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Using truck safety regulations in personal injury litigation

We’ve been looking in recent posts at the federal hours of service rules and the ongoing developments regarding the 34-hour restart rule. As we pointed out last time, the whole discussion of trucking safety, rules and regulations is an important not only because it directly impacts highway safety, but also because it impacts the ability of those harmed in trucking accidents to recover damages from negligent truck drivers.

In any personal injury case, building a solid case requires that a plaintiff prove various elements to establish liability. Generally speaking, there are four primary elements that must be support with reliable evidence: duty; breach; causation; and harm. Without meeting the requirements of each of these elements, an accident victim does not have a meritorious case. 

Trucking safety regulations relate to the duty aspect of personal injury litigation. To establish duty, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant was bound by some legal duty at the time of the accident. This can be any number of things, including: the duty to follow traffic regulations; the duty to keep a commercial motor vehicle properly maintained; the duty to comply with federal hours of service rules; or just the general duty to exercise reasonable care in the operation of a motor vehicle.

The more strongly a plaintiff is able to establish both the defendant’s duty and the breach of that duty, the more meritorious his or her case will be in court, assuming causation and harm can be adequately proven. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help ensure a truck accident victim will have the strongest possible case and put the best foot forward in court. 

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