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Federal safety violations and the issue of negligence

Patricia M. Jarzobski

In our last post, we mentioned that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is preparing to establish a new regulation which will require manufacturers of large trucks to include electronic stability control system for all new vehicles manufactured after August 2017. The regulation is the latest addition to the corpus of federal regulations addressing the issue of trucking safety.  

As we noted, compliance with truck safety regulations is an important issue when it comes to building a strong personal injury case against a trucking company and/or an individual truck driver. This is because failure to abide by federal safety regulations is a form of negligence, and demonstrating that failure helps build a solid case for negligence. 

Generally speaking, motor vehicle accident cases must include sufficient evidence demonstrating four elements: the existence of a legal duty; breach of that duty; harm to the plaintiff; and legal causation between the breach and the plaintiff’s harm. When it comes to the element of negligence, there are different ways to go about providing evidence. Generally, the more facets of negligence a plaintiff is able to highlight in a personal injury case, the stronger the case is going to be, provided that negligence is well supported by the evidence.  

For a personal injury plaintiff, the ability to clearly explain federal trucking safety regulations and provide clear evidence of their violation is important, but not always as easy as it might sound. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney is important, therefore, to ensure one puts together the strongest case possible. 

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