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Accidents involving larger trucks in Arizona often result in major injuries and extensive property damage. Unfortunately, recovering compensation after these incidents can be challenging, even if a truck driver, trucking company, or another party was responsible for the incident. Here, we want to discuss how liability is determined for a truck accident claim, as well as review some of the possible liable parties. 

How Is Liability Determined After an Arizona Truck Crash?

Determining liability in Arizona is not easy and often involves multiple parties. Ultimately, these cases hinder on negligence, but negligence has a specific meaning in personal injury law. There are four elements that must be in place in order for a negligence claim to be successful:

  1. Duty. First, it must be shown that there was a duty of care established between the at-fault party and the plaintiff (the injury victim). The duty of care is generally established if all parties are on the roadway legally. Commercial truck drivers and trucking companies, as well as other third parties involved in the operation of the commercial vehicle, all owe various duties of care. This includes operating the vehicle safely, having regular inspections and maintenance on the vehicle, following state and federal regulations, and more. The simple nature of being on the roadways in Arizona means that these parties owe a duty of care to others around them.
  2. Breach. After establishing that there was a duty of care between the parties involved, it must be shown that the alleged negligent party breached their duty somehow. Depending on which party or parties are determined to be liable, this breach of duty could include a driver operating while impaired or speeding, or it could include a trucking company failing to adequately train their drivers. Your truck accident lawyer in Phoenix will examine the facts of the case and determine whether or not a breach of duty occurred.
  3. Causation. After establishing that there was a breach of duty, an attorney will need to show that the breach is what directly or indirectly caused the accident and the injuries involved.
  4. Damages. Finally, the plaintiff must have sustained some sort of monetary loss as a result of the incident, and this can include medical bills, property damage losses, lost wages, pain and suffering damages, and more.

There will be various types of evidence used to help determine liability after a truck crash occurs. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Photographs or video surveillance of the incident
  • The electronic logging device (ELD) and event data recorder (EDR)
  • Statements from eyewitnesses to the incident
  • Any accident or police report available
  • Maintenance records from the trucking carrier
  • A log of state and federal safety records for the vehicles

Who Could be Held Liable?

There may be various parties who could be held liable for a truck crash in Arizona. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking carrier
  • Governmental regulatory agencies
  • Third-party cargo loading companies
  • Mechanics responsible for the vehicle
  • Retailers or manufacturers who operate or contract the vehicles

A truck accident lawyer will examine all of the evidence gathered in the case and determine which party or parties should be held liable for the incident. In some cases, a civil lawsuit may be filed against more than one party in order to recover compensation.