If you've been involved in a truck accident, you will need to establish liability on the part of another entity if you hope to get compensation from them. Since truck crashes often result in serious injuries, it is likely that your damages will exceed the $10,000 covered by personal injury protection insurance. While victims often assume that the truck driver was responsible for the accident, there are several other parties who may be responsible. It's important that you reach out to a Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer, so they can look into the case.
Truck accidents are unique in that there are so many other parties who may be responsible for a crash. This is largely due to the structure of the trucking industry. Let's look at some potential defendants.
The Trucking Company
The company that employs the driver may have contributed to the crash in some way. Perhaps no one checked the driver's training or credentials before hiring them, or the company hired the individual even though there were red flags. If so, the company could be considered negligent in its hiring practices. The trucking company could also be deemed responsible if the driver was encouraged to speed or otherwise break the law. Often, employers urge or even force truckers to ignore Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
The Loading or Shipping Company
Commercial truck drivers don't usually load the cargo themselves. Another company typically manages this part of the process. If the accident occurred because the vehicle was overloaded or the cargo wasn't properly balanced, you probably wouldn't be able to hold the driver accountable. If you can prove that the shipping company or loader acted negligently, you may be able to claim compensation from them.
A Leasing Company
To complicate matters even more, sometimes, the tractor of a truck is leased out. This can happen when large conglomerates are involved. The company that leased the tractor may be responsible for any required maintenance and repairs. If they neglect their duty, and you get injured as a result, you may be able to file a claim or lawsuit against them with help from an attorney.
The Maintenance Company
Trucking companies often hire third parties to inspect and maintain their fleet. If the maintenance company didn't detect problems, fix them, or ensure the vehicle was in compliance with state or federal regulations, you may be able to get compensation from that entity.
The Owner of the Trailer
Sometimes, companies hire semi-trucks to haul cargo using their own trailers. The trailer owner would be responsible for ensuring the trailer and its components are safe and road-worthy. If the trailer was defective and this contributed to your accident, you may have the option of seeking damages from the owner of the trailer.
The Manufacturer of Vehicle Parts
As you can imagine, trucks and trailers are made up of thousands of components. If one of these components, or even worse, an entire system, is defective, a serious accident could result. Defective steering, braking, or lighting may give you grounds to go after a part's manufacturer to recover your losses.
You also need to consider the possibility that someone will blame you for the crash. Florida follows a pure comparative negligence system. This means that if you are partially at fault for the accident in which you were injured, your damages will be reduced. Even if you were mostly at fault, you would still be able to claim compensation. However, your damages will be adjusted in proportion to your share of fault. If you were determined to be 80% at fault, you would only be able to get 20% of the damages you are due. You will need to work with your attorney to ensure you're not unfairly blamed for the crash, so you can get maximum compensation.
Given all the possible at-fault parties in a truck accident, individuals and companies often shift the blame onto someone else. That's why it's so important to hire experienced Fort Lauderdale truck accident attorneys as soon as possible after the crash. They will need to investigate the incident thoroughly and identify all possible defendants before they can advise you on whom to file your claim against. If you suffered injuries in a truck accident, contact VG Law Group and schedule a free consultation. Let us help you to get the compensation you deserve.