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Third-Party Claims After A Florida Tractor-Trailer Accident


If a driver has been injured in a Florida tractor-trailer accident, it is very possible that they are unaware of their rights and obligations in terms of seeking compensation. An injured driver may know to try and hold the tractor-trailer’s driver liable if their injuries are severe – they may even understand that they can use their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to pay their bills if their injuries are minor. However, many accidents can trace their roots to the actions (or inaction) of a third party, who can be held equally liable in some situations.

Looking Close To Home

Each accident involving a large truck or tractor-trailer is different, though some patterns remain the same. If you believe that your accident was caused directly by the tractor-trailer driver’s negligence, and your injuries are severe enough to overcome Florida’s tort immunity, you can file suit against the driver. (The state’s no-fault insurance system bars anyone from filing suit over an auto accident injury unless it is sufficiently “significant and permanent”). However, just because the driver’s actions may have been negligent does not mean that no one else played a role in causing your injuries.

For example, the most common co-defendant brought into this type of case is the driver’s employer, the trucking company. Florida honors the doctrine of vicarious liability (also known as respondeat superior), which holds that if an employee is acting within the scope of their employment when they commit a tort – essentially the civil equivalent of a crime – the employer will also be liable. If no tort was involved, it may still be possible to involve the trucking company under a theory of negligent hiring or negligent entrustment – essentially, arguing that the company should have been aware of the driver’s inability to perform his job.

Potential Problems With A Product?

In addition to the trucking company, there are other people and entities whose actions may have contributed to your injuries, and who may be held liable if enough evidence exists. One of the most common is the manufacturer of the tractor-trailer, or of one or more of its constituent parts, such as its tires or windshield. For example, an accident reconstruction expert might be able to determine that the tractor-trailer only crashed into your vehicle because its tires suddenly failed.

Be advised that bringing a product liability lawsuit in Florida can be quite complex, but it may be worth it to you if your injuries are severe. A person may bring a suit alleging product liability under a theory of ordinary negligence, but they may also have the option of filing under strict liability, which can be an easier case to make, if the facts permit. Each case is quite different, and enlisting an experienced legal professional can make the difference between success and failure.

Contact A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a tractor-trailer accident, you may be overwhelmed with how to seek compensation or what options you should pursue to get your life back on track. A dedicated and compassionate Tampa truck accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help answer your questions and manage your concerns. Contact our office today at (813) 831-9999 for a free consultation.



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