Truck accidents: Can I sue a trucking company if I’m hit by a truck in Florida?
Introduction: Truck accidents in Florida
Truck accidents are among the most devastating and deadly types of collisions on the road. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there were 401,867 total crashes in Florida in 2019, of which 32,719 involved commercial trucks. These crashes resulted in 3,185 fatalities and 254,155 injuries, many of which were caused by truck accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a truck accident in Florida, you may be wondering if you can sue the trucking company for your losses. After all, you may be facing medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages that exceed your insurance coverage. You may also be dealing with insurance companies that are trying to minimize or deny your claim.
However, suing a trucking company is not as simple as suing a regular driver. Trucking companies are subject to complex federal and state regulations that govern their operations, maintenance, safety, and liability. They also have powerful legal teams that will fight to protect their interests and avoid paying you what you deserve.
In this blog post, we will explain the legal issues involved in suing a trucking company in Florida, including who is liable for a truck accident, what evidence you need to prove your case, what damages you can recover, and how to find the best truck accident lawyer near you. We will also provide some tips and resources to help you with your claim.
The Intricacies of Florida’s Traffic Laws
Navigating the maze of Florida’s traffic laws can be quite challenging, especially when you find yourself in a situation where those laws directly affect your life. This is particularly true when you’re involved in an accident with a large truck. Understanding the legal framework in Florida can empower accident victims with the knowledge they need to pursue a fair claim.
Florida’s Comparative Negligence Rule:
At the heart of Florida’s traffic laws is the concept of “comparative negligence.” Instead of black-and-white fault in accident cases, Florida recognizes that more than one party can share the blame. In simple terms, both the plaintiff and the defendant can be assigned a certain percentage of fault for the accident.
For example, imagine you’re in an accident with a truck, and after investigations, it’s determined that while the truck driver was primarily at fault, perhaps you were slightly negligent too, maybe by being a bit over the speed limit. If the truck driver is deemed 80% at fault and you’re deemed 20% at fault, any compensation you receive would be reduced by your 20% of the fault. So, if you were to receive $100,000 in damages, you’d actually get $80,000.
How This Rule Affects the Outcome of Truck Accident Cases:
This rule becomes especially significant in truck accident cases for several reasons:
Higher Stakes: Truck accidents usually result in more severe injuries and damages compared to regular car accidents due to the sheer size and weight of trucks. Thus, the financial stakes in these cases are generally higher.
Multiple Parties: It’s not just the truck driver who might be at fault. The trucking company, cargo loaders, or even the truck’s manufacturer could share some blame, further complicating the negligence percentages.
Insurance Companies’ Tactics: Given the high stakes, insurance companies representing truck drivers or trucking companies will often try to pin as much blame as possible on the other party – that’s you. They aim to reduce the compensation their client has to pay out.
Legal Support is Essential: Given this complex landscape, having knowledgeable attorneys by your side, like the team at Bengal Law: Florida Accident Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC, becomes paramount. They can ensure that fault is assigned fairly and that you receive the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Understanding the Liability in Truck Accidents
In the aftermath of a vehicular accident, establishing liability is crucial. When it comes to truck accidents, this process can become particularly intricate due to the unique factors and entities involved. Here’s a deeper dive into the distinctions and the role trucking companies play in this equation.
Difference Between Personal Vehicle Accidents and Truck Accidents:
Scale of Damage: Truck accidents often result in more significant damage, not just because of the sheer size and weight of these vehicles, but also due to factors like the cargo they carry. This can result in more severe injuries and higher property damage.
Multiple Parties Involved: In personal vehicle accidents, the liability usually falls on the drivers involved. However, in truck accidents, multiple entities, from the driver to the trucking company, the manufacturer of the truck, and even the company that loaded the truck, can be held liable.
Regulations: Trucks operate under a stricter set of federal and state regulations, which include specific licensing requirements, limits on consecutive driving hours, and regular vehicle maintenance mandates. Breaches of these regulations can influence liability.
