Tractor-Trailers In Multi-Vehicle Crashes
A recent multi-vehicle pileup in Lake County in February involved two tractor-trailers and four passenger vehicles, killing two and injuring several others. Multi-vehicle accidents on Florida highways are not uncommon, due to the amount of traffic the roads see each day. While the severity of these crashes can vary depending on the specific situation, it is generally true that injuries will be more severe if a tractor-trailer (or multiple tractor-trailers) is involved.
Can I File Suit?
Determining liability in multi-vehicle crashes is never easy, usually because events simply happen so fast – mere seconds may elapse from one impact to the next. These cases are the ones where reconstruction is the most crucial – very often, physical and other external evidence is the only thing that will help to establish where fault should lie. Examples include road conditions, witness statements, law enforcement reports, weather conditions, and anything else that might possibly be relevant.
If the evidence determines that a tractor-trailer driver was potentially liable, it is important to understand Florida law regarding truck accidents. If your injuries are sufficiently severe, you have the right to file suit against the truck driver for what you have been through, but it is highly probable that the driver will be judgment proof (that is, not have enough assets to pay off a jury award if your suit is successful). A better alternative, if possible, is to file suit against the truck company for their employee’s negligence.
Tractor-Trailer Drivers Are Accountable
If you have been involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, it may actually be easier to determine the driver’s liability than it would with a private vehicle, simply because truck drivers are accountable to both their superiors and to the authorities. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has regulations on hours of service – if the driver is found to have been operating their vehicle for too long, it can be a powerful argument that they were negligent.
Be advised that Florida follows the rule of comparative negligence, which means that even if you are found to have been partially responsible for your own injuries, you may still be able to recover minus your percentage of fault. For example, if you are held to be 25 percent responsible for your own injuries, but the defendant is 75 percent responsible, you would still be able to recover 75 percent of your costs.
Contact A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney
While it remains to be seen whether the families of the deceased in the Lake County accident will seek compensation, the important fact for those who live through these accidents is that you have the right to seek compensation of your own. If you have been involved in this type of crash, a Tampa truck accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group may be able to help. Call our office today for a free consultation.