Cargo Liability For Truckers In Florida
Trucks make up a large portion of commerce in Florida, moving a lot of products especially for local businesses. However, due to their sheer size they can be more difficult to drive, and to share the road with. Trucks are involved in a significant number of accidents each year, but the majority tend to occur when the truck itself strikes another car or causes another car to crash. On occasion, it can be the cargo itself which causes the accident, which can open up entirely different questions and issues of liability.
Damages Can Be Significant
Big rigs simply have the advantage in the majority of accidents they may be involved in. Their size is obviously much larger than most other vehicles on the road, and it is sadly more and more common for both drivers and their employers to pay little heed to federal safety regulations. For example, many trucking companies not only ignore the regulations propagated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), they actively encourage driving longer, with fewer breaks and less sleep.
In addition to drivers who may not have the recommended amount of rest, some companies also risk problems by overloading or improperly loading trucks, especially if cargo is small. The most a truck carries, obviously, the fewer trips an order may take to deliver – but it also can increase the risk of an accident, especially if a truck’s balance is off due to overloading or has not been maintained through the years. This can cause wrecks either due to jackknifing or to overturning, in addition to the standard head-on or rear-end crashes that may happen due to driver inattention.
Who Is Liable?
If you are involved in a big rig accident where the trailer or cargo causes your injuries, it is important to understand that you may have a wide variety of defendants to choose from, rather than simply suing the driver. Depending on the relationship between the trucker, the owner of the truck, the trucker’s employer, and the customer contracting to have their cargo moved, all four of those entities could possibly be at fault. Florida does recognize the concept of vicarious liability (also known as respondeat superior), which holds that an employer is liable for torts committed by their employees during the scope of employment.
Regardless of all this, it is important to keep in mind that Florida has a no-fault system, meaning that most auto accidents are handled out of court by drivers’ insurance companies. However, if your injuries are “serious” (generally those injuries which result in a permanent impairment, scarring, and/or loss of bodily functions), the state allows you to file a civil suit, given that your medical bills are almost certain to be higher than most people’s personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
Call An Orlando Truck Accident Attorney
Some trucking accidents are minor, but some are very serious, and either way, consulting an attorney well versed in this type of case can be a good idea. The Orlando truck accident lawyers at the Hornsby Law Group can sit down with you and try to answer any questions you may have about your accident. Call us today to set up a free consultation.