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Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident in Florida?

February 1, 2024 – Michael S. Herman, Jr., Esq.

who is liable in a truck accident

Florida’s highways have recently witnessed a series of alarming truck accidents, each underscoring the grave risks these large vehicles pose on the road. Headlines like “Turnpike reopens in Osceola County after crash involving 3 semis, SUV & pickup truck,” “One killed, one seriously injured in tractor-trailer crash,” and “Florida’s Turnpike halts as major crash prompts mass casualty incident” are stark reminders of the potential for devastation.

Truck accidents are not just another statistic; they are often catastrophic events leading to severe injuries, loss of life, and extensive emotional and financial turmoil for those involved. The journey to recovery for victims can be fraught with challenges, including overwhelming medical expenses, lost income, and profound emotional distress.

If you or a loved one has been affected by a truck accident in Florida, it’s crucial to understand the legal landscape. You may have questions such as, Who is liable in a truck accident? Why are truck accident claims more complex? How will an attorney determine liability? Though not exhaustive, this blog post aims to shed light on these questions, offering insights into the complex world of truck accident liability in Florida.

For those in need of immediate assistance, our team is here to help. Contact us at (561) 835-5555 for a FREE case evaluation with a truck accidents lawyer from our team.

Complexities of Truck Accident Claims

Before discussing liability, let’s take a look at why truck accident claims are generally more complex than car accident claims and key steps to take following such an accident.

  • Increased Number of Stakeholders: Truck accidents often involve more parties than car accidents, including the truck driver, trucking company, cargo owner, and truck or part manufacturers. This variety complicates liability determination and settlement negotiations.
  • Greater Injury Severity: Due to their size and weight, trucks are more likely to cause serious injuries or fatalities in accidents. This results in higher medical costs and lost income for victims.
  • Stringent Regulations: The trucking industry is under the close regulation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Compliance with numerous laws and regulations is mandatory, and violations can lead to liability in accidents.
  • Complex Investigation Process: Investigating truck accidents is more challenging than car accidents due to vehicle complexity and potential multiple liable parties. Trucking companies often have experienced legal teams for defense in these cases.
  • Extended Resolution Time: The complexities mentioned above often mean that truck accident claims take longer to resolve and are more challenging to win. Therefore, for those involved in a truck accident, seeking advice from a knowledgeable truck accident attorney, especially in the Fort Lauderdale area, is essential.

Key Steps to Take Following a Truck Accident in Florida

When you’re involved in a truck accident in Florida, it’s crucial to take certain steps immediately to protect your legal rights and interests:

  • Ensure Safety First: If there are injuries, dial 911 immediately. If it’s safe to do so, move your vehicle to a safer area.
  • Record the Incident: Exchange insurance and contact information with everyone involved. Take photos of the damage to the vehicles, any injuries, and the accident scene. Also, collect contact information from any witnesses.
  • File a Police Report: It’s important to report the accident to the police for an official record. This is crucial even for minor accidents, as they might have legal consequences later.
  • Notify Your Insurance: Promptly have your lawyer contact your car insurance provider to report the accident and start the claim process.

Important Legal Point to Remember

  • In Florida, any accident that involves a commercial truck must be reported to the authorities, regardless of whether there are injuries.

Determining Liability in Trucking Accidents

Unlike typical car accidents, where fault may be relatively straightforward, truck accidents often involve multiple parties, making determining liability more complex. These parties can include:

  • The Truck Driver: If the accident was caused by the driver’s negligence, such as speeding, driving under the influence, or violating traffic laws, the driver can be held liable. Sometimes the truck driver has his own company that is involved in truck ownership, while he is paid by a larger trucking company for her services.
  • The Trucking Company: Companies can be held responsible if they owned the truck, if the driver was in the course and scope of his employment when the accident happened, or if the accident was due to factors like inadequate driver selection, training, or retention; improper vehicle maintenance; overloading cargo on semi trucks; or pushing drivers to meet unrealistic schedules that lead to fatigued driving. This list is not exhaustive, and there may be many companies involved in the ownership of the truck or the employment of the driver in some way.
  • The Cargo Loaders: Incorrectly loaded or overloaded cargo can contribute to accidents. If this is the case, the parties responsible for loading the truck may be held liable.
  • The Truck or Parts Manufacturer: If a defective truck part caused the accident, the manufacturer of the truck or the specific part could be responsible.
  • Maintenance Providers: If improper or negligent maintenance led to the accident, the service providers who maintained the truck could be at fault.

How Your Jupiter Personal Injury Lawyer Will Determine Liability

Determining liability in a truck accident is a critical step towards ensuring justice and compensation for victims. Your Jupiter personal injury lawyer plays a pivotal role in this process, employing a systematic approach to unravel who is legally responsible for the accident. Here’s how they do it:

In-Depth Investigation

Your attorney will start with a comprehensive investigation of the accident. This involves gathering all relevant evidence such as accident scene photos, witness statements, police reports, and any available video footage.

Analyzing Trucking Regulations and Logs

They will scrutinize the truck driver’s logs and the trucking company’s records. This is to check for any violations of federal and state trucking regulations, such as hours of service violations, which could point towards negligence.

Vehicle Inspection

The attorney may arrange for an expert inspection of the truck to identify any mechanical issues or maintenance failures. This helps in determining if vehicle defects contributed to the accident. New technology can be used to map the scene, when available, and 3D map the vehicles so that the accident and impacts can be recreated later.

Consulting Experts

Attorneys often consult with accident reconstruction experts who can help piece together how the accident happened and identify contributing factors, providing a clearer picture of liability.

Examining Cargo Records

If improperly secured or overloaded cargo is suspected, your attorney will examine cargo loading records and practices to see if they played a role in the accident.

Modified Comparative Negligence

In Florida, the modified comparative negligence rule plays a crucial role in truck accident claims. Under this rule, each party involved is assigned a percentage of fault for the accident. This percentage directly impacts the compensation the injured party can receive. For instance, if an injured party is found 20% at fault, their compensation is reduced by 20%. Importantly, if the injured party’s fault is 50% or more, they are not eligible for compensation from other parties.

As you can see, your attorney’s task includes meticulously assessing and presenting evidence to ensure a fair and accurate distribution of fault, maximizing your potential compensation while navigating the intricacies of this comparative negligence system.

Injured in a Florida Truck Accident? Get 24/7 Support & Justice with Britto & Herman Injury Lawyers

Understanding liability in a truck accident in Florida can be complex and overwhelming. If you find yourself navigating this challenging terrain, Britto & Herman Injury Lawyers are here to offer guidance and support. With over 25 years of combined experience, our team, led by Attorney Daniel Britto, a Board Certified Trial Lawyer, are uniquely qualified to unravel the complexities of truck accident cases to protect your rights and interests.

Attorney Britto’s Board Certification exemplifies his profound commitment and experience in handling such complex legal matters. When you consult with Britto & Herman, you’re not just acquiring legal services; you’re partnering with a team renowned for their proficiency and successful track record in managing the demanding aspects of truck accident litigation.

We recognize the stress and confusion that comes with determining liability, dealing with insurance companies, and claiming rightful compensation after a truck accident. Our approach is tailored to your needs, offering 24/7 availability, free virtual case evaluations, and streamlined, paperless sign-ups. Our aim is to simplify your legal journey and ensure you receive the justice and compensation you are entitled to.

Contact Britto & Herman Injury Lawyers at (561) 835-5555 or fill out our online form for a free case review with a Jupiter personal injury attorney. Let us help you find clarity and resolution in the aftermath of your truck accident.

Copyright © 2024. Britto & Herman Injury Lawyers. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

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