You may already be aware of what to do if you are injured in a car accident. Even if you aren’t, you should know that you have legal options at your disposal to pursue a financial recovery for the harms you have suffered. But the situation changes if there was a truck involved in your car accident. Trucks are not only complex in terms of liability, but their sheer size makes serious injury a much more likely possibility after an accident.
There are many reasons why trucking accidents are special cases in the field of personal injury. Trucking accidents involve large vehicles that can potentially cause catastrophic damage in the case of an accident on a Florida highway or street. Additionally, the trucking industry is collectively held to higher standards as drivers, employers, logistics companies, and manufacturers. The layered nature of the trucking industry means that the already complex world of auto accidents is further complicated by the network of entities that manufacture, operate, pack, inspect and insure trucks and their cargo.
At South Florida Law, PLLC, we take pride in our clients getting the compensation they deserve after a trucking accident injury. No matter how severe your injuries are, you deserve the assistance of one of our experienced Ft. Lauderdale personal injury lawyers while you pursue justice. To schedule your initial consultation free of charge, call us today at (954) 932-7877.
Duty of Care for Florida Truck Drivers
Unlike the drivers of private vehicles, truck drivers are obligated to stop, exchange documentation and must provide all reasonable assistance to all parties involved in an accident. This includes tasks such as assisting with injuries and damaged property where it is safe and reasonable to do so. Failure to provide adequate assistance is punishable as a crime with harsher felony charges for abandoning the scene of an accident when there are serious injuries involved. Note that such penalties are enforceable even after other drivers have exchanged information and agreed to leave the scene of the accident. This is discussed in Florida Statute 316.602.
Written Reports by Florida Truck Drivers
Truck drivers are required to write a report to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles even in cases where there is no loss of life, injury, damage to property or vehicle rendered inoperable. All events must be documented, meaning that in all circumstances truck drivers must wait for law enforcement to arrive and file an official report of the accident. This is because the report requires the “name, badge number, and law enforcement agency of the officer investigating the crash.” This is discussed in Florida Statute 316.066.
Injuries from Florida Trucking Accidents
Trucks are massive and heavy, posing a substantial risk to the life and health of fellow motorists. Trucks have the potential to slide out of control or change lanes at high speeds and collide with other smaller vehicles. If you are on the wrong side of an accident with a truck, you are substantially more likely to suffer grave physical harm than you might be in an ordinary car accident.
You should always seek medical attention immediately after an accident, even if you believe that you escaped unharmed. Some injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries and internal bleeding, may not be immediately apparent after an accident. But if these conditions go undetected and untreated, they can become worse and even threaten your life. Getting medical care as soon as possible limits the chances of your injuries getting worse and improves your chances of recovery in a potential truck accident injury lawsuit.
Vicarious Liability for Trucking Companies in Florida
Trucking companies are specifically required to hire their drivers responsibly. Strict and thorough background checks, ongoing employee/contractor assessments, and reviews of performance are mandated by law. In the event of an accident, the employment and performance history of the driver will be considered as a factor that could implicate the trucking company if an argument can be made that the driver should not have been on the road. This is discussed in Florida Statute 768.096.
Who is Responsible for Trucking Accidents in Florida?
Trucks, drivers, trailers, and the various connecting elements of the rig can all be reasons that led to the accident in question. Furthermore, the standard 360-degree investigation of all parties involved in an accident may reveal varying levels of comparative negligence or comparative liability. This is because the size and nature of truck accidents suggest that more than one other car will likely be involved in the accident. You may be able to name more than one defendant in your personal injury case to recovery from your truck accident injuries, so you should discuss your options with your Florida truck accident lawyer to determine what is best for your case.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of people and organizations that could be named as defendants in a personal injury investigation concerning a trucking accident:
The driver of the truck may be chiefly responsible for the accident. If the driver was acting recklessly or negligently behind the wheel, you may be able to sue the driver and recover from their insurance provider for your injuries. This is particularly true if the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.
Trucking companies are responsible for managing the hiring, training, and shift management of their drivers. However, external motivations such as cost-cutting and delivery schedules could cause company management to shirk their responsibilities in these areas. Examples of situations where the employer might be at fault for a trucking accident include if the driver had a history of drunk or reckless driving or where the employer imposed a schedule that deprived the driver of sleep.
The size and weight of the cargo that trucks transport affect the way that the vehicle drives. Therefore, the cargo should be stored and secured appropriately to ensure a safe journey. There may be a logistics company that is responsible for notifying the shipping company of the contents of the cargo and best practices for securing it. Failing to do so can cause the truck to stop slower than expected or to tip over while turning.
The way a truck functions is much more complicated than your average car. The larger the truck, the more moving parts there are. If any of these parts are defective and causes an accident, an injured victim may be able to sue the part manufacturer for damages caused by the accident.
Other Potentially Liable Parties
There are a number of others that could be responsible for the accident and your injuries. These potential defendants include other drivers, contractors, or government authorities. To determine which (and how many) of these potential defendants you should target in your truck accident personal injury lawsuit, be sure to speak with one of our Boca Raton car accident lawyers.
Truck Accident Investigations
When you are involved in an accident, you should always call 911 and have the dispatcher send out a police officer to file a report. Depending on the circumstances, this report may be very short, but still helpful for your case. But if a truck is involved, the reporting requirements may be more complex.
Particularly in the instance where the accident occurs on a major interstate highway, federal agencies such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) might involve themselves in the investigation. There are a number of federal regulations that govern trucking across state lines that may impact your case. Speak to one of our experienced Miami personal injury attorneys for more information on what a federal investigation may mean for your recovery.
Statute of Limitations for Trucking Accident Cases
In Florida, you only have so long to file your personal injury case after a truck accident. According to the statute of limitations, plaintiffs must file their suit within four years of the date of the accident. If you file too late, a Florida court will be forced to dismiss your case before you can even argue your side of the story.
Four years may seem like a long time. However, preparing a trucking accident lawsuit can be substantially more complicated than your average personal injury lawsuit. Gathering information, identifying defendants, and estimating damages are all complex and time-consuming activities that will be necessary prior to the filing of your case.
Additionally, if you are planning to name a government body in your lawsuit, you may face notification requirements far sooner than the typical four-year deadline. We strongly urge that you speak to one of our Aventura Car accident attorneys as soon as possible so that you file before it is too late.
Hire an Experienced South Florida Truck Accident Attorney Today
Hallandale Beach personal injury lawyer Jared K. Newman, Esq of South Florida Law PLLC understands the nuances and complexities of trucking accidents and can let you know where you stand in the event of a truck-related accident in Florida. Have you been involved in a trucking accident? if so, call Ft. Lauderdale personal injury attorney Jared K. Newman today at (954) 932-7877.