If I Might Be Partially at Fault for a Truck Accident, Can I Still File a Claim?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Alan J. Robertson with Sloan Firm.
The phrase “it takes two to tango” is not reserved exclusively for relationship spats; fault is often found on both sides of an issue, including accidents. When an accident occurs between a large truck or 18-wheeler and a standard motor vehicle, it’s not uncommon for the standard vehicle to share some fault. Changing lanes without warning, stopping too quickly, and following a semi-truck too close are all ways a standard vehicle driver could potentially contribute to an accident.
Drivers of large trucks are required to follow stringent industry safety regulations due to the severity of the damages which can occur when safety is overlooked. However, truck drivers typically spend long hours on the road under harsh conditions; fatigue and distracted driving are two of the most common factors contributing to collisions.
If you suspect that you might be partially at fault for a truck accident, you may still be able to file a claim. However, if you suspect you might have contributed to an accident, it’s important to refrain from making any official statements. Talking about the accident before an investigation has been completed can seriously hurt your chances for recovery. To discuss your options, it’s important to reach out to an experienced truck accident lawyer located in the state where the accident occurred.
Someone who is partially at fault may still be eligible to file a claim.
This eligibility hinges primarily on the doctrine your state practices in regard to partial fault. Texas, like the majority of states, practices a form of comparative negligence. However, Texas is unique in that their modified comparative negligence doctrine limits the at-fault party’s potential for compensation with the 51% bar rule; this means that if a driver is considered more than 50% at fault for a collision, the driver is not eligible for legal recourse. In regard to many truck-on-car accidents, the truck driver is often considered more liable than the passenger vehicle driver, since their much larger vehicle requires extra attention to safety.
Refrain from discussing fault until an investigation has been conducted.
Accident attorneys strongly recommend that drivers involved in an accident refrain from discussing fault until an official investigation has been conducted. Even something as simple as a casual apology can later be taken as an admission of guilt and hurt your chances for recovery. The other difficulty with accident fault is that the situation is often not as it first seems. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for a driver to assume they were at fault, only to find that at the same moment they were committing a traffic violation the other driver was texting, or even driving under the influence. These details are extremely important to establishing liability, so it’s important to refrain from making any guesses until your attorney has investigated the incident with the help of accident recreation experts.
Large trucks can cause large damage.
Big trucks can cause serious damage if the driver doesn’t follow the rules. While standard passenger vehicle drivers can do plenty of damage on their own, the general severity of the injuries associated with car-on-car accidents versus car-on-truck accidents is significant. This is why truck drivers are expected to adhere to even more particular safety standards. These same drivers are often backed by powerful trucking companies with their own insurance and legal teams practiced at shifting the blame.
If you or a loved one were involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer where you might have been partially at fault, don’t try to handle the situation alone. Reach out to a truck accident attorney in your area to make sure a fair investigation is conducted and to establish your eligibility to file.