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Violations of rules of the road can be key in negligence case

Most laws in Pennsylvania and elsewhere around the country exist for a reason. Traffic laws are a prime example of this, as speed limits, yield regulations and other traffic control laws are meant to improve safety for those on the road.

As discussed last week in this blog, there are additional rules and regulations that apply for truck drivers and companies. The federal trucking regulations establish a number of safety standards that must be satisfied, including standards not only related to driving, but also in the maintenance and performance of motor vehicle carriers.

When collisions occur between truck drivers and others on the road, it is important to establish whether any rules of the road were violated. It is also important to determine whether all relevant federal trucking regulations were complied with leading up to the crash.

If the other driver who caused the crash did not follow the law, these violations can be used to show that person was a negligent driver. Under the concept known as negligence per se, a person can be shown to be negligent partly by virtue of his or her violation of a statute. This is especially true for violations designed to protect the public safety.

Typically, in a negligence per se theory, it must be shown that the harm suffered by the injured person is the type of harm the statute or regulation is designed to prevent. The injured person must also show he or she belongs to the class of persons that were supposed to be protected under the rule. Finally, as with any negligence case, it must be shown that the violation was the cause of the injury.

Source: FindLaw, "Negligence," accessed on Sept. 10, 2016

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