Trucking Company Liability For Florida Large Truck Accidents
When a person is involved in a car accident with a large truck and decides to sue, the defendant will usually be the truck driver. However, in some cases, it may be possible to file suit against the truck driver’s employer as well. The driver may have allegedly caused the accident by their own reckless or negligent conduct, but their employer may also be liable if their conduct does not hold up to scrutiny.
Big Rigs Can Be Very Dangerous
Large trucks play a role in a significant number of accidents on Florida roads, factoring in upwards of 30,000 crashes in 2019. Due to the size of such trucks, accidents involving 18-wheelers are more likely to cause serious injuries and fatalities than accidents involving automobiles; after all, even without a loaded trailer, the sheer weight of a big rig far outweighs most automobiles and can move with frightening speed. For example, in a jackknife accident, the trailer of an 18-wheeler begins to move independently from its cab, which can swing and strike a vehicle at a rapid clip.
If the driver of a large truck is not properly operating their vehicle – that is, they have been trained, and they are not sleep-deprived, distracted, or intoxicated – an 18-wheeler should not be any more dangerous than any other vehicle. However, it is possible for the company that owns the truck to make that vehicle more dangerous through its own negligence, and if an accident occurs because of that negligence, the company would also be on the proverbial hook. In such a situation, both driver and employer usually wind up as defendants.
Establishing A Case
In Florida, there are four aspects that must be proven before a negligence case may turn in a plaintiff’s favor. The plaintiff must show that the defendant owed them a duty to exercise reasonable care. They must then show that duty has been breached, and that the breach was a direct cause of their injuries. There may be more than one direct cause – for example, if a trucking company negligently hires a truck driver with a known history of substance abuse, the company’s negligent hiring and the driver’s lack of care may both be ‘direct causes’ in a court of law.
This can feel very overwhelming to the average person, but a knowledgeable attorney can help guide you through the legal process. It may be tempting to simply file suit against the truck driver, reasoning that their conduct was the direct cause of the accident – but this is just not always the case. An experienced attorney has ways of finding the information that can firmly establish the trucking company’s liability – and as a general rule, companies have deeper pockets than individuals.
Contact A Tampa Trucking Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident with an 18-wheeler, filing suit may be the last thing on your mind – but getting closure and compensation can help you and your family get life back to normal. The Tampa trucking accident attorneys at the Rinaldo Law Group are ready and willing to answer your questions about seeking compensation for what you have been through. Call us today for a free consultation.