Negligence is best understood in the context of two other legal concepts: fault and liability.
Liability answers the question, “Who bears responsibility for what happened?” Meanwhile, fault involves establishing what and/or who caused the accident.
Negligence is a specific kind of fault. Whoever’s proven negligent in an accident will be at fault, and will bear some degree of liability for the damages incurred.
Negligence refers to careless or inadvertent actions, which cause harm to another person. In a truck accident, even if the driver did not deliberately want to cause harm, any failure to exercise a reasonable standard of care is negligence. Negligence is also presumed where the driver has violated any pertinent federal or state laws.
For example, there are federal regulations which require regular repair/maintenance of trucks. Let’s say a truck driver failed to conduct a pre-trip wheel inspection, so he didn’t notice his tires were worn out. If the tire blows out during the drive, causing an accident, that would count as negligence.
Another example is lane changing. Because trucks are so large and heavy, lane changing is a particularly dangerous maneuver. That’s why trucks are mandated to minimize lane changes. If a truck makes a sudden lane change and causes an accident, that would also be an act of negligence.