If you have suffered injuries and property damage as a result of a truck accident, then proving negligence is imperative. When trying to claim compensation for your losses, you must gather enough evidence to prove negligence on the part of the truck driver or the trucking company. Trucking accidents are not uncommon, and when dealing with the repercussions of a crash, victims can often feel helpless.
At The Law Place, we offer advice from a team of lawyers who, when combined, have over 75 years of experience. We are committed to helping our clients collect evidence to establish negligence and get the justice they deserve. Call us today for a no-strings-attached free consultation at (941) 444-4444. Our phone lines are open 24/7.
How Do I Prove Negligence in a Trucking Accident Case?
When establishing negligence in a trucking accident, four elements must be proven. –
- The driver had a duty of care.
- This duty of care was breached.
- This breach led to the accident and ensuing injuries or damages.
- There were actual damages suffered.
Negligence can be both intentional and unintentional. This will be decided after a thorough investigation has been undertaken. In short, negligence is a breach of the duty that all drivers have in order to avoid causing harm to those around them.
Truck Driver Errors
Truck drivers must follow all Florida traffic laws, as well as commercial trucking regulations. For this reason, it can be easier to prove negligence on the part of the truck driver. Some errors may include:
- Speeding – Breaking the speed limit.
- Driving whilst distracted – Eating, drinking, texting, etc.
- Driving recklessly – Tailgating, improper left turns, reckless lane changes.
- Improper driving – Failure to signal, etc.
- Driving in extreme weather – Windy, rainy, snowy, icy conditions.
- Driving whilst impaired – Operating a vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs.
Accidents may be caused by pressure being placed upon drivers to complete trips, even in adverse conditions. This leads to speeding, driving in dangerous weather, or driving through the night. In the event that this negligence leads to an accident, the driver and/or the trucking company can be held responsible.
Trucking Company Errors
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations stipulate the rules that all commercial vehicles, their drivers, and trucking companies must adhere to. They clearly state the standard at which all areas of operation must be conducted.
When investigating a trucking company, your lawyer will try to deduce if any of these rules were broken. Some common violations are:
- Failing to record vehicle maintenance and repairs.
- Unlawfully altering these logs to deny responsibility or dispatch a vehicle more quickly.
- Failing to properly train drivers.
- Failing to regulate shift patterns so that drivers do not exceed appropriate driving time.
- Exceeding maximum load sizes.
Often, negligence in a truck accident has to be determined by deciding who was at fault for a vehicle error. This could be either the manufacturer and/or the owner of the truck.
These errors can arise when improper or a lack of vehicle maintenance has been carried out. Here are some errors through which negligence can be proved:
- Errors with brakes.
- Errors with steering.
- Loose or improper restraints on loads.
- Mechanical problems.
- Issues with tires.
A truck driver will not automatically be declared as the cause of negligence following a trucking accident. Even if the victims have suffered serious injuries, this does not prove negligent driving on the part of the driver.
Establishing facts and evidence is how an attorney will determine who was a fault. Evidence that will be collected and examined includes:
- Maintenance logs – Every trucking company is required by state law to record the condition of their vehicles. These records include any faults and repairs previously made on the truck in question.
- Driver training – A minimum amount of training and a commercial driver’s license must have been achieved by a driver before going onto the roads of Florida. It is the responsibility of the trucking company to make sure that these standards have been met and are properly recorded.
- Shift length – There is also a limit on how long a driver is allowed behind the wheel of a vehicle. It is the responsibility of the trucking company to ensure that drivers are not putting others at risk due to fatigue. This, too, must be properly recorded.
- Traffic violation – After investigating the crash, negligence can be proven if the officer onsite issued the truck driver a ticket.
Who Can Be Responsible for a Trucking Accident?
As we have seen, there can be several parties responsible for trucking accidents. This can make establishing negligence a lot more difficult for a lawyer. This also requires a significant amount of time, and it is therefore advised that you act quickly following your accident. Some liable parties may include:
- The truck driver.
- The trucking company.
- The truck manufacturer.
- The owner of the truck.
- A third-party driver.
Another reason we recommend that you hire a truck accident lawyer is so that you have a stronger chance of winning adequate compensation. It is not unusual for a case to involve several liable parties. Therefore, when your lawyer takes your case, they may have to gather enough evidence to prove the fault of many defendants.
Can I Claim Compensation as a Result of Negligence in a Trucking Accident?
Through Florida Statute 768.042, you have the right to seek damages in the event that you were a victim of a trucking accident. In Florida and across America as a whole, there is a significant number of trucking accidents taking place every year. In 2017 alone, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 4,889 cases in which a truck caused the accident.
Florida is a no-fault state, as stated in Florida Statute 627.7407. This means that every driver is required to have personal injury protection (PIP) to the value of $10,000 for drivers and passengers, with $10,000 more for property damages. Through this, any compensation you receive will be awarded from your own insurance company, regardless of who caused that accident.
We advise that you seek legal representation from a truck accident lawyer so that you can get the compensation you deserve. Dealing with insurance companies can be difficult and exhausting. Let us take on your case so that you can relax and begin to recover from the ordeal you have experienced.
The Law Place
If you or a loved one has been affected by the negligence of a trucking company, driver, or manufacturer, then we are here to help. Our lines are open 24 hours 7 days a week, where we will be waiting to give you your free consultation and help take that first step towards compensation. Call us today at (941) 444-4444.