In most road accidents involving a semi-truck, the trucker is presumably at fault. However, this can be quite tricky, especially if there are several other conditions at play.
For example, weather or road conditions may also be responsible for a semi-truck accident. Evidently, the trucker is minimally at fault when such conditions take over control of the truck.
According to a report from Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration, nearly 9% of truck accidents involve a rollover. And most of them have been reported to be fatal or at least causing someone grave disability.
Physics Behind Rollovers
The huge size of trucks and carrier vehicles creates a higher center of mass. And by default, the center of gravity of trucks and tractor-trailers is also high. This creates an imbalance in load distribution at higher speeds.
When a sudden change in direction, either due to oversteering, understeering, or counter steering, is induced, the truck’s center of mass shifts to the outer edge of the curve.
In simple terms, the centrifugal force causes the semi-truck to rollover when turned at high speeds.
The Common Reasons
The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration analyzed 239 rollover cases in 2009. Out of these reported crashes, nearly a half resulted from overspeeding at turns of corners. The drivers failed to adjust the speed to the corners.
It is, perhaps, one of the leading causes of rollover crashes. However, as it mentions here https://www.shragerlaw.com/practice-areas/truck-accidents/, other causes also include loading, condition of brakes, road conditions, and so on. It has also been reported that the third leading cause of rollovers is distracted driving and fatigue.
Evidently, most of the rollover crashes can be avoided if the trucker is more cautious on the road. And this makes it easier to prove the fault for the victims of a semi-truck accident, regardless of the reasons.
However, when filing for a personal injury claim for truck accidents, the plaintiff must also consider whom to file the claim against. We’ll come to it.
Keep reading to know how the fault is proven in a semi-truck accident case.
Discovery of Evidence
The usual course for any personal injury claim would primarily involve discovery. A personal injury attorney would begin with an initial investigation and try to collect pieces of evidence.
Now, the noteworthy point here is, the evidence is needed for both to prove that the plaintiff has incurred damages, and also who is at fault. In most circumstances, as already evident from the aforementioned data, the trucker is at fault. However, for under-maintained trucks. the trucking company can be held liable.
Following the discovery of evidence, and initial formalities of the case filing procedure, the court may order arraignments. During this procedure, both parties usually try to settle the dispute out-of-court.
If in case, the arraignments fail, the case may then enter the courtroom. Here, pre-trials would commence, wherein the court would try to understand the case.
If the court deems fit, the case would then proceed to actual trials.
At the end of the trials, the court or the jury would pass the verdict. Notably, the verdict would not only decide whose at-fault but would also order compensations to be paid to the defendant or the victim.
Even though in most cases, truckers are held liable for rollovers, it is still better to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Nobody wants to hold an innocent person responsible for something they didn’t do, on their conscience.