How Might a Plaintiff Prove Defendant Fault in a Truck Crash Case?
Once a plaintiff identifies all potential defendants to a lawsuit, they must prove that a defendant was responsible for the incident that resulted in their injuries. In other words, a claimant must prove that a trucker or another party was at-fault for their accident.
Truckers have the same duty to drive safely as all other motorists. This includes stopping at red lights, following speed limits, and refraining from texting while driving. A truck driver who violates a rule of the road and receives a conviction in traffic court is almost certainly liable for the resulting injuries.
Additionally, special rules apply to the safe operation of commercial vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration establishes maximum weights of these vehicles for certain road surfaces. There also are laws in place that limit the maximum number of hours that a driver may be behind the wheel in any given day or week. A trucker or employer who violates these regulations may be negligent for a resulting accident.
However, just because a trucker did not violate a rule of the road does not mean that they are not liable. Many semi-truck accident cases require an in-depth analysis of the collision to determine the location of the vehicles and their speeds at the point of impact. By demonstrating that a defendant exercised poor judgment while behind the wheel, plaintiffs may be able to prove negligence in their claims. A Florida commercial vehicle accident attorney at Kogan & DiSalvo may be able to establish fault in a truck wreck case.
Truck Driver Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) works to decrease the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving trucks and busses. Florida has also created the Highway Patrol Office of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (OCVE) to enforce other laws to promote safety for all drivers on the road.
Commercial vehicles cannot be longer than 75-feet, taller than 13 feet, 6 inches, wider than 102 inches, heavier than 80,000 pounds and overhangs must be a maximum of 3 feet.
These types of vehicles can only be driven for 11 hours if carrying cargo, and 10 hours if carrying passengers according to the FMCSA. However, in Florida, truckers are permitted to drive up to 12 hours a day with cargo.
Additionally, commercial vehicle drivers can only be on duty in a 6-to-8-time span and they are required to have a 34-hour break before starting another shift. Drivers are not allowed to operate a cellphone while driving, and must consent to drug and alcohol tests at any time.
Additionally, truck drivers are required to create safe following distances. As defined by Florida law, trucks must leave at least 300 feet between them and the vehicle ahead. Exceptions are made for trucks that are passing.
Working to Protect Claims from Aggressive Insurance Companies in Florida
Liability assigned to an injured claimant can significantly impact the value of their case. In many situations, defendants try to reduce their liability by working to convince the court that at least some of the responsibility for the accident in question lies with the plaintiff.
Although the defendant may still owe the plaintiff compensation, proving partial responsibility on their part typically reduces the compensation a plaintiff may recover in proportion to their degree of fault. According to Florida Statutes §768.81, civil courts must use comparative negligence when evaluating civil claims for damages.
Truck Accident Settlements
The majority of commercial vehicle accident cases in Florida are settled between the lawyers representing the plaintiff and defendant. The decision of whether to settle or proceed to trial ultimately rests with the plaintiff. However, it may be less stressful and possibly more productive to settle the case prior to trial.
Plaintiffs can discuss fair settlement amounts and benefits or disadvantages of a settlement with a truck accident lawyer in Florida before making a decision. Generally, though, it is good practice for a plaintiff to do so before speaking to the truck driver’s insurance company or lawyers. If they do not, the injured claimant may leave money on the table that could have been part of their compensation.
Reach out to a Seasoned Florida Truck Accident Attorney
A commercial vehicle accident can result in painful injuries that may leave you unable to work and with costly medical bills. To increase your chances of a successful case result that brings you the compensation you need, contact the knowledgeable Florida truck accident lawyers at Kogan & DiSalvo as soon as possible for your free initial consultation.
Our law firm can take steps to protect your legal rights and pursue your claim for damages. Additionally, they could provide an initial case analysis that determines whether a claim has a possible chance for success and visit the scene of the accident to gain a full understanding of the facts of the case. Finally, they could prepare demand packages that fully outline your losses from all potentially liable parties.
Ideally, a case will end with a fair settlement that covers all of your losses. However, if a trial is necessary to bring you the damages that you deserve, our dedicated attorneys could take the necessary steps to present a case to the jury while protecting your right to fair compensation. To get started on your semi-truck wreck claim for damages, contact our office today.