Accidents involving a commercial truck are often different than other motor vehicle accidents, largely due to the increased potential for damage, injury, and possible fatalities. Due to the size and weight of commercial trucks compared to passenger vehicles, these trucks can be extremely dangerous. Although trucking accidents often have similar causes in comparison to car accidents, like distracted and fatigued driving, they may also be caused by factors largely unique to commercial trucking, such as improper loading.
The trucking or cargo company that owns the commercial truck may be liable in many accidents. If the truck driver was acting within the scope of employment at the time of the accident, the company that employs the driver may be liable. The company may also be liable if the accident was caused by driver fatigue from the company’s extreme expectations and pressure, improper maintenance, overloaded trucks, improper loading, failure to properly train the driver, or negligent hiring of the truck driver.
Truck drivers are generally the most common party liable for an accident if they were negligent in operating the truck. Drivers may negligently cause an accident by speeding, driving distracted, driving under the influence, reckless driving, or fatigued driving.
In some cases, various government agencies like the department of transportation or county agencies may be held liable for trucking accidents if they were responsible for poorly designed roads or not properly maintaining roadways where the accident took place.
In commercial trucking accident cases, fault is generally determined in a similar manner to most personal injury accidents, with four basic elements:
The first element in determining fault is determining whether the truck driver owed a duty of care to the victim. Generally, a truck driver owes a duty of care to all other drivers on the road to operate the commercial truck in a safe and lawful manner while not causing harm to anyone or their property.
If the driver owed a duty of care to the victim, it must next be shown the driver breached this duty. Examples of negligent behavior by the truck driver include driving under the influence, driving distracted, speeding, or running a red light or stop sign.
After proving the other party breached a duty to the victim, there must be evidence that the victim suffered damages because of this breach. Damages may include physical injuries suffered in the accident, vehicle damage, or other damages. In wrongful death cases, the death of the victim generally satisfies the damages requirement.
Finally, the victim must prove the other party’s breach was the actual cause of the victim’s damages. For instance, a victim can prove causation by showing injuries were suffered due to the truck driver running a red light. If there is evidence of a breach of duty, and the victim suffered damages, but there is no evidence those damages were caused by the other party’s breach, the victim will not receive any compensation.
The truck driver, as the employee, will often be held responsible for a commercial trucking accident if the driver’s negligence caused the accident. However, the driver’s employer may be solely liable if the accident was caused by the employer’s negligence through improper loading or inadequate maintenance on the truck.
Even if the driver is held responsible, the driver’s employer may still be ultimately held responsible. If the employer knew the driver had a history of reckless driving, the employer may be liable for negligent hiring. If the employer pressured the driver to adhere to strict timetables, the employer could be liable for the driver speeding or driving while fatigued.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident in Florida, you should contact an experienced Florida commercial truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. A personal injury attorney can help pursue compensation for your injuries while you focus on recovering.
After gathering evidence and investigating the accident, your personal injury lawyer may begin negotiating with the other party or the insurer to reach a settlement that is mutually agreeable to both sides and adequately compensates you for your injuries. If your attorney is not able to get the other side to agree to a settlement that fully compensates you, your case may then go to trial. Mike Redondo and the team at Redondo Law have years of experience helping accident victims recover from accidents and successfully pursue the compensation they deserve. Contact the firm today to discuss how he can help.