Commercial trucks are the lifeblood of the American economy. From factories to ports and warehouses to store shelves, many goods that consumers purchase traveled on a commercial truck at some point during their production.
All this movement of goods means that thousands of these vehicles are on the road in Florida at any given time. However, despite the strict laws that govern the use of these vehicles and the requirement that their drivers obtain special training, accidents do happen—and as any experienced personal injury attorney knows, they can be devastating when they do.
A Tampa truck accident lawyer could help you pursue compensation for your losses after a commercial truck crash. This could include demonstrating that the truck driver was at fault for the accident and holding trucking companies responsible for the actions of their employees.
The Legal Basis for a Truck Accident Claim
All drivers—including those driving commercial vehicles—have a duty to protect all other people that they may encounter on the road. Even though these drivers are engaged in a business and have a special license, they have the same responsibilities to drive safely as all other motorists. A failure to live up to this responsibility is a civil cause of action known as negligence.
As a legal concept, negligence occurs when a defendant acts in a way without regard for the safety of others. To prove a negligence case, a plaintiff needs to demonstrate three things.
How to Prove Negligence by a Truck Driver
First, a plaintiff needs to show that the defendant carried a duty to care for their wellbeing. As discussed above, this is always present in truck accident cases. Second, a plaintiff needs to show that the truck driver’s actions breached this duty. Evidence that the trucker was speeding, ignored a stop sign, or was carrying a load in excess of legal weight are all valuable pieces of evidence that could prove negligence. Finally, the plaintiff must have suffered a physical injury connected to the accident.
In addition to proving the elements of negligence, a plaintiff must also be sure to file their case on time. Florida Statutes §95.11 states that all personal injury cases in Tampa must be in court within four years of the date of the accident. If this time period has elapsed, plaintiffs are usually unable to recover compensation.
Holding a Trucking Company Responsible
A truck driver who causes an accident will always be a defendant in an ensuing truck accident case. However, in many situations, employers can also be held responsible for any injuries caused by their employees. If the trucker is driving a company truck or is listed as an employee while driving their own vehicle, the parent company may be listed as a co-defendant.
In other scenarios, the trucker may be an independent contractor. This means that the trucker owns their own vehicle and is doing their job as an independent businessperson. In these cases, the trucker would likely be the only possible defendant.
In either event, truckers and their companies are required to maintain strong insurance policies that cover injuries to third parties. A claim would likely involve filing an insurance claim before going to court, a process with which a skilled Tampa truck accident lawyer could provide thorough assistance.
Talking to a Tampa Truck Accident Attorney
Truck accidents can result in severe, life-changing injuries. These can affect not just your health, but also your income and emotional wellbeing. Any time that an accident is a truck driver’s fault, you have the right to demand compensation.
A Tampa truck accident lawyer could help you demand this compensation effectively. Specifically, they could work to investigate the accident, speak with witnesses, and form demand packages that outline your losses and how the truck driver was legally liable. There is a limited time to file a claim, so do not delay—contact a Tampa truck accident attorney today to start exploring the possibilities in your case.