A successful truck accident claim, like any successful personal injury claim, requires the injured party to prove two things:
- The injury happened–at least partly–because someone else failed to live up to their responsibilities, and
- The number of damages the injured person suffered
If the case goes to trial, this evidence will be presented to the jury. The jury must be convinced that the defendant was responsible for the injury before they can award any damages. Then, they’ll consider evidence of damages to decide how much compensation the injured person should receive.
This evidence is critical even if the case is settled. That’s because an insurance company is more likely to settle a claim if a jury will likely decide in favor of the injured person, and the amount of the settlement offered depends in part on what damages the insurer believes the plaintiff can prove.
Proof of Liability in a Truck Accident Case
In most truck accident cases and other motor vehicle accident cases, liability is based on negligence. That means proving that:
- The defendant had a legal duty of care, and
- They breached (or failed to live up to) that duty, and
- That failure caused the crash and resulting injuries and other losses
The type of evidence required to prove negligence depends on the circumstances. For instance, proving that the defendant was violating a traffic safety law at the time of the collision and that the violation caused the injury may be sufficient under Texas law. But, in cases where there was no traffic safety violation or the defendant wasn’t prosecuted for that violation, proving that the defendant acted negligently may be more complicated. In some cases, expert witnesses may be required.
In some truck accident cases, other types of claims may be involved. For example, if the traffic crash was caused–even partly–by a faulty vehicle part, then the plaintiff may pursue a product liability claim. The evidence required to prove liability in a defective product case is different. It is generally not necessary to prove that the manufacturer was negligent to establish liability. But it may require expert witnesses to establish that the part was defective and that the defect caused or contributed to the collision.
Most of this evidence is similar to what you would need to present in any motor vehicle accident case. However, there are some additional issues and complications in a commercial truck accident case. One is that the different ways truck drivers are employed or contracted in the commercial transport industry make liability issues more complex. Another is that commercial truck drivers in the United States are subject to federal regulations in addition to state and local traffic laws and ordinances.
Determining who may be liable for a truck accident injury and how best to assemble evidence to demonstrate liability can be complicated. An experienced San Antonio truck accident attorney can be your best source of information about your possible claims. The truck accident lawyers at the Law Office of George Salinas have the experience necessary to assess your claims and build the strongest possible case on your behalf.
Proving Damages in a Truck Accident Case
After a serious injury, proving damages can be complicated. For example:
- You’ll have to prove not just the amount of your medical bills, but that the medical care was necessary because of the accident, and
- If future medical care is anticipated, expert witnesses may be required to establish what continuing care will be necessary and how expensive that medical care will be, and
- If your future earning capacity is expected to be limited, you may need both medical experts to establish the extent of the ongoing limitations and an economic expert to calculate and testify to the amount of income you’re likely to lose across the remainder of your life.
You’ll also have to prove non-economic damages like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. This usually requires a different type of evidence, which may include testimony from the injured person about their past activities, the pain they experience, limitations on daily life, and physical and psychological suffering. This may be supported by testimony from friends and family, evidence of past activities and involvements, and even testimony from a mental health professional.
Assembling this evidence is a painstaking process that includes collecting medical records and bills from all medical providers associated with the accident, reviewing any prior medical records for issues the defendant may try to use to claim the accident was not the cause of the injury, securing and working with medical experts, collecting income records and calculating lost earnings, identifying and preparing witnesses, working with economic experts, preparing presentations to show changes in quality of life, and more.
An Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
The best way to build a strong San Antonio truck accident case is to work with an experienced local truck accident attorney from the beginning. You can schedule a free consultation right now by calling 210-225-0909, filling out our contact form, or clicking in the lower right corner of this page to chat.
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