Civil And Criminal Penalties After A Tractor-Trailer Accident
The average person knows that if they are unlucky enough to be involved in an auto accident, they must remain at the scene, offer insurance information and assist anyone who needs medical treatment. However, tractor-trailer drivers may sometimes depart the scene, either in a rush to deliver an order, or out of sheer lack of knowledge that their presence may be required. If a tractor-trailer driver leaves the scene of an accident in Florida, both they and their employer may wind up on the hook for both civil liability and, in some cases, criminal charges.
Tractor-Trailer Accidents Are Often Serious
Florida’s roads are in constant use, and correspondingly, experience a higher-than-average level of accidents. Tractor-trailers are only involved in a small number of them, but their impact tends to be disproportional simply because of the speed and weight involved in most crashes, particularly if the truck’s trailer is full. This is even more true when multiple vehicles are involved – for example, a situation in which a tractor-trailer jackknifes across the road can impact more than one car and cause comparable damage to each.
Because of these factors, an injured plaintiff in a tractor-trailer case may have significant medical bills and expenses. That said, it is not always easy to establish civil liability. Memories can grow confused, and in many cases, a driver may not be aware that their choices (or choices not to act) were the catalyst for the collision. Still, ignorance of the facts (or the law) is not generally a defense.
Potential Civil & Criminal Liability
It may be difficult to determine whose actions caused your injuries, but if you believe that a tractor-trailer driver’s negligence played a role, you may seek money damages for what you have been through. A truck driver may be held liable for the injuries they cause, but they are often judgment proof (that is, they lack enough assets to cover a jury award). It may be necessary to seek a judgment against their employer, who may have acted negligently in hiring the reckless driver.
In addition, something to keep in mind is that if a tractor-trailer driver sees fit to leave the scene of the accident before law enforcement lets them do so, they may wind up criminally charged. Florida law states that someone who does this has committed a second-degree misdemeanor, on top of any other charges that may arise out of their behavior (for example, driving under the influence). You have the right to seek compensation for the harm you have suffered, but you may be forced to wait for criminal proceedings to conclude.
Contact A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney
If you have been involved in a tractor-trailer accident, consulting a Tampa truck accident attorney can help to clarify your options. The Rinaldo Law Group has handled these matters before, and is ready and willing to help you with yours. Call our office today for a free consultation.