Truck Accidents in Florida
Trucking is one of the biggest industries in the United States, but with the prevalence of big rigs on state highways, accidents will happen. If you have been injured in an accident with a big rig, it is important to understand that you have options in terms of seeking compensation, and that you do not have to go through injuries and pain alone. An experienced attorney can be of help.
Many Different Possible Causes
Statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show that almost 4,000 people died in truck wrecks in 2016 (the most recent available data year), with the overwhelming majority of them being occupants and drivers of smaller vehicles. Only 17 percent of these recorded deaths were occupants of large trucks, with 16 percent being pedestrians or cyclists. The odds are decidedly in a truck’s favor if an accident occurs – the sheer weight of most big rigs means that a smaller vehicle will suffer more damage if the two crash.
In terms of actual causes of an accident, there are many different possibilities. Many have to do with driver error; speeding, substance abuse, driver distraction (due to anything from smartphone use to lack of sleep), and the like have all been shown to play roles in many accidents. Other issues implicate trucking companies more than anything – for example, overloaded trailers, poorly maintained vehicles, and sleep deprivation due to demanding schedules can also lead to crashes. Any of these can be used in a negligence suit.
If You Are Injured
If you suffer injury and believe that it is due to the negligence of another person, you can bring a civil suit against them on that basis. In Florida, you must be able to show three things in order to prevail in such a suit – (1) that the existing duty of care owed by motorists to each other was breached; (2) that the breach was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, with no other cause intervening; and (3) that the plaintiff did suffer tangible injury – not necessarily physical, but tangible injury that lasts more than mere hours or days.
Be advised that in many instances, it is possible to bring in another defendant in a trucking accident case – the trucking company. Florida recognizes a concept called vicarious liability, where an employer can be held liable for the actions of its employees if committed within the scope of employment, or while on the clock to “further a purpose or interest of the employer.” This means that if a trucker is found liable for negligence, the trucking company may be made to share part of the damages awarded to the plaintiff. The rationale is that the company put the trucker on the road in such a condition, so if something negative happens, it is at least partially due to their actions.
Seek Experienced Legal Help
While truck accidents are simply going to happen sometimes, this does not mean that those injured by driver recklessness should not seek compensation. The Tampa trucking accident lawyers at the Rinaldo Law Group will work with you to try and arrive at the best possible outcome for you and your loved ones. Call us today to set up an initial appointment.