The State of Florida, with its myriad of busy roads and interstates, is a common place for truck accidents. Truckers drive these busy roads on a daily basis – often at very high speeds. When truckers operate their trucks and tractor trailers in a negligent or careless manner and violate Florida traffic laws or motor carrier regulations in the process, .
Many Florida drivers are unaware of how trucking companies work – and who can be held responsible in the event of a serious accident involving a truck, tractor-trailer, or big rig.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by a truck, tractor-trailer, or big rig operator, you may be entitled to monetary recovery under Florida law. Our experienced New Port Richey trucking accident lawyers can help to dispel some of the myths associated with trucking accidents and have the legal knowledge and expertise to investigate your claim fully, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and litigate your case to a conclusion.
Myth #1 – Speeding is the Only Cause of Trucking Accidents
In many instances, truckers tend to exceed the posted speed limits on Florida interstate highways and other roads. The main reason why truck drivers speed comes down to one word: money.
In order for truckers to log more hours and potentially make more money on an assignment, they must typically drive faster – and for longer periods of time. In order to drive for longer periods of time, truckers sometimes resort to drugs in order to help them stay awake while driving.
Therefore, while speeding oftentimes plays a role in a trucking accident, there are usually other causes. Those causes typically include one or more of the following:
- Reckless, careless, or distracted driving
- Use of cellular phones and other electronic devices while driving
- Texting while driving
- Alcohol and drug use while driving
- Disobeying traffic control devices (including traffic lights, stop signs, and yield signs)
- Failing to yield the right-of-way to other (usually smaller) vehicles
- Driving while fatigued
- Cutting sharp curves too tightly
- Driving too fast for the road conditions (e.g., construction)
- Driving too fast for the time of day
Myth #2 – Trucking Accidents Only Involve the Truck and One other Vehicle
Many truck accidents involve more than just the truck (or tractor-trailer) and one other vehicle. In fact, truck accidents often involve multi-vehicle, chain reaction collisions, such as where a trucker rear-ends a vehicle, which in turn rear-ends another vehicle, and so on.
Tractor-trailers, due to their large size and often fast speed, also have the potential to overturn in the middle of the roadway, potentially causing multi-vehicle collisions and massive pile-ups.
Since trucks and tractor-trailers oftentimes carry chemicals and other hazardous materials, accidents involving those trucks can result in chemical spills in the roadway. When this happens, explosions and multi-vehicle pile-ups and accidents can potentially result.
Myth #3 – Truck Drivers are the Only Ones to Blame for Florida Trucking Accidents
It goes without saying that big rigs and tractor-trailers are very large and heavy vehicles. Consequently, when their drivers disregard Florida traffic laws and , serious accidents are almost certain to result. However, the truck driver may not be the only at-fault party. The trucking companies for whom these drivers work may also share in some or all of the responsibility for a trucking accident.
Besides suing the truck driver, the injured plaintiff may also be able to sue the trucking company on a theory of vicarious liability or agency law. The legal theory is that if the trucker was driving negligently and with the trucking company’s permission, then the trucking company may share in some or all of the blame for any resulting accidents and injuries.
If the trucker is known to the trucking company to be a negligent driver, but the trucking company has not taken any remedial or corrective action, the trucking company could be on the hook for one or more of the following:
- Negligent entrustment of the truck to the truck driver
- Negligent supervision of the truck driver
- Negligent hiring of the truck driver
- Negligently retaining the truck driver
Myth #4 – Truckers are Always Employees of Trucking Companies
In some cases, truck drivers operate independently of trucking companies and are deemed independent contractors. If the truck driver does not set his or her own schedule, is paid directly by the trucking company, and does not have independence, it is likely that the truck driver is an employee of the trucking company. In that instance, the trucking company may be able to share in some – or all – of the blame for any trucking accident that directly results from the truck driver’s negligence.
Myth #5 – Products Liability Has Nothing to Do With Florida Trucking Accidents
When defective truck parts, such as tires, play a role in a trucking accident, the part manufacturer or distributor may be deemed liable and may be forced to share in some or all of the injured plaintiff’s damages. The same may be true for a truck repair facility that negligently performs repairs on a tractor or trailer immediately prior to an accident.
Myth # 6 – It is Okay to Wait a Day or Two after a Trucking Accident to Seek Initial Medical Treatment
In order to demonstrate to the insurance company that you sustained serious injuries, it is best to seek follow-up medical treatment at a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility as soon as possible after the accident. This is true even if you do not feel pain or do not believe that you have sustained serious injuries in the accident.
Myth #7 – Injured Plaintiffs Can Only Recover Their Medical Bills in Trucking Accidents
In addition to payment of medical and physical therapy bills, injured truck accident plaintiffs may be able to recover some or all of the following:
- Compensation for future medical procedures or surgeries
- Compensation for lost wages
- Pain and suffering damages
- Mental anguish and emotional distress damages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship or spousal support
Myth #8 – The Negligent Trucker Pays the Damages Directly in a Truck Accident Case
Under Florida law, truck drivers and trucking companies are required to maintain insurance coverage with an insurance company. Therefore, in a personal injury lawsuit, the insurance company – and not the defendant truck driver or corporation – makes the final decisions when it comes to settling a truck accident case.
Trucking companies often have multi-million dollar insurance policies with their insurance companies. When a truck driver causes a motor vehicle accident, the trucking company’s insurance provider ultimately foots the bill for the injured plaintiff’s damages.
Contact an Experienced New Port Richey Trucking Accident Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
Trucking accidents can result in serious injuries. Our experienced truck accident attorneys may be able to help you obtain the monetary compensation that you need and deserve.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652