Who Is Liable in a Trucking Accident?
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a trucking accident in Florida, determining who is liable will be one of the first steps on your road to financial recovery. Florida law holds trucking companies, truck manufacturers, and other companies liable under appropriate circumstances.
However, you must be able to prove which specific party or parties are liable in your case in order to recover the financial compensation you deserve.
At Colling Gilbert Wright, our knowledgeable truck accident attorneys have substantial experience in a range of injury cases involving commercial trucks. We understand the complexities of determining liability in these difficult claims, and we are committed to helping our clients recover the full compensation they need and deserve.
How Do You Determine Who is Liable in a Trucking Accident?
There are several possible ways to determine who is liable for a trucking accident in Florida. In all cases, the key is to act quickly, as critical evidence can disappear and witnesses’ memories can start to fade. As a result, if you need to seek financial compensation for a trucking accident, you will want to speak with a truck accident lawyer promptly so that your lawyer can gather evidence through:
- On-Scene Investigation – The first source of evidence is the scene of the accident. Whether you are still on the side of the road or the accident scene has already been cleared, there are likely to be several key pieces of evidence available. This includes everything from skid marks and debris to traffic patterns and road conditions.
- Inspection of the Vehicles Involved – Inspecting your (or your loved one’s) vehicle, the truck, and any other vehicles involved in the collision can also help establish liability. The location and extent of the damage to each vehicle can identify the point and severity of impact, and a thorough inspection will reveal any vehicle defects as well.
- Investigation Through Other Means – Speaking with witnesses, obtaining cell phone or surveillance camera footage, and various other means of investigation can also be used to determine trucking accident liability. Accident victims and family members should not try to take these steps on their own, but should instead rely on their lawyers to gather this evidence in a way that preserves its admissibility in court.
- Pursuing Discovery in Litigation – If necessary, additional evidence of liability can be gathered through the discovery process. This is a formal process that takes place after a trucking accident victim or family files a lawsuit in court. Accident victims and families can use discovery to obtain employment records, maintenance records, driving logs, and other key forms of documentation.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident?
Using the evidence gathered through the means discussed above, it should be possible to determine who is liable for your (or your loved one’s) trucking accident. There are several possibilities, including:
- The Truck Driver – If the truck driver is an owner-operator, the truck driver may be liable for the crash. In this scenario, recovering just compensation will most likely involve filing a claim under the owner-operator’s insurance policy.
- The Trucking Company – If the truck driver works for a trucking company, then a trucking company may be liable for the crash. Trucking companies can be held liable for their own negligence (i.e. hiring unqualified) drivers and for the negligence of their employees.
- The Shipping Company – Issues with the way a truck’s cargo is loaded or secured can make it difficult for drivers to maintain control in emergency scenarios. When this type of issue leads to a trucking accident (or when a truck’s cargo spills onto the road), the shipping company may be liable.
- Another Company that Operates the Truck – Many grocery stores, retailers, and other businesses operate their own trucks. If the business that owns or operates the truck is responsible for your (or your loved one’s) crash, you may have a claim under its liability insurance policy.
- A Truck, Vehicle, or Component Manufacturer – Truck and vehicle defects can cause drivers to suddenly and unexpectedly lose control. They can also significantly increase the risk of serious or fatal injuries in the event of a collision. Truck, vehicle, and component manufacturers can be held liable when defects lead to serious and fatal accidents.
- A Dealership or Repair Shop – Negligent repairs present risks similar to defects. If you, your loved one, the truck driver, or any other driver lost control because of a negligent repair, the dealership or shop that performed the work may be legally responsible for the crash.
- Another Driver’s Insurance Company – In the case of a multi-vehicle accident, the driver of another vehicle involved in the accident could hold legal responsibility. If so, then the driver (or the driver’s insurance company) will be liable for your accident-related losses.
- A Road Authority or Other Third-Party – Issues with the road, passenger negligence, and various other issues can also cause (or contribute to causing) serious and fatal trucking accidents. When you need to seek financial compensation for a trucking accident, it is important to consider all possibilities in order to maximize your chances of securing a full recovery.
Do you have a claim for a serious or fatal trucking accident in Florida? To speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Colling Gilbert Wright today. We are available 24/7, so call 800-766-1000 or tell us how you would like to be contacted online now.