Elements to Prove in a Truck Accident Lawsuit

Publication date: 07.04.2020

Update date: 12.11.2023

Author: Katrina S. Brown

If you or someone in your family has been seriously injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to monetary damages. Unfortunately, you can expect the defendant and their insurance company to search for any possible reason to deny your claim or reduce its value. To win a settlement or verdict, your attorney will have to prove three elements: liability, causation, and damages.

Read on to learn about the kinds of evidence that may be needed to win your case:

1. Liability

In most truck accident lawsuits, liability is established by proving that the defendant (or one of its employees) was negligent. To prove negligence, it must be shown that there was a breach of the duty of care owed to the plaintiff, or to the decedent in the case of wrongful death. Below are a few examples of negligence that might lead to a commercial truck crash:

  • The truck driver was behind the wheel for too many consecutive hours and thus in violation of the Hours of Service regulations;
  • The truck driver violated another traffic law such as breaking the speed limit or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • The cargo was negligently loaded or improperly secured;
  • A mechanic performed negligent maintenance on the vehicle; or
  • The motor carrier had negligent hiring or training practices.

Evidence of negligence may include:

  • The police report;
  • Deposition from eyewitnesses and an accident reconstruction expert;
  • Surveillance and dashcam recordings;
  • Photos of the crash scene and property damage;
  • Black box data;
  • Timestamped bills of lading and other cargo manifests;
  • Toll booth records; and
  • Cellphone records.

2. Causation

You must be able to prove that your medical bills and other damages would not have been incurred but for the tort. Evidence of causation may include healthcare records such as diagnostic imaging, prescription documents, and lab test results; photos of injuries and property damage; surveillance and dashcam footage of the crash; the police report; and deposition from various medical experts.

If you had a pre-existing medical condition, it is possible that the defense will argue that your healthcare costs and other damages stem from that condition and not from the accident. To counter this defense, your attorney might use medical expert deposition and your healthcare records from before and after the wreck.

3. Damages

In Mississippi, auto accident victims have the right to pursue compensation for the following damages:

  • Lost income,
  • Lost future income,
  • Medical costs,
  • Property repairs,
  • Other economic damages,
  • Physical impairment,
  • Disfigurement,
  • Pain and suffering,
  • Emotional distress,
  • Inconvenience,
  • Mental anguish,
  • Embarrassment,
  • Loss of consortium,
  • Injury to reputation, and
  • Loss of life enjoyment.

The evidence needed to prove damages will depend on the kinds of damages being sought. Potentially valuable evidence includes medical records; income tax returns and other financial documents; your personal injury journal; photos of injuries; receipts for costs related to the accident or injury; and deposition from medical, financial, and vocational experts.

Discuss Your Case with a Truck Accident Lawyer in Jackson

The attorneys at Brown Bass & Jeter, PLLC have extensive experience representing truck accident victims and their families. We know what it takes to win substantial settlements and verdicts against even the largest motor carriers and their insurance companies. For a free consultation, dial 601-487-8448 or send us a message online.

Call Us for a Free Consultation

(601) 487-8448