Trucking Accidents & Vicarious Liability In Florida
Semi-trucks make up a significant minority of the traffic on Florida highways, which means that many Florida car drivers are used to them – but many does not mean all, and sometimes accidents happen. Accidents that involve large trucks are somewhat unique, however, because depending on the specific situation, the truck driver is not always the only defendant in these cases. If the facts of your case permit it, you may be able to file suit against the driver’s employer as well, under a doctrine Florida refers to as vicarious liability.
Causes & Effects
Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that in the most recent available data year, there were approximately 500,000 crashes that involved large trucks, of which around 4,500 were fatal and roughly 22,000 caused injury. The percentage of fatal crashes may seem low, but in actuality, large trucks cause more harm per capita than passenger vehicles. Their sheer weight, their inability to stop as quickly as a passenger vehicle, and the laws of physics in general can all contribute to serious injury or death.
In addition, there are several ways in which a large truck can crash that a passenger vehicle may not be able to contend with or avoid. For example, if a semi-truck rolls over, other automobiles not only have to contend with the truck itself, but in all likelihood, the cargo it is hauling will also become a factor, especially if it is improperly stored or loaded. Another type of truck accident that does not affect other vehicles is a jackknife crash; these occur when the cab and the trailer of a large truck wind up at right angles to each other, unable to be moved.
“Course & Scope Of Employment”
Truck accident cases are usually brought under a theory of simple negligence, in which an injured plaintiff must establish that the driver had a duty to exercise reasonable care toward other motorists on the road, and that they breached it, causing the plaintiff’s injuries. However, in a case where an accident happens with a truck driver who is on the job, a theory called vicarious liability may apply, which can result in your being awarded more compensation.
Vicarious liability, also called respondeat superior, is a theory that states that an employer is liable for the torts (civil wrongs) of their employees if their employees are acting within the course and scope of their employment. In the event of a truck accident, it can usually be inferred that a truck driver is acting within the course and scope of employment – driving – and as such, it is often possible to bring the truck company into your suit as a co-defendant. Doing so means that if the driver is found to be at fault for your injuries, the truck company may provide the compensation instead of the driver (who is very often judgment proof).
Call An Orlando Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents can cause significant, even life-changing injuries, and if you have been through one, it is understandable to try and seek compensation for your injuries, from whichever defendant can be found liable. The Orlando truck accident attorneys at the Hornsby Law Group have handled many of this type of case, and we are ready to put that knowledge and experience to work for you. Call us today to schedule a consultation.