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Fiery Tractor-Trailer Rollover Accident On Turnpike


In early February 2024, the driver of a tractor-trailer going south on Florida’s Turnpike lost control of their vehicle, hitting a total of seven vehicles before overturning and catching fire. Miraculously, only one person was hospitalized after the wreck, with others involved sustaining only minor injuries. All lanes of the Turnpike were closed at one point, while debris and a diesel spill were cleaned up – but it could have been much worse. If you are involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, it is much more likely than not that your injuries are severe.

Size & Weight Kill

Tractor-trailer accidents usually involve the truck and one or more smaller vehicles, and due to the disparities in size and weight, it is the occupants of the smaller vehicles who usually suffer the worst of the crash. Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that up to 97 percent of fatalities in tractor-trailer accidents are the occupants of passenger vehicles, with a small amount of truck driver and pedestrian fatalities. Part of this may be due to negligence, but sometimes, accidents are merely tragic.

The odds of seven vehicles being involved in a crash with a tractor-trailer with only minor harm suffered are very low, though the possible injuries in this type of incident can run the gamut from cuts and bruises to broken limbs to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and spinal fractures. If you have been injured, and you suspect that you were harmed due to the negligence of the driver (or another entity), you are not alone, and you have the right to seek damages.

Who To Sue?

It can be difficult to determine exactly who to file suit against once you have decided to seek damages for what you have been through. One might assume that the tractor-trailer driver is the proper defendant, given that their actions likely were the direct cause of your injuries – however, many drivers are judgment-proof, meaning they are unable to pay off a judgment against them. If it can be determined that the driver was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident, though, you may be able to file suit against their employer.

Under Florida law, a person is acting within the scope of their employment if they:

  • Are performing the conduct they were hired to perform;
  • Must be acting within the ‘time and space’ of their employment; and
  • Must have happened, at least in part, out of a desire to do their employer’s business.

This can be difficult to determine on one’s own, but a knowledgeable attorney can help. If the driver can be shown to have acted within the scope of their employment, their employer may be liable for your medical bills, lost wages, and other tangible and intangible damages. In general, an employer is liable for the torts (essentially, civil wrongs) of their employees if the employee has acted within the scope of their employment.

Contact A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney

While the Turnpike accident appears to be ending without major, long-lasting consequences, other tractor-trailer accident cases do not end so satisfactorily. If you have been injured in a tractor-trailer crash, a Tampa tractor-trailer accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group is ready and willing to try and help you determine what the best options are for you and your family. Contact our office at (813) 831-9999 for a free consultation.



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