Who can be held liable in commercial vehicle accidents?

Businesses in Florida rely on semi-trucks to deliver their goods across the nation, making these large commercial vehicles a common sight on the state’s highways. However, it takes a great deal of skill to handle one of these behemoth vehicles. One wrong move could lead to disaster. When a person is injured in a crash involving a commercial vehicle, they may incur substantial damages that they wish to recover through a personal injury lawsuit.

It is important for those who wish to pursue a lawsuit after a semi-truck accident to name all the possible defendants. The failure to name a defendant could result in a person recovering less in compensation than what they should have been due. Of course, whenever a person is involved in a truck accident, they may believe the truck driver was at fault and name the truck driver as a defendant. However, under a legal concept known as “vicarious liability,” truck companies may also be at fault for truck accidents if the trucker was an employee of the company and the accident occurred during the normal course of business.

There are a number of ways to prove that a trucker or truck company is liable for the truck accident. For example, if they did something that was against the law that lead to the accident, they may be held liable through a concept known as “negligence per se.” This means that by breaking the law and causing a crash, the trucker or truck company is assumed to have breached their duty of care, which caused the crash. Of course, a truck accident victim could also pursue a lawsuit based on the theory of ordinary negligence. To do this, they’d have to prove that the truck driver owed a duty of care and that duty was breached. They would also have to show that the breach both actually and proximately caused them to suffer some sort of damages.

As this shows, pursuing compensation after a truck accident can be a highly nuanced affair. It is important that all appropriate parties be held accountable, and it is also important that the right legal argument is chosen. It takes a solid understanding of the law to prevail in such actions, so victims of commercial vehicle accidents in Florida will want to make sure they have all the information they need to make educated choices.

Source: FindLaw, “Truck Accident Law: What You Need to Know,” accessed May 6, 2018

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