How Is Liability Proven in Truck Accident Cases?

July 23, 2021 Truck Accidents

If you’ve been hurt in a commercial truck accident and believe the truck driver, trucking company or another party is to blame, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your related injuries. Before you can achieve a settlement or jury verdict, however, you will have to prove liability. Liability is the legal term for a financial obligation owed. Proving liability is a complex and layered legal requirement that may require assistance from an attorney.

Is Nebraska a Fault or No-Fault State?

In Nebraska, the party that is liable for an automobile accident is the person or entity responsible for causing the crash. This is how the law works in a tort-based insurance state. In a no-fault state, on the other hand, all injured parties receive financial compensation from their own insurance providers, regardless of fault, and do not have to prove liability.

Nebraska’s fault law requires the filing party to prove someone else is responsible for the wreck to obtain financial compensation. If the claim is successful, the party that is found liable for the collision will have to pay for the victim’s related expenses, including medical bills, property repairs and lost wages. All trucking companies and truck drivers must carry minimum required amounts of insurance to pay for these expenses.

What Is Negligence?

Proving liability for a truck accident in Nebraska typically requires establishing negligence. Negligence is a legal theory that means someone has failed to use reasonable care, resulting in harm to another person or party. Most personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits are based on the doctrine of negligence. Negligence has four main elements of proof:

  1. Duty of care. An obligation to act in a reasonable and prudent manner.
  2. Breach of duty. Nonperformance of the duty of care, or a lack of care.
  3. Causation. A causal link between the breach of duty and the truck accident.
  4. Damages. Compensable losses were suffered in the collision by the filing party.

Common examples of truck driver negligence that can cause an accident are driving under the influence, texting and driving, driving while distracted, driving while fatigued, violating traffic laws, running red lights, making unsafe lane changes, and following too closely. Examples of trucking company negligence are improper driver training, lack of fleet maintenance and unsafe cargo-loading procedures.

What Is the Burden of Proof?

To prove liability in a truck accident case, you or your attorney must meet the burden of proof. This is an obligation to prove your allegations at trial. In a criminal case, the burden of proof is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. A civil case, however, has a lesser burden of proof: a preponderance of the evidence. This is clear and convincing evidence that demonstrates that the defendant is more likely than not at fault for the truck accident. This burden rests with the plaintiff, or filing party, in a civil claim.

What Evidence Is Available?

Meeting the burden of proof in a truck accident case requires strong evidence. There are many different types of evidence, including direct, circumstantial, physical, documentary and testimonial evidence. You or your attorney will need to preserve, gather and present evidence that proves that the defendant is liable for your crash. Evidence in your particular case may include photographs, videos, a police report, your medical records, signed eyewitness statements, the truck’s black box, safety compliance records and employment records.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney for Assistance

Proving that one or more parties are liable for your commercial truck accident in Omaha can result in the financial compensation that you and your family need to pay for related bills and move forward. However, it is up to you or your attorney to prove liability. 

You may need a truck accident attorney’s assistance in establishing fault and negotiating for a fair settlement award in Nebraska. An attorney will have the resources, investigators, personnel and experience to help you substantiate your personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Contact an Omaha truck accident lawyer today for more information about your recent accident.