you may need to pursue a workers’ compensation claim against your employer or their insurance company. Our outstanding Workers’ Compensation Lawyers can assess your case, determine whether this approach applies, and guide you toward a positive outcome.