The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has created strict regulations to help prevent fatal truck accidents. Unfortunately, commercial truck companies and drivers do not always follow the rules.
When this happens, deadly collisions can occur.
An accident involving a large commercial truck and a passenger vehicle can be traumatic. This is due to the size and weight of the truck compared to the smaller vehicle. In most situations, the smaller vehicle gets most of the damage, with occupants suffering catastrophic injuries or fatalities.
If you are in this situation, you may wonder who is liable. While the obvious culprit may be the truck driver, this is not always the case. There are situations where the driver, the driver’s employer, or both could be liable for the incident.
At Zimmet & Zimmet, we understand the devastating effects of truck accidents. Our personal injury lawyer will help you determine negligence and fault and seek justice. The first step is contacting our office for a free initial consultation.
The Doctrine of Vicarious Liability
In Florida, the “vicarious liability” doctrine often comes into play in truck accidents. Essentially, this legal principle states that an employer can be held responsible for the negligent actions of its employee, provided the employee acted within the scope of their employment.
The trucking company might be on the hook if a truck driver causes an accident while carrying out their duties.
For victims, this means they might have a valid claim against the driver and the trucking company. A truck accident attorney can provide guidance on how this doctrine applies to specific cases.
Direct Negligence by the Trucking Company
Beyond vicarious liability, trucking companies can be found directly negligent. For instance:
- Negligent Hiring: If the trucking company failed to conduct proper background checks and hired someone with a history of reckless driving, they might be liable for negligent hiring.
- Inadequate Training: Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring their drivers are adequately trained. Failure to provide proper training can be grounds for proving liability.
- Poor Vehicle Maintenance: Truck companies must maintain their fleet in safe condition. The company can be held responsible if a lack of maintenance or inspections leads to an accident.
Proving Liability – The Crucial Steps
Knowing what is needed to prove liability in a truck accident is necessary. Steps involved in this process include:
Collect Concrete Evidence
In the aftermath of a truck accident, gathering concrete evidence is paramount. This can include photographs of the accident scene, vehicle damages, and any road conditions that may have contributed. Witness testimonies, video footage from nearby security cameras, or dash cams can also be invaluable.
Review Logs and Company Records
A thorough examination of the truck driver’s logs can reveal if they violated any regulations, such as driving for extended hours without rest. Similarly, maintenance logs can show if the trucking company neglected regular inspections or essential repairs, which could have affected the accident.
Consult with Experts
Sometimes, the evidence isn’t black and white. In such instances, expert testimonies can help. Accident reconstruction specialists, for instance, can recreate the scenario to understand the events leading to the crash. Their insights can be instrumental in pinpointing liability.
Understand Florida’s Specific Laws
Every state has its nuances when it comes to traffic laws and regulations. In Florida, understanding specific statutes, such as the comparative fault system, can significantly impact a case. Familiarity with these laws is essential when building a strong argument for liability.
Proving liability in a truck accident case requires a meticulous approach, blending concrete evidence with expert insights and a deep understanding of the state’s laws. This thorough process ensures that victims stand the best chance of obtaining justice.
Florida’s Comparative Fault System
It’s essential to note that Florida operates under a “comparative fault” system. This system allows victims to recover compensation, even if they are partially responsible or at fault.
While true, the compensation they are awarded will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For instance, if you’re deemed 20% at fault and have $100,000 in damages, you’ll receive $80,000. A truck accident attorney can help navigate this system and ensure victims get a fair settlement.
Why Seeking Legal Help is Essential
If you are involved in a truck accident, seeking assistance from a truck accident attorney is recommended. Some of the reasons for this include the following:
- Complexity of the Law: Navigating the intricate web of legal statutes, especially in truck accident cases, can be daunting. Laws can vary by state, and understanding the specific regulations applicable in Florida is crucial.
- Handling Insurance Companies: Insurance companies often aim to minimize payouts and possess resources to build a strong defense. Engaging with them without legal representation can be detrimental to your claim.
- Accurate Valuation of Damages: Quantifying the damages post-accident — from medical bills to lost wages and emotional trauma — demands expertise.
- Peace of Mind: Victims need to focus on recovery after a traumatic event. Entrusting the legal aspects to a professional ensures that the case is handled diligently, giving victims the peace of mind they need during challenging times.
Seeking legal aid is not just beneficial—it’s vital. It guarantees that your interests are protected and your chances of securing a fair settlement are maximized.
Our Truck Accident Attorney Can Help with Your Case
In Florida, trucking companies can indeed be held liable for the accidents caused by their drivers. However, proving liability requires a thorough understanding of Florida laws and a strategic approach. Victims should consider seeking the expertise of a truck accident attorney to ensure their rights are protected and they receive the compensation they deserve.
Remember, it’s always better to be informed and have a professional by your side regarding complex legal scenarios like these. Truck accidents are no exception.
If you need help after a truck accident, contact our Florida injury attorneys at Zimmet & Zimmet. We can determine liability and help you recover compensation.