Commercial Truckers Are Held to a Higher Standard of Care

If you’ve injured in an accident due to a commercial truck driver’s negligence, then Arizona law may entitle you to significant compensation.

When litigating a claim against a commercial truck driver — and thanks to the application of vicarious liability principles, their employer — you may find that establishing negligence is somewhat “easier” to do than litigating a claim against a non-commercial driver.  As a general rule, professionals in all walks of life are held to a stricter standard of care in skill/knowledge areas than the average person.

Let’s take a quick peek at why this dynamic exists.

Negligence Basics and the Standard of Care

In order to prove the defendant’s negligence, you will have to show that they violated the applicable standard of care under the circumstances, and that in doing so, they substantially contributed to your injuries.  The standard of care (in truck accidents and in other contexts) is that of a reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances.

How does this work?

When a defendant injures you in an accident, for example, the court will evaluate what a reasonably prudent person would have done had they been put in the same or similar circumstances.  This is a rather “fuzzy” determination, depending on the case.  Suppose that a driver gets into a collision after quickly changing the channel on their radio player — it may not be obvious that a reasonably prudent person under the same or similar circumstances would not have taken their eyes off the road for a second to change the station.

Commercial drivers (i.e., truckers) may be held to a higher standard due to their role as professionals.

Professional Skillset and Knowledge Play a Significant Role

Negligence is a violation of the standard of care, which is a measure of what a reasonably prudent person would have done under the same or similar circumstances, but there’s an important caveat — those circumstances are not just external, but also internal.

If the defendant is a professional truck driver with a commercial license and years of experience and specialized training, then the jury is well within their rights to evaluate that information with regard to the standard of care.  Fairly evaluating a reasonably prudent person under the same or similar circumstances must necessarily involve a professional driver, as those are the circumstances applicable to the case.  If the defendant is driving an eighteen wheeler truck, for example, it would hardly be representative of the case at-hand for the court to compare the defendant to an imagined “non-commercial driver” who is operating the same vehicle under the same road conditions.

Thus, the advanced training and knowledge of the commercial trucker defendant is almost certainly going to be advantageous for your claims, as the defendant will naturally be expected to exercise a higher level of caution and skill.

Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyer

Hirsch & Lyon is a boutique personal injury litigation firm located in Phoenix, AZ, and serving injured plaintiffs throughout the state of Arizona.

We have extensive experience litigating claims on behalf of those who have been harmed due to the fault of another in various motor vehicle accident scenarios, from truck accidents to car accidents — in fact, we exclusively handle such disputes.  Our focus on personal injury cases makes us especially well-equipped to navigate the complexities of truck accident litigation (involving commercial truck drivers and their employers) and to secure maximum compensation for our clients.

If you’d like to learn more about your claims and how best to move forward on the road to recovery, call 602-535-1900 or send us a message through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Phoenix truck accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today.

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