According to California negligence law, a truck driver who is found guilty of negligence can be held liable for causing injuries and damages to a motorist. A driver who was injured by a negligent truck driver is entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, the aggrieved individual has to prove the truck driver’s negligence was the primary factor that caused the accident.
There are three (3) elements for demonstrating negligence in a California trucking accident:
- The truck driver owed the accident victim a duty of care
- The truck driver breached their duty of care through negligence
- The truck driver’s breach was the significant factor in causing a victim's losses
A duty of care is a basic legal requirement for every truck driver to watch out for other drivers and use reasonable caution while behind the wheel.
For example, a duty of care for a truck driver would require that driver to:
- Watch for pedestrians, other vehicles, and obstacles
- Control the movement and speed of their truck
- Use reasonable care while operating their truck
On the other hand, all drivers also have a duty of care to a truck driver. This means that a driver is expected to drive in a reasonable manner and not for example, drive while under the influence or fail to follow traffic laws. Any acts of negligence on the driver’s part will incur liability on his or her part and will also reduce the amount of recoverable damages.
According to California strict liability law, the designers, manufacturers and companies that play a role in a product’s chain of distribution can all be held liable if a defective product causes a trucking accident.
In a strict liability case, negligence is not a factor when determining liability. Strict liability claims can be based on:
- Faulty accelerator pedals
- Faulty engine/transmission parts
- Faulty tires
- Faulty brakes
- Faulty cargo ties or straps
In summary, if a defective part causes -- or contributes to causing -- a trucking accident, an injured victim may have a number of possible sources to seek compensation from.