The issue of whether a truck driver, a trucking company or both are responsible for your Orlando truck accident may be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Those who employ truck drivers may have several responsibilities to keep drivers and others on and near the road safe, and failure to live up to those responsibilities may make a trucking company liable for losses that come from a truck accident.
The Responsibilities of Trucking Companies
A trucking company may be responsible for:
- The actions of its employees, trucker or otherwise
- The actions of its contractors
- The result of your accident, under certain circumstances
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) details some steps that employers may take to reduce the risk of their drivers being in an accident. Those steps include:
- Having a mandated, driver-related safety training program in place
- Explaining to drivers the cost of engaging in dangerous behaviors
- Having a system for disciplining drivers who act dangerously
- Incentivizing drivers who consistently act in a safe manner
The National Safety Council (NSC) suggests that all employers should have a policy prohibiting cell phone use by those who are driving and cites several examples of fatal accidents that have occurred because a driver was using a cell phone in some capacity.
If the trucking company that employs or employed the driver involved in your accident failed to outline a clear policy prohibiting unsafe cell phone use, and cell phone use was a factor in your accident, then that company may be liable for some portion of your losses.
In addition, it is possible that a trucking company may be at-fault for some portion of your accident if:
- Their driver was impaired at the time of your accident
- The company did not have a consistent, thorough drug and alcohol screening program in place
- The company failed to detect or overlooked dangerous personal or professional behavior by the driver involved in your accident
- The trucking company acted, or failed to act, in ways that the court determines to be negligent
The outcome of your lawsuit, whether that resolution is a settlement or judgment, may ultimately determine whether a truck driver, trucking company, or some combination of both may be responsible for your Orlando truck accident.
When Are Truck Drivers Liable?
Although trucking companies are usually responsible for the actions of their truck drivers, that does not mean the truck driver cannot be held accountable for their portion of liability. There are many ways in which negligent truck drivers can cause commercial trucking accidents. Some of the more common causes include:
- Drunk driving
- Drugged driving
- Driving while fatigued
- Failure to use a turn signal
- Following too closely
- Failure to yield to the right of way
- Road rage
- Failure to stop
- Cell phone use or distracted driving
These are only a few of the more common types of negligent driving that have been known to cause truck accidents. Your truck accident attorneys’ in-depth investigation into your accident will determine who is responsible for your injuries, and therefore liable, for compensating you.
Could Another Party Be Liable in Your Orlando Truck Accident Case?
Trucking accidents can result from manufacturer error. If the truck’s brakes gave out, or there was an issue with the steering column, the truck parts manufacturer could be held liable.
There must be considerable evidence linking a manufacturer’s negligence to the crash. An accident reconstruction expert can analyze the scene and determine what happened from skid marks and other evidence. Our firm has the resources to hire expert witnesses who will testify to what happened in your case.
How a Truck Accident Lawyer Could Help You
A truck accident attorney who handles these types of cases in Orlando could help you hold the liable party accountable. Our lawyer can help you make your case for compensation by:
- Researching issues of liability as it pertains to your specific accident
- Filing an insurance claim or lawsuit against at-fault parties
- Handling all communications with the insurance companies
- Negotiating a settlement on your behalf
- Preparing to take your case to trial if necessary
- Defending your rights and arguing for any compensation to which you should be entitlednow
What to Expect from the Insurance Company
Unfortunately, when you are preparing to file your truck accident claim, you need to be prepared to deal with the insurance company. Filing an insurance claim can often be intimidating. After all, you may need to go up against a large insurance company if you hope to recover fair compensation for your truck accident damages.
However, many people make the mistake of trusting that the insurance company is on their side. Insurance companies are for profit and profit driven. This means they will lose money when they pay out on your claim. They may use various tactics to pay you less than you deserve.
Do not risk your insurance settlement. Have your truck accident attorney handle the insurance negotiations on your behalf. Insurance adjusters have been known to make lowball insurance settlement offers, manipulate the statements given to them by claimants, and engage in other unscrupulous tactics to reduce profit loss. Your attorney will be prepared to show the insurance company how seriously you are taking your case.
How Much Is My Truck Accident Case in Orlando Worth?
The unique circumstances of your truck accident will determine the possible value of your case. Some trucking accidents involve multiple vehicles, whereas others include cyclists or pedestrians.
For an accurate, fair value settlement, you could consult a law firm. Our legal team can assess the details of your case and tell you what fair compensation should look like.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages
Based on your injuries and losses, you could be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages consider the physical and emotional harm you suffered due to the truck accident. If the accident reduced your quality of life, or robbed you of a close relationship, you could be entitled to non-economic damages.
Economic damages take into account your financial losses. Reduced earning capacity, medical expenses, or damaged personal property are economic damages.
You could receive compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of a close interpersonal relationship
- Damage to personal property, such as a bicycle, or vehicle
- Current and future medical expenses
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Reduced or nullified earning capacity
This is not an exhaustive list of the damages you may be entitled to due to your Orlando truck accident. A lawyer can help determine the full and fair value of your case.
What Should I Do After an Orlando Truck Accident?
Florida is a no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) state. PIP covers up to $10,000 in medical expenses regardless of accident liability. To receive this insurance, you must seek medical treatment within 14 days of your accident.
Your medical records can become crucial evidence in a truck accident case. A lawyer can link these records to the crash event. This will demonstrate that another party’s negligence led to your injuries.
After you’ve sought medical treatment, here are some other steps to take to ensure your accident is documented properly:
File an Accident Report
Florida Statutes § 316.066 mandates that you file an accident report if your crash involved a commercial vehicle. You have 10 days after a truck accident to file a report.
Like your medical records, the official accident report can play an important role in your case. The information can help you or your lawyer establish liability.
Preserve Case Evidence
Medical records and accident reports are not the only forms of evidence in a truck accident case. These forms of evidence could prove invaluable, as well:
- Eyewitness statements
- The truck’s ‘black box’
- Footage of the accident
- Contact information of those involved in the accident
- Images of the accident
You don’t need to gather and organize this evidence on your own. A lawyer specializing in truck accidents from our firm can collect evidence before it disappears. They can use this evidence to build your case.
How Long Do You Have to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Orlando?
If you are hoping to pursue a truck accident lawsuit against the truck driver, the trucking company, and any other parties who may share liability for your injuries, you need to act quickly. The statute of limitations for Orlando truck accident lawsuits and other types of personal injury cases is only four years.
Although this may seem like more than enough time to move forward with your case, the sooner you get your attorney working for you, the sooner we can obtain valuable, time-sensitive evidence to support your case.
Furthermore, the exact date the statute of limitations expires in your case may not be clear. Make sure you do not risk the expiration of this critical deadline by hiring a truck accident attorney to handle the legal details of your case.
Call The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine to Learn About Your Options
Call the team at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine today for a free consultation about seeking any awards to which you may be entitled. Do not wait to call, as Florida Statutes §95.11 may place a time limit on your ability to seek compensation through one or more lawsuits.
We Can Help.