Wrongful Death In Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Tractor-trailers are very large trucks, which routinely carry thousands of pounds of cargo over long distances. Because of their size, the rate of injuries and fatalities is disproportionately higher in crashes where tractor-trailers play a role – and because of this, more cases of wrongful death occur. If you have lost a loved one in an accident with a tractor-trailer, you have the right to try and recover for what you have been through.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Florida defines wrongful death as a death caused by the “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach” of contract or warranty of another person. If a truck driver can be shown to have operated their vehicle in a negligent manner, and a person was killed as a result, this will generally qualify as negligent under the Wrongful Death Act. However, it is not always easy to determine that the trucker did in fact act negligently.
In order to establish that a person was negligent, three criteria must be met under Florida law. A duty to exercise reasonable care toward road users is owed by every other road user – and (1) if that duty is breached by the defendant, (2) causing tangible harm, (3) without any other intervening cause, the defendant is negligent as a matter of law. If the ‘harm’ involved the passing of another person, that death may be deemed ‘wrongful’ under the definition.
Who To Sue?
One thing to keep in mind if you are interested in filing a wrongful death lawsuit against a (potentially) negligent truck driver is that you may be able to join other defendants as well. Very often, filing suit solely against a negligent driver will not result in much of a monetary award, simply because most truckers are judgment proof (that is, they do not have sufficient assets to cover a jury award). If possible, however, you may be able to name the trucker’s employer as a co-defendant in your case.
Filing suit against multiple defendants is possible in some cases, when a case can be made that but for the other defendant’s actions, the accident may not have occurred. For example, a common scenario for this type of case is filing suit against both an allegedly negligent trucker and their employer. It can often be argued that the employer was negligent in either hiring or retaining the trucker – and may be held liable if that can be sufficiently established.
Call A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney
Losing someone suddenly can be a life changing event, and if this has happened to you, you need a knowledgeable and compassionate attorney who can guide you through the legal process. A Tampa tractor-trailer accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can provide the representation you need. Contact our office today for a free consultation.