Who is Liable for a Commercial Truck Accident in Florida
Determining liability in a truck accident can be complicated, especially because negligence is the foundation of many truck accident cases. There may be more than one cause or form of negligence that contributes to an accident, and it typically takes a complete investigation before we can find out who was really at fault. Factors such as speeding, reckless driving, overloading trucks and violating trucking regulations can all lead to a trucking accident.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Florida, Farah & Farah can help you act quickly and decisively to figure out who is responsible. Whether you need to purchase a new vehicle or be compensated for lost wages, medical expenses, or other damages, our truck accident attorneys can help you fight for justice.
Potential Liable Parties in a Trucking Collision</h2>
In many cases, it is hard to determine exactly who is at fault for a trucking collision. For example, an incident where a truck driver collides with another driver may appear straightforward at first glance. But a deeper investigation could uncover other potentially responsible parties. For example, a negligent inspection process could have affected the driver’s ability to safely operate the truck.
Let’s dive deeper into the potential liable parties for a trucking accident in Florida:
The Truck Driver
Commercial truck drivers may be liable in an accident for many reasons.. This can be the case if the driver consumed drugs or alcohol, broke traffic laws, was driving while drowsy or with certain health conditions, or was driving long hours in a single trip. While it may seem like the driver is solely responsible in these instances, that’s not necessarily true.
There are complicating factors when it comes to driver liability. Even though it may appear to be solely the driver’s fault, there could be more to the story that requires a deeper investigation. Is the driver self-employed, or were they hired by another company? If they were hired by another company that was negligent in enforcing safe working conditions, then driver errors related to driving excessive hours without rest may shift fault to that company.
The Trucking Company
In many cases, shared or full liability can fall on a trucking company – but proving fault can be a tricky process. Exposing the full truth often requires a qualified team of attorneys, investigators, and expert witnesses who can fight for you. Liability can be assigned to trucking companies that carried out incomplete inspections, cut safety-related corners to increase delivery speed, or pushed drivers too far with unrealistic deadlines and expectations.
And while many trucking companies own their own fleet of trucks, that’s not always the case. Questions of liability may be further complicated when third-party truck owners are involved.
The Truck Owner
When the mechanical failure of a truck part is involved in an accident, it’s important for your lawyer to uncover any maintenance contracts between the trucking company, the owner of the truck in question (if it’s not the trucking company), the cargo shipper, and the vehicle manufacturer. Typically, the vehicle’s owner is responsible for maintenance, and the owner may be a separate entity from the trucking company. If the vehicle’s owner did not conduct adequate, routine maintenance on the vehicle as mandated by federal guidelines – leading to a problem that the owner should have known about and repaired – then the owner’s liability is increased.
However, when accidents involve a faulty truck part, the chain of liability may not end with the vehicle’s owner.
The Truck Manufacturer or Cargo Loader
In certain situations, liability may extend all the way to the manufacturer of a defective truck part. Defective parts can lead to tire blowouts, brake failure, and other critical failures. If experts determine that the failure of a part was caused by the manufacturer’s negligence, then it may be added as a party to the lawsuit.
Additionally, some accidents involve the improper inspecting, loading, and securing of cargo on a truck. When cargo falls off a truck and damages another vehicle or causes injury, then the cargo loader and their employer may be liable. There are detailed requirements for how a truck must be loaded that cover the size and weight of the truck, the types of materials being transported, and where they are being transported. Improperly loaded trucks can also affect a driver’s ability to safely operate their truck by increasing the risk of rollovers or preventing a driver from stopping quickly.
Trucking Accident Laws: Liability Factors in Florida Truck Accidents
In Florida, there are a variety of factors that must be considered when establishing liability in a truck accident. Based on their large size and very high interstate mileage, the insurance policies for a semi-truck or 18-wheeler can be worth up to $1 million dollars. With such high stakes, trucking companies and their insurers are very motivated to shift fault onto you, the driver, in order to deny full liability. That’s why the specific details of your particular accident are critical when assigning fault, including:
- The extent of damage for your vehicle and the truck
- The presence of witnesses
- If driver error from any involved parties was a contributing factor
- The weather conditions on the day of the accident
- The speed at which all involved parties were traveling
- The truck driver’s mental, emotional, and physical state
Get a Free Case Review and See How Farah & Farah Can Help With Your Truck Accident Claim
If you’ve suffered due to a truck accident in Florida, we know what you are going through. We also know that navigating the complex process of seeking rightful compensation is a lot easier when you have a dedicated team of professional attorneys going to bat for you.
If you’ve been in a trucking accident on the Florida roadways, contact us today to talk about your options for your case. Our truck accident attorneys have the experience and resources needed to fully investigate your case and help you fight for justice.