In some motor vehicle accidents, the at-fault driver operated a company vehicle. If the injured accident victim can prove that the other driver operated that vehicle in a negligent or distracted manner, such as by texting while driving or using a cell phone or electronic device without a hands-free option, then the driver’s employer may bear responsibility for the driver’s negligence. If the employer is a company or other business entity, it probably maintains insurance coverage on the subject vehicle.
If you or someone you love was injured as a result of someone else’s negligence in a St. Petersburg auto accident case, the compassionate and experienced attorneys at Dolman Law Group are here to help. Our attorneys can discuss the circumstances of your accident with you and can bring all of the proper parties, including the driver’s employer, where applicable, into the case as defendants.
Car Accident Statute of Limitations
In Florida, the statute of limitations in personal injury car accident cases is usually four years from the date on which the accident took place. As a result, under most circumstances, victims must bring any personal injury claims or lawsuits for damages within this time period. Otherwise, the law will preclude injured accident victims from seeking monetary recovery for the injuries and damages an auto accident caused. Statutes of limitations in car accident cases ensure that people’s memories stay fresh and that witnesses remain available to testify about the accident and how it occurred.
The statute of limitations applies to every defendant in a car accident case. In other words, if victims fail to properly name any defendants—such as the at-fault driver’s employer—in the claim or lawsuit within the proper time period, then they cannot seek compensation from them. The St. Petersburg car accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group can undertake the necessary investigations to file claims and lawsuits against all potentially responsible defendants within the applicable statutory period.
Once you file a lawsuit, if you leave out a potential defendant—such as the at-fault driver’s employer—then you cannot recover compensation against that defendant later on. In auto accident cases, then, err on the side of caution and name potentially unnecessary defendants whom you can later dismiss from a claim or lawsuit after you file it.
The legal doctrine of vicarious liability allows you to hold the owner of a vehicle responsible for the negligence of an at-fault driver. If, in other words, the at-fault driver drove while on the job—and while in the scope of employment—then you can hold the employer or company negligent to the same extent as the at-fault employee driver.
Moreover, if the employee has a bad driving record, and the employer or company knew or should have known about this, a victim can also hold the employer liable for negligently hiring, retaining, or supervising the negligent employee driver.
After an accident in Florida, accident victims must first pursue compensation through their own no-fault insurance policies. However, these policies are often limited to $10,000 worth of coverage. For serious injuries, victims can pursue additional compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company or file legal claims against the parties themselves. In vicarious liability cases, a victim may subject the following to insurance or legal claims:
- The at-fault driver of the other vehicle – Pursuant to the Florida Traffic Code, drivers must operate their vehicles in reasonably safe and careful ways on Florida roadways. When drivers violate this duty of care, such as by engaging in distracted driving, and they cause accidents that bring about injuries and damages to someone else, victims may sue them. Although the injured accident victim can sue the negligent driver directly, the driver or vehicle owner’s insurance company usually provides the coverage. If the driver is driving a company vehicle, the company’s insurer will likely provide insurance coverage for the vehicle.
- The at-fault driver’s employer – The injured accident victim may also have a legal cause of action against the driver’s employer—if the driver was an agent, servant, or employee of the company at the time of the accident and the driver acted within the scope of employment at the time of the accident.
It is important to include employers in such claims as they generally have more significant insurance policies or assets to pay out in lawsuits.
Call a St. Petersburg Car Accident Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
Insurance companies are first and foremost businesses, and their main goal is to pay out as little money as possible for your personal injury claim. Therefore, hire an attorney who will name every potentially responsible party in your case, make sure to explore every avenue of potential insurance coverage, and maximize the amount of insurance coverage available to you.
The knowledgeable car accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group can evaluate your case and bring every potential defendant into your case within the required statutory time period. We can then turn to helping you obtain the monetary compensation that you need and deserve under the law. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a St. Petersburg car accident attorney, please call us at (727) 222-6922 or contact us online.