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How is fault determined in a truck crash?

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Rolling around in a diesel-powered big-rig comes with all manner of risk. Truck crashes can have tragic consequences. Serious injuries, property damage, and even loss of life are often the result of such incidents. Determining fault in these situations is a crucial aspect when securing compensation for the damages incurred. 

But how is fault established in a truck accident? To get the answers you seek, call truck accident attorney Scott J. Senft.

The presence and guidance of qualified and reputable legal professionals have proven to be staple components in determining fault in truck crashes. With their knowledge and skill working on your behalf, you’ll have an advantage when seeking answers and determining who’s at fault.

What factors influence fault?

Assigning fault in a truck crash isn’t a straightforward task. Several factors come into play, and comprehensive investigations are often required to uncover facts about the events leading up to the incident. Here are some critical elements that influence how fault is determined:


Negligence is a central concept in determining fault. It refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to another party. In the context of a truck crash, negligence could involve actions such as:

  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Failure to obey traffic laws
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Violating labor regulations

Violation of traffic laws

Traffic laws are designed to ensure the safety of all road users. If a driver—whether of a passenger vehicle or a commercial truck—violates these laws, it can significantly impact the determination of fault. For instance, running a red light, failing to yield, or not adhering to lane discipline can indicate negligence.

Driver fatigue and hours of service violations

To keep motorists safe, truck drivers are subject to regulations regarding their hours of service to prevent driver fatigue. Fatigue is a factor known to lead to collisions for truckers. So if a truck driver failed to comply with these regulations and is involved in a crash, they’d be found negligent.

Maintenance and mechanical failures

Truck crashes can also be caused by mechanical failures. Such occurrences include brake malfunctions, tire blowouts, and steering system issues. In such cases, the fault might lie with the trucking company if you can prove that inadequate maintenance or inspection procedures contributed to the incident.

Weather and road conditions

External factors like adverse weather conditions and poor road conditions can play a role in a collision. However, fault determination may become more complex in such cases, as it needs to be established whether a driver exercised due caution given the circumstances. When weather-related factors beyond the driver’s control cause crashes, nobody is at fault.

Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) and data

Many commercial trucks are equipped with electronic logging devices (ELDs) that track driving hours and other critical data. This information can be invaluable in determining fault by revealing factors like driving speed, rest breaks, and adherence to hours of service regulations. 

Witness testimonies and specialist analyzation

Eyewitness accounts and analysis from specialists can provide additional perspectives and valuable insights into the incident. Eyewitnesses might offer insights into the actions of the drivers involved. Accident reconstruction specialists can use forensic strategies and evidence from the scene to recreate the events leading up to the collision. 

Black box data

Commercial trucks often have event data recorders (EDRs), commonly referred to as “black boxes.” These devices record various vehicle parameters leading up to an untimely incident. This data is known to provide valuable information about factors such as:

  • Vehicle speed
  • Braking
  • Throttle usage
  • Engine RPM
  • Seatbelt Usage
  • Airbag Deployment
  • Steering Angle

Hire a truck accident attorney

Determining fault in a truck crash is a dynamic process based on tediously investigating a multitude of factors. For the layperson, tracking data related to driver negligence, traffic violations, fatigue, mechanical failures, and external conditions is too great a task to handle successfully. Thus, hiring a truck accident attorney is essential.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck crash, it’s crucial to seek legal advice from professionals who specialize in this arena. A skilled attorney can guide you through the process, ensuring that the evidence is properly analyzed, and your rights to compensation are protected. A consultation to examine your legal options can be arranged for free.

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