To prove negligence in truck accident cases, you must show the truck driver legally owed you a duty of care, which they breached. When a motor vehicle collides with a truck, the passenger vehicle’s driver and occupants sustain horrific injuries. Since trucks tend to weigh up to 30 times more than an average car, the outcome may be more lethal than a car-on-car wreck.
Filing a claim or pursuing a lawsuit can help you hold the negligent truck driver accountable while also collecting compensation for the serious economic and non-economic damages you’ve sustained.
Proving Fault in a Truck Accident
No matter how serious and extensive your injuries are, you must prove fault to recover compensation. More specifically, you must gather sufficient evidence to demonstrate the following four elements of negligence:
- Duty: You must establish that the defendant (truck driver) owed a duty of care to you. All motorists sharing the road have an obligation to follow traffic laws and drive safely. So, a truck driver is expected to follow all traffic ordinances and safely operate their vehicle.
- Breach of duty: You must establish that the defendant violated that duty of care. For this, you need to show that an average person, if put in the defendant’s situation, would have acted differently.
- Causation: You must establish that negligent actions resulted in your injuries. This can be proven with a medical evaluation right after the collision. An attorney can analyze your medical records and show the connection between the collision and the injury when filing your claim or a lawsuit.
- Damages: You must establish that you suffered economic and non-economic damages that qualify for compensation.
For a free legal consultation 800-747-3733
The Definition of Negligence
As previously stated, for a case to proceed, you must establish that another party’s actions resulted in your injuries. The American Bar Association defines negligence as an instance when a potentially liable party’s actions “depart from what an ordinary reasonable person would have done in similar circumstances.”
Some examples of negligence include:
- Driving while intoxicated
- Failing to obey traffic signals
- Weaving in and out of lanes
- Driving while fatigued
- Engaging in road rage
- Aggressive driving
You Need Evidence to Prove Negligence
Any evidence related to your truck accident case can prove negligence, including:
- Eyewitness statements
- Footage from the accident pulled from a dash camera or a traffic camera
- The police report
- Statements from expert witnesses, like doctors and accident reconstruction specialists
This is not an exhaustive list of evidence that could be involved in a truck accident case. Other forms of evidence may play a role, too. What’s important, though, is that this evidence highlights the trucker’s failure to drive safely.
Get Answers From An Experienced Attorney.SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY NOW
How Could a Truck Accident Lawyer Help Me?
Truck accident cases are considered personal injury cases. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to seek a legal team with considerable personal injury experience.
Our team has advocated for injured Floridians since 2006. When we manage your truck accident case, we will:
- Prove negligence for your accident
- Gather evidence to assert your damages’ cost
- Interview witnesses
- Review your injuries’ severity
- Consult with third-party field experts
- Explain your legal options
- Manage all necessary communications
- Uphold your legal rights
We’re more than your legal advocates; we’re also a crucial part of your support system. With our legal team on your side, your questions will never go unanswered.
What Are Compensable Damages in a Florida Truck Accident Case?
You can recover the following types of damages in a truck accident case:
These are monetary losses you suffered because of the accident, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Travel to and from the hospital
- Home or vehicle modifications to accommodate your condition
- Physical therapy
- In-home caretakers
- Medical devices
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning potential
- Damage to your vehicle or to items that were on you or in your vehicle during the accident
These damages cover non-financial losses related to psychological harm emanating from the wreck. Since non-economic damages are not tangible, quantifying them into dollar amounts can be tough.
A personal injury attorney will be able to use their training and knowledge from similar cases to assign a fair value to your non-monetary losses, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
Wrongful Death Compensation
If you lost someone in the trucking accident, you could recover additional damages, such as:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of future wages
- Loss of consortium
How Much Is My Truck Accident Case Worth?
The value of your truck accident case depends on the type and severity of the injuries you sustained and your total damages. Also, because Florida follows the pure comparative negligence model, your case’s worth also depends on the percentage of your fault in the accident. For example, if the court assigns you 10 percent fault, you could recover 90 percent of the awarded settlement.
In rare cases, if the truck driver’s negligent actions were extremely careless, you could receive punitive damages, too. These damages punish the defendant’s conduct.
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Florida Truck Accident?
Below are the parties you could hold liable in your trucking accident, depending on its cause:
- The truck driver: The driver’s negligence is usually the accident’s primary cause. They might have been distracted, driven under the influence, or violated truck-specific laws. If their negligence caused the crash, they would have to compensate the victim for damages.
- The driver’s employer: Employers can be held vicariously accountable for their employee’s actions if the crash occurred within the scope of the employee’s work.
- The truck’s manufacturer: If the crash occurred because of a faulty auto part or a truck’s design, multiple manufacturers may be at fault.
- Truck mechanic: If the mechanic failed to inspect and maintain the truck, they could be held liable.
- Shipping company: If the shipping company’s employee overloaded the truck with cargo, it could make the truck more susceptible to flipping over or swerving on the road, which may contribute to the accident.
An attorney will comb through the facts of your case to determine all the liable parties.
What Is Vicarious Liability?
Under Florida law, employers can face liability for their employees’ actions. As previously stated, this means that the truck driver’s employer could be held liable for your accident.
There are a few things to understand about this concept. First, independent contractors do not fall within the purview of vicarious liability. If the driver involved in your accident was an independent contractor and not an employee, vicarious liability will likely not apply. Here, you can hold the trucker directly responsible for your losses.
Second, questions of “scope of employment” are typically involved in discussions of vicarious liability. If the accident occurred during regular employee activities, like adhering to a trucking route, then it would fall within the driver’s “scope of employment.”
However, if the trucker was using the vehicle for personal reasons (like running errands), they could bear liability for your losses and not their employer. That’s because they were not performing their job-related duties when the accident happened.
However, you must still establish negligence to recover damages.
Will I Have to File a Lawsuit to Recover My Accident-Related Losses?
Trials are incredibly common in movies and TV shows. In reality, though, most truck accident cases are settled without going to court. However, your lawyer may file a lawsuit if insurance negotiations aren’t successful. Regardless of the route your case takes, your lawyer will manage everything.
How Long Do I Have to File a Truck Accident Case in Florida?
Florida’s statute of limitations deadline, which is found in Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a), gives you four years from the accident date to sue for damages. If you lost someone to a trucking crash, the time limit to file a wrongful death lawsuit is two years (Florida Statutes 95.11(4)(d)).
A few special circumstances may give you more or less time to file your lawsuit. An attorney from our legal team will be able to explain how the state’s statute of limitations applies specifically to your case.
Our Personal Injury Attorneys Will Help You Prove Fault
The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine will gather key evidence from pictures, video footage, witness statements, and medical expert statements to demonstrate the at-fault driver’s liability and negligence and the full extent of your damages.
If you or a loved one was injured in a Florida truck accident, call us for a free, no-obligation case review. We can assist you in filing a claim or lawsuit to hold the liable parties accountable and recover a fair settlement.
We want to put our knowledge, experience, and resources to work for you.SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY NOW