A motor vehicle accident involving a commercial truck will leave very severe injuries and property damage in its wake. Passenger vehicles are no matches to these giants of the roads in case of a frontal collision, side impact or rear end impact. Many trucking accident victims suffer catastrophic injuries, or even lose their lives. And they or their families deserve justice and a fair compensation for the damages and loss. But who exactly do you pursue for damages: the truck driver, the trucking company, the company whose goods are shipped at the time of the accident? An experienced truck accident attorney at VG Law Group is one phone call away to review your case and offer you professional representation.
Victims should always seek legal advice, because truck collisions are very different from the usual fender bender with another passenger car. Commercial truck drivers are the prime responsible party for truck crashes, but usually they work under duress: they have not received proper training, they were forced to fulfill unrealistic delivery deadlines or their truck is overloaded. In this case, their employer is vicariously responsible for the accident, and this makes a big difference in the compensation amount you stand to receive.
Traffic accident victims are allowed to file claims for compensation if they can demonstrate the following:
There are no impediments to filing truck accident claims, as Florida has the pure comparative negligence law, which states that a plaintiff is allowed to pursue compensation, even if their proportion of fault exceeds that of the defendant. This means that both parties in an accident can file claims and counter-claims, which complicates the situation, especially if you are taking a large corporation to court.
Trucking companies rely on their reputation of retaining large legal departments full of experienced attorneys to discourage truck accident victims from taking them to court. However, an equally experienced personal injury attorney can successfully represent you and help you win the maximum compensation you are entitled to receive.
In the greatest majority of cases the commercial driver is responsible for an accident, whether due to reckless driving, breaking traffic laws, drunk driving or drowsy driving. However, pursuing a case solely against truck drivers will limit your ability to recover all your damages, starting with the medical care costs to recover from your catastrophic injuries.
While many devastating crashes happen because a driver was speeding, ignoring traffic signs or due to distracted driving (texting and driving), there are circumstances when they share the blame with the company employing them and with the cargo owner.
Here are the potential liable parties for a truck accident:
Truck drivers are not super-drivers. They should know that they bear a lot of responsibility on the road given the sheer size of the vehicle they are driving. But they are not always careful drivers, especially if they are young and want to earn a lot of money quickly. Thus, they are likely to exceed the speed limit, commit accidents due to driver error (failure to maintain safe distance) or even drive under influence of alcohol or under influence of drugs.
Trucking companies are liable in some circumstances for the devastating accidents their drivers commit. They set unrealistic deadlines for delivering the goods. They may be responsible for the negligent hiring of a driver with a long record of traffic violations. They may fail to provide proper regular maintenance and repair, in order to reduce the amount of time their trucks spend off the roads.
A catastrophic truck accident can happen despite the driver's best efforts if the vehicle is poorly maintained, or if substandard parts and components were used to repair it. In this case, the company that provided poor maintenance is liable, because they put an unsafe vehicle on the road.
Truck part manufacturers can be held liable if they provided a defective part that was incorporated in the vehicle, either when it was first assembled or during repair works. This type of claim is more difficult to prove, especially if the commercial vehicle itself sustains significant damages and the defective part is destroyed as a result. However, if equipment failure can be demonstrated, your truck accident lawyer will include the manufacturing company in your claim.
Cargo loading companies may contribute to a truck accident. If cargo loaders exceed the weight limit of the trailer or arrange the goods unevenly across its floor, a truck may not be able to brake effectively or change lanes smoothly. An overloaded truck with voluminous items stacked on one single side represents a perfect recipe for disaster on the roads, among passenger vehicles.
In the aftermath of a truck accident, you are in no condition to consider the full impact of the event. You are undergoing medical examinations and treatment for severe injuries, such as:
This is the moment when you will be offered a quick settlement by the insurance company representing the responsible party. It is never a good idea to even talk to the insurance adjuster. You may say things that could be used against you when your lawyer starts negotiating your settlement or even during the personal injury lawsuit.
An experienced truck accident attorney will negotiate your financial compensation once you have reached the maximum medical improvement, and they can calculate your hospital bills, current and future medical expenses, lost wages and potential costs for rehabilitation (physical therapy, assistive devices, long term nursing care).
At the same time, attorneys know that trucking companies may claim that their driver is an independent contractor. This is not true, since the enactment of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which stipulate that companies leasing trucks have "exclusive possession, control and use" of the vehicle and assume responsibility for the operation of the respective truck. In other words, they may not waive responsibility for the negligent actions of their drivers.
Every state stipulates a statute of limitations in personal injury law. In Florida, truck accident victims may file a personal injury lawsuit within 4 years after the accident occurred. This is why you should not attempt to fight for justice on your own. Insurance companies use many delaying tactics, until you are no longer eligible to take legal action. In this case, you may not recover any amount to cover your huge hospital bills, get compensated for lost wages and have your financial future secured if you are unable to return to your regular life and to work.
At VG Law Group, we are always ready to review your case, proceed with truck accident investigation and find all the liable negligent parties who caused you pain and suffering. We are not afraid to pursue big trucking companies and negotiate the maximum compensation allowed by law.
Our qualified team of attorneys knows where to look for evidence and how to analyze liability factors that point towards one party or another. We will leave no stone unturned, from the truck driver's log to the truck maintenance records, to find out exactly why the truck in question caused a crash and who is ultimately responsible.
Our approach is to focus on you, keep you informed at every step of the way, but also give you the peace of mind you need to recover from your injuries. Do not wait until time is running out - call us now for a free case review: 833-HELP-365!