Fast and heavy trucks, tractor-trailers, and semi-trucks have the potential to cause very serious motor vehicle accidents on Florida highways and roadways. Trucking accidents can potentially lead to severe – and sometimes catastrophic – personal injuries and damages. If you have been injured in a St. Petersburg truck accident that was caused by a truck driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation under Florida law.
In many truck accident cases, the trucking company is also a named defendant in any lawsuit that is filed in the Florida court system. This is because the trucking company could be deemed liable under agency law for the acts or omissions of its employees. The trucking company may also be deemed liable for negligent hiring, supervision, or retention of the negligent truck driver. The good news about trucking companies is that they usually maintain insurance coverage with very high limits of liability – usually in excess of one million dollars.
A skilled and knowledgeable St. Petersburg truck accident lawyer may be able to help you obtain the monetary compensation you need and deserve under the law. If the trucking company’s insurance adjuster refuses to place an acceptable settlement offer on the table, our experienced attorneys are not afraid to litigate your case, take it to trial, or explore opportunities for alternative dispute resolution.
Large Trucks Cause Severe Accidents
Tractor-trailers, big rigs, semi-trucks, and other large trucks weigh many tons and are able to travel at very fast speeds on Florida roadways. When large trucks travel at highway speeds of 70 miles per hour or greater on the Florida highway system, a smaller vehicle does not stand a chance in a collision and the results can be catastrophic.
Truck Driver Negligence
On highways, truck drivers often drive like they are the ‘kings of the road.’ Common examples of negligent truck driving include switching travel lanes often, exceeding the posted speed limit, and attempting to quickly maneuver around slower vehicles with the goal of arriving at their destinations sooner.
There is a strong financial incentive for both trucking companies and their drivers when drivers arrive at their destinations ahead of schedule. Many truck drivers will receive large financial bonuses for driving fast and delivering cargo quickly. However, truck drivers still have an affirmative duty to drive reasonably and carefully when they operate their vehicles on Florida roadways. When they fail to do so and cause a motor vehicle accident, they can be held liable for the injuries and damages they cause to injured accident victims.
Potential Liability of Trucking Companies
Trucking companies can be held secondarily liable for a trucking accident under a vicarious liability theory of recovery. Depending upon the circumstances, the trucking company could also be on the line for negligent hiring, retention, or supervision of a negligent employee truck driver – especially in cases where the truck driver has caused similar accidents in the past.
It is important to note that trucking companies are not only responsible for dispatching competent, careful, and safe truck drivers, but they are also responsible for ensuring that these drivers (as well as the companies themselves) comply with all applicable state and federal trucking regulations.
All too often, however, trucking companies prioritize profits over safety, thereby endangering the lives of all other drivers on the roadway. What follows are just a few ways in which trucking companies may be held responsible for an employee truck driver’s negligence:
- The trucking company fails to train drivers appropriately and thoroughly regarding proper driving techniques, safety concerns, emergency procedures, and defensive driving skills and tactics.
- The trucking company fails to thoroughly screen driver applicants by researching their driving histories (including criminal histories of drunk driving or other alcohol-related driving offenses and reckless/negligent driving convictions).
- The trucking company offers bonuses or other monetary compensation when truck drivers deliver their cargo to its destination sooner, encouraging them to drive fast and to drive even while fatigued.
- The trucking company creates unrealistic driving schedules and expectations, encouraging truck drivers to drive in a hurried, careless, or reckless manner.
- The trucking company fails to equip trucks with the necessary safety equipment, including blinking lights, reflective lights, undercarriage lights – or to properly and timely replace lights that have burnt out.
- The trucking company fails to adequately supervise employee drivers, monitor their driving performance, and ensure that drivers keep up with all CDL requirements.
- The trucking company fails to terminate truck drivers who sustain one or more careless, reckless, or drunk driving convictions over the course of their employment with the trucking company.
- The trucking company fails to ensure that timely and adequate repairs are made on trucks, tractor-trailers, or big rigs.
Common Injuries Sustained by Truck Accident Victims
When trucking companies take shortcuts during the hiring process or fail to adequately supervise their employees, serious accidents can result. While smaller-scale rear-end collisions and other minor car accidents tend to result in only soft tissue injuries, truck accidents have the potential to bring about more severe and catastrophic injuries and damages – due in part to the large size of the truck and the potential hard and fast impact.
Serious injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents involving trucks oftentimes include concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s), fractures, muscular tears, internal bleeding, spinal cord injuries, and other types of permanent impairment, including death.
Contact an Experienced St. Petersburg Truck Accident Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
If you or someone you love has sustained severe and catastrophic injuries in a motor vehicle accident involving a large truck, it is essential that you have experienced legal representation on
your side throughout your case. You should know that many insurance companies try to undervalue truck accident cases and attempt to shift some – or all – of the blame for the accident on the innocent accident victim. The insurance companies do this by pointing to an accident victim’s prior injuries or preexisting conditions, if any, or to the plaintiff’s negligence while driving.
An experienced Florida truck accident attorney at Dolman Law Group will have the necessary skills and legal expertise to combat the insurance company and can help you to receive a fair value for your case via settlement, alternative dispute resolution, or trial. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a truck accident attorney, please call us today or contact us online.