In the absence of negligence on part of the driver, a truck accident typically presents a difficult question as to who is at fault. For example, if an automobile strikes an 18 wheeler from behind and then collides with another vehicle in the process, liability for damages is not always straightforward. Although the trucking company may insure the truck, it is often difficult to determine whether or not the carrier was negligent in allowing or causing an accident. Liability could also include the trucker’s employer, the company with which the trucker is employed, and any other entity that may have had a role in causing an accident.
Liability for injuries, damages and economic losses in truck accident cases is a highly complex area of law leading to the requirement of Wilkes-Barre truck accident attorneys. In order to understand liability properly, one should first understand the various types of liability available to truckers and carriers.
An assessment of liability in a scenario such as this will involve an examination of fault, causation, proximate cause and contributory negligence. The application or construction of these concepts has changed over time, depending on the type of case involved.
Negligence is the major issue in cases involving a truck accident for at least two reasons. First, in order to establish liability, it is necessary to show that the other party was negligent. Second, if liability is established, it may still be possible to find that no harm resulted from the negligence and thus no injuries occurred. In order to determine fault and causation accurately and fairly, the issues of comparative negligence, contributory negligence and assumption of risk must be resolved correctly.
Contributory negligence is a doctrine that bars some individuals from collecting damages if they are negligent in causing or contributing to an accident. The concept of contributory negligence has been abolished in most states, but some states have contributory negligence statutes or case law which may limit the amount of damages that can be awarded.
In truck accidents, a plaintiff who has contributed negligently to his own injury will be barred from recovery. However, a party may be considered contributorily negligent without being guilty of any act of culpable negligence.
There is a third party who may contribute negligently to the truck accident. This is the person running alongside the truck and causing an obstruction. The resulting accident will be reduced in damages or may be excluded altogether if this person was guilty of contributory negligence.