Role of Trucking Companies and Their Responsibilities:
Employment Status: Determining whether the truck driver is an employee or an independent contractor can affect where the liability lies. If the driver is an employee, the trucking company can often be held responsible for the driver’s actions under the legal doctrine of “respondeat superior.”
Maintenance and Inspection: Trucking companies have a responsibility to ensure their fleet is well-maintained and undergoes regular inspections. If an accident occurs due to a lack of maintenance or oversight, the company can be held liable.
Hiring Practices: Companies are obligated to conduct thorough background checks on their drivers. If a company hires someone with a history of reckless driving or DUIs, for example, they can be held responsible for negligence in hiring.
Training: Proper training should be provided to all truck drivers. Inadequate training can be a factor when determining the trucking company’s liability in the event of an accident.
Cargo Loading: Improperly loaded or overloaded cargo can lead to accidents. If the trucking company is responsible for loading the truck, they can be held liable for accidents resulting from shifting or spilled cargo.
The Trucking Company’s Responsibility
In the bustling world of logistics and transportation, trucking companies play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of not only their drivers and cargo but also of all other road users. To fulfill this duty, they must adhere to a strict set of responsibilities and standards. Let’s delve deeper into what these responsibilities entail.
Maintaining Their Fleet:
Routine Inspections: It’s vital for trucking companies to regularly inspect their vehicles to detect and rectify any mechanical issues. A minor oversight, like faulty brakes or worn-out tires, can lead to catastrophic accidents.
Adherence to Maintenance Schedules: Regular and comprehensive maintenance is crucial. Companies should adhere to a systematic maintenance schedule, ensuring that every vehicle in their fleet is in optimal working condition.
Updates and Modernization: As technology evolves, so should the vehicles. Incorporating modern safety features and technologies can significantly reduce the risk of accidents.
Hiring Qualified Drivers and Continuous Training:
Thorough Background Checks: Before hiring, companies should conduct extensive background checks on potential drivers. This includes reviewing driving records, checking for any history of DUIs, and assessing their overall driving experience.
Regular Training Programs: The road and driving conditions evolve, and so do safety protocols. Continuous training ensures that drivers are up-to-date with the latest safety measures, regulations, and efficient driving practices.
Health and Fitness Checks: Regular health assessments ensure that drivers are fit for the demanding job, both physically and mentally. A driver’s ability to react swiftly in challenging situations can be the difference between preventing an accident and causing one.
Monitoring Driving Hours and Ensuring Compliance with Regulations:
Adherence to Hours-of-Service Regulations: To prevent fatigue-related accidents, regulations have been established that limit the number of hours a driver can be on the road. Companies must monitor and ensure that drivers don’t exceed these limits.
Use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs): ELDs are used to digitally record a driver’s on-duty driving hours. Trucking companies should equip their fleets with these devices to ensure accurate tracking and compliance.
Regular Audits and Compliance Checks: To ensure that both the drivers and the company as a whole are adhering to all regulations, periodic audits should be conducted. This not only ensures safety but also builds a culture of accountability and diligence within the company.
In essence, the responsibilities of a trucking company are extensive and multifaceted. When they falter in any of these duties, the results can be disastrous for innocent road users.
Why Suing the Trucking Company Makes Sense
When involved in an accident with a truck, many victims instinctively think of holding the driver accountable. While the driver’s actions on the road are undoubtedly crucial, it’s imperative to look beyond and understand the potential liabilities of the trucking company. Here’s why targeting the trucking company in your legal action can often make more sense.
Their Potential Negligence Leading to Accidents:
Improper Oversight: Trucking companies are responsible for supervising their drivers and ensuring that they adhere to all safety and legal guidelines. A lapse in this oversight can lead to accidents.
Inadequate Maintenance: Companies who fail to uphold rigorous maintenance standards for their fleet can be held liable. A truck’s sheer size and weight mean that even minor mechanical failures can result in significant damages and injuries.
Inefficient Training: If a company has not provided adequate training to its drivers, they can be deemed negligent, especially if the driver’s lack of knowledge or skill results in an accident.
