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Truck Drivers vs Truck Companies: Determining Negligence


After an accident involving a large truck, it can be difficult to think about anything except recovery. The weight and speed of a large truck can lead to serious injury and death if an accident occurs, and medical bills can add up. However, if you determine that your injuries are serious enough to file a lawsuit against the person who allegedly caused them, it can be hard to determine exactly who is at fault. Sometimes the truck driver may bear the responsibility, but sometimes there are alternative options, or in some cases, multiple entities may be culpable.

Trucker Negligence

One of the first things to know about truck accidents in Florida is that most defendants do not have the opportunity to file suit in court against the person who allegedly caused their injuries. Florida is a no-fault state, which means that in most cases, if you are injured in an auto accident, you would contact your own personal injury protection insurance company and file a claim with them, instead of seeking payment from the person allegedly at fault. This system is designed to minimize the strain on the court system while still ensuring injured people receive payment, but if your injuries will create permanent disability, there is an exception which allows you to bring suit.

If you are cleared to file suit, the most obvious person to try and find liable is the driver of the large truck that allegedly caused your accident. In many cases it can be shown that were it not for the truck driver’s actions, the accident would not have occurred, which places them squarely in the frame for liability. However, many truckers are judgment proof, meaning that their insurance and personal assets are too meager to be able to pay off a judgment that a court hands down against them.

Truck Company Negligence

In addition to the truck driver, it is possible in many accident cases to bring the trucking company in as a defendant. This is possible in two scenarios: (1) there may be enough evidence to suggest that the trucker’s employer might have played a role in causing your accident; for example, if the truck is not properly maintained; and (2) through a common-law concept known as vicarious liability. Vicarious liability is a concept that states that an employer is liable for the civil torts of their employees if their employees are acting “within the course and scope” of their employment – for example, if a truck driver is hauling a load, they are acting within the “course and scope.”

Being able to establish evidence of the trucking company’s negligence may sound far-fetched, but it is possible, and it is worth investigating especially if you suspect other factors in your accident besides inattention or recklessness on the part of the driver. For example, if there is evidence that the truck’s brakes did not function properly, it may be evidence that the truck is not properly maintained by its owners. A knowledgeable attorney can help to figure out if evidence of negligence exists in your case or if another approach is best for you.

Call A Tampa Truck Accident Lawyer

After you have been involved in a truck accident, it can seem impossible to even think about trying to seek compensation for your injuries, but it is almost always worth it. If you have questions or concerns about starting the process, the Tampa truck accident attorneys at the Rinaldo Law Group are happy to try and assist you. Contact our offices today for a free consultation.


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