Any time that an individual gets behind the wheel of a car or truck, the inherent obligation to look out for the safety of oneself, one’s passengers and others is more than a matter of common sense, courtesy or even obeying traffic laws.
The law imposes a duty of reasonable care on drivers, and if that duty is breached and an injury or death ensues, the victims of that breach may have a cause of action in civil court for negligence.
As an example of how this duty of care works, take the example of a recent four-vehicle accident that took place in Texas. The driver of one of three semi-trucks that were involved died. At least one rear-end collision took place between two of the four vehicles.
In many cases, an accident that involves one vehicle striking another from behind will raise questions of possible negligence, such as whether the vehicle was speeding, driving too fast for the conditions, or whether the vehicle had some mechanical problem such as a brake failure.
Lawsuits based on negligence recognize that there is no way to undo the harm or adequately compensate survivors for the death of a loved one. But the victims and survivors may still be provided some restitution by a recovery of money damages. The court may award these damages or the party believed to be at fault may elect to settle the matter outside of court.
In the case of semi-trucks, which are often owned by a company or contracted for use, the company could also be the target of a lawsuit for liability.
Questions of negligence in connection with lawsuits or settlement negotiations certainly require factual investigation and proof, but also require legal analysis to ascertain whether all of the facts support a valid lawsuit.
Anyone injured in a collision or who is the loved one of another who was injured or killed in a collision, be it with a passenger car or a commercial big rig should consult with an attorney when contemplating whether the law affords any legal remedy.
Source: ConnectAmarillo, "Four-vehicle accident turns fatal for truck driver," Grayson Edds, July 14, 2014