Minnesota Semi Truck Accident: Theories of Fault

There are many things that can go wrong to cause a semi truck accident. If you have been in an accident with a semi truck, it is important that you protect yourself by hiring an experienced lawyer to handle the investigation. There is extensive evidence that must be preserved, analyzed, and compiled into a comprehensive, compelling case.

Theories of Fault in a Semi Truck Accident
These are areas that must be investigated in order to establish fault and prove liability.

  1. Driver negligence – Many things can fall under the category of negligence including, bad driving, cell phone usage while driving, driving while texting, inattentive behavior (eating, drinking, changing music, etc.).
  2. Equipment violations – Drivers are responsible for checking all of the equipment. Equipment includes brakes to the tractor, brakes to the trailer, parking brakes, steering devices, lighting devices, tires, horn, windshield wipers, rear vision mirrors, and coupling devices. Emergency medical equipment is also required.
    • Bad brakes – There are different types of braking systems and equipment. Drivers are to know their brakes systems; how to use them, inspect them, and adjust them. Out-of-adjustment brakes is the most common infraction cited at roadside inspections.
    • DOT bumpers – The DOT bumper is the bar you see on the back of the trailer that keeps the car from going under the trailer. Rear-impact guards and underride protection bars are required.
    • Failure to secure the load – Generally, it is the driver’s responsibility to properly distribute the weight and secure the load. Driver’s are also responsible for checking the load periodically.
  3. Negligent hiring – If a company does not take the time to thoroughly check driver’s credentials, that is negligence. It is a major cause for road accidents involving semi-trucks.
    • Employers must have a driver qualification file that includes:
      • Medical information
      • References
      • Drivers license information
      • Driving records
      • Drug tests
  4. Over hours – Drivers have specific rules regarding how many hours they can drive. There are many risks that accompany driver fatigue. There are many ways to verify hours. It takes prompt and diligent investigation.
    • Log books – verify the hours worked
    • Receipts show where they got gas
    • Put them together and see if they match
  5. Underride/conspicuity – Guards / bumpers have to meet dimensional specifications as well as energy-absorption requirements.
    • Underside is a crash when the vehicle is not seen, usually at night when turning, and a vehicle drives under the side of the trailer.
    • Underside crashes are usually catastrophic.
    • Trailers and trucks are required to have conspicuity striping, reflective tape, to make them light up when headlights hit them.

The following video shows what a difference reflective tape makes.

Additional Resources:

This information is provided as a service of TSR Injury Law, a leading Personal Injury Law Firm serving Minneapolis, St. Paul and the entire state of Minnesota. If we can be of assistance in any way, call 612-TSR-TIME. We care and want to help.