Larger Insurance Policies Than Individual Drivers:
Deeper Pockets: Trucking companies typically have larger insurance coverage than individual drivers. This means that victims stand a better chance of receiving full compensation for their injuries, damages, and suffering.
Shared Liability: In many cases, both the driver and the trucking company might share liability. Pursuing the company can ensure that all avenues of compensation are explored.
The Trucking Company’s Role in Driver Fatigue, Vehicle Maintenance, and Other Factors:
Pressuring Drivers: Some companies set unrealistic expectations and deadlines for their drivers, indirectly pressuring them into driving for extended hours, leading to fatigue and increased chances of accidents.
Neglecting Regular Check-ups: A trucking company’s neglect in regularly servicing and checking their vehicles can lead to malfunctions on the road.
Ignoring Regulations: Companies that sidestep regulations, such as Hours-of-Service rules, play a direct role in accidents caused by driver fatigue or other similar factors.
Bengal Law’s Proven Track Record with Truck Accident Cases
When you’ve suffered from an accident involving a truck, it’s essential to have the right team on your side to fight for justice. This is where Bengal Law: Florida Accident Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC steps in, armed with a robust background and expertise tailored to tackle the complexities of trucking accident cases.
Highlight the Expertise from Bengal Law: Florida Accident Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC:
Decades of Experience: With years spent in the trenches of personal injury law, Bengal Law boasts a seasoned team that understands the intricacies of truck accident cases. They’ve seen it all, which positions them well to predict the challenges ahead and strategically navigate them.
Former Insurance Adjuster & Insurance Defense Attorney: One of the unique advantages of Bengal Law is the inside knowledge they possess, having previously worked with insurance companies. This experience gives them an edge when dealing with insurance claims, knowing well the tactics and strategies these companies deploy.
Low Volume, High-Value Practice: Unlike other law firms that churn out settlements, Bengal Law prides itself on offering individualized attention to each case. By handling fewer cases, they delve deeper into each one, ensuring every client gets the detailed attention they deserve.
Why You Need Expert Legal Representation
Truck accidents are not just larger-scale car accidents. The gravity, complexity, and implications surrounding them make them an entirely different ballgame, requiring expertise that’s both broad in scope and deep in detail. Here’s why expert legal representation is not just recommended but imperative:
Complexity of Trucking Accidents:
Larger Scale of Damage: Trucks, due to their size and weight, can cause extensive damage. This isn’t just about physical injuries but also encompasses property damage, psychological trauma, and more.
Multiple Regulations: The trucking industry is governed by a plethora of federal and state regulations. Understanding these, from driving hours to vehicle maintenance, becomes essential in building a robust legal case.
Multiple Parties Involved: Driver, Trucking Company, Insurance Providers:
Layered Liability: Unlike regular car accidents where it’s often just two parties involved, truck accidents can involve multiple entities. While the driver may be at fault, the trucking company’s practices, vehicle maintenance standards, and even the vehicle manufacturer can come into play.
Complex Insurance Dynamics: Trucking companies often have extensive insurance policies. Navigating these, especially when multiple policies might be in play, requires deep expertise.
The Tricks Insurance Companies Play and How Bengal Law’s Unique Experience Can Counter Them:
Insider Knowledge: At Bengal Law, the team isn’t just familiar with the tactics insurance companies deploy—they’ve been on the inside. Their experience as former insurance adjusters and defense attorneys provides them with invaluable insights.
Anticipating Strategies: Knowing the strategies that insurance companies may employ isn’t enough. Bengal Law anticipates them, building a counter-strategy even before these tactics are deployed. From lowball offers to attempting to shift blame, they’ve seen it all and know how to respond effectively.
Personalized Approach: Bengal Law recognizes that every case is unique. Their commitment to offering personal attention ensures that they’re not just fighting against insurance companies’ tactics but are tailoring their strategy based on the nuances of each case.
