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Understanding Fault in Semi-Truck Accidents

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Understanding Fault in Semi-Truck Accidents

November 28, 2021
By Lafferty Gallagher Scott

Under the law, the concept of negligence determines whether or not someone is at fault for an accident. While this rule applies to most injury lawsuits, it applies to all traffic accident liability lawsuits. In this article, we will discuss negligence in semi-truck accidents in Toledo.

What is Negligence Specifically?

Under the law, negligence has a three-factor test:

  • The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff
  • The defendant failed in that duty of care
  • The plaintiff was injured as a result of the defendant’s failure

Understanding Negligence in Terms of Trucking Companies

Trucking companies are regulated at the federal level. To avoid confusion in lawsuits, the federal government imposes several requirements on trucking companies that automatically impute negligence when they are not followed. Types of trucking company negligence include:

  • Negligent hiring, retention, and entrustment – Trucking companies must do their due diligence when hiring drivers. Failure to vet a driver has resulted in companies placing trucks in the hands of those with suspended CDLs or no CDL at all. The trucking company has a duty of care to ensure their drivers are qualified and capable. 
  • Simple traffic violations – Even the truck driver has years of decorated experience, accidents happen. If your attorney can prove that the truck driver was at least 50% responsible for the accident, you can still recover damages, albeit, only half of the total damages award.
  • Truck mechanical failures – Tire blowouts on large commercial trucks result in several fatal accidents each year. In some cases, the trucking company failed to service the tire prior to delivery, even though they are required to by law. In other cases, the tire may have been defective or improperly installed. If the truck company failed to inspect the tire, they broke the law and are responsible for any injuries caused in an accident.
  • Cargo failures – Improperly loaded cargo can collapse causing the weight distribution within the truck to become skewed one way or the other. When this happens, the truck is at increased risk of turning over or jackknifing. Ultimately, the trucking company is responsible for how the cargo is loaded.

Ohio Negligence Laws and Personal Injury Lawsuits

Ohio has a modified form of contributory negligence. That means that a plaintiff can be barred from filing a lawsuit against a defendant if it is determined that the plaintiff contributed more than 50% of the fault. Determinations of fault are conducted by a jury or in accord with an agreement between you and the defendant’s insurer. Plaintiffs who are found at fault for accidents (but less than 50% at fault for the accident) can still seek a percentage of their damages reduced by their own percentage of fault.

Talk to an Ohio Truck Accident Attorney Today

Have you been involved in an accident with a semi-truck or tractor-trailer? If so, let the attorneys at Lafferty, Gallagher, & Scott review your claim for free and discuss your options for pursuing damages against the defendant.

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