Bengal Law’s Approach
Every trucking accident, like every individual, has its own story—a narrative woven with details, emotions, and implications. At Bengal Law, the core belief is that every story deserves to be heard, understood, and advocated for with unwavering dedication. Here’s an inside look at Bengal Law’s distinctive approach:
Emphasis on Individualized Attention and Understanding the Victim’s Story:
Listening First: Bengal Law isn’t just about legal representation. The team believes in first becoming a confidante, a pillar of support, taking the time to truly listen to the victim’s account of events, feelings, and concerns.
Human Before Legal: Recognizing that personal injury is indeed deeply personal, Bengal Law steers away from the impersonal process many law firms adopt. Every client isn’t just a case but a human being with emotions, hopes, and challenges.
Leveraging Decades of Experience and Insider Knowledge as Former Insurance Adjusters and Defense Attorneys:
Strategic Expertise: With a combined experience that spans decades, Bengal Law offers a deep well of knowledge. But what sets them apart is their insider perspective—having worked as insurance adjusters and defense attorneys, they are adept at anticipating the strategies of the opposing side, ensuring a proactive defense.
Meticulous Preparation: Bengal Law’s approach is thorough. Every piece of evidence is examined, every potential testimony vetted, and every legal avenue explored. Their meticulous nature ensures that their clients are always a step ahead.
Ensuring the Best Possible Outcome for the Victim:
Low Volume, High-Value Practice: At Bengal Law, quality always trumps quantity. Their deliberate approach of taking on fewer cases allows them to dedicate more time, energy, and resources to each client. This maximizes the chances of a favorable outcome.
Unwavering Commitment: Bengal Law is relentless. From the initial consultation to courtroom representation, their unwavering commitment ensures that every client receives the justice they deserve. Their dedication isn’t just about legal victory, but ensuring the holistic well-being of the client—be it physical, emotional, or financial.
Trucking accidents in Florida are not just collisions of vehicles but collisions of lives, dreams, and futures. The aftermath is often a confusing maze of legalities, responsibilities, and claims, where victims may feel overwhelmed and lost. It’s not just about mending what’s broken, but seeking justice and ensuring that the rights of those affected are fiercely protected. This is where the intricacies of Florida’s laws and the complexities of trucking accidents converge, underscoring the paramount importance of having expert legal representation.
Yet, legal representation shouldn’t just be about expertise; it should be about empathy. It should be about understanding that behind every case file is a human story, a life interrupted, and dreams deferred. This is the ethos that Bengal Law embodies.
At Bengal Law: Florida Accident Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC, the journey isn’t just about winning a case; it’s about reinstating faith, rebuilding lives, and restoring dreams. Their unique blend of professional expertise and personal care ensures that victims are not just represented but championed.
If you or a loved one finds yourselves at the crossroads of a trucking accident’s aftermath, remember that you don’t have to navigate this path alone. Bengal Law extends a heartfelt invitation to anyone seeking justice, offering not just a legal service, but a promise of dedication, empathy, and empowerment.
Reach out, share your story, and embark on a legal journey where you are not just a client but a cherished member of the Bengal Law family.
Let us hear from you!
No one should ever feel alone in the aftermath of an accident. Every story matters. Every voice deserves to be heard. Every individual has the right to justice. If you or someone you know has been affected by a trucking accident in Florida, now is the time to take action.
Bengal Law: Florida Accident Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC wants to hear your story. By reaching out, you’re not just seeking legal representation; you’re joining a community that understands your pain, recognizes your needs, and commits to fighting relentlessly for your rights.
Remember, personal injury is just that—personal. Each story is unique. Each journey is different. And that’s why the Bengal Law approach is tailor-made, ensuring you receive the individualized attention you truly deserve. You won’t be just another case number; you’ll be a valued member of the Bengal Law family.
So, don’t wait. Your story deserves to be told. Your rights deserve to be protected.
Text or contact us today at 407-815-3000. Let us stand by your side, champion your cause, and work tirelessly to ensure that justice is not just served, but truly achieved. Remember, with Bengal Law, you’re not only getting unparalleled legal expertise but a commitment that’s personal, profound, and persistent.
Take the first step toward your brighter tomorrow. Bengal Law is here for you, every step of the way.