Who Is At Fault In A Tractor-Trailer Accident?
Tractor-trailer accidents happen in Florida with sad regularity, given how many appear on the state’s roads. However, this does not necessarily mean that Florida drivers are somehow inept – there are multiple ways in which a tractor-trailer accident can happen, and sometimes this may be the fault of the truck driver. If you have been in an accident involving a large truck, calling an attorney to figure out how to proceed is almost always a good idea.
Causes and Effects
Data from Florida’s Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) shows that in 2020, there were around 28,000 accidents on Florida roads that involved large trucks (over 10,000). While the number of fatal accidents is small, it is still important to keep in mind that thousands of people were affected, however tangentially, by tractor-trailer related crashes.
There are several possible reasons for these types of crashes, and the method by which they happen can affect the assigning of liability. Some of the most common include:
- Fatigue on the part of the driver – many truck companies insist that their drivers stretch the amount of time they are on the road, despite the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules that limit hours driven;
- Poorly maintained roads – loose gravel, dirt, water, or ice can all potentially cause truck tires to skid or lock up;
- A lack of visibility on the part of either driver can create a situation where neither vehicle can act appropriately;
- Poor truck maintenance; and
- Several other causes that can be chalked up to driver error (either the truck driver or the auto driver).
The injuries from a tractor-trailer accident can be quite severe, and in Florida, an injured plaintiff can seek compensation for their injuries no matter who is allegedly at fault. State law holds that if someone’s injuries are sufficiently “significant and permanent,” they can seek compensation in a court of law, just like in any other personal injury case. They can file suit against the driver, but in some cases, they may also sue the trucking company or the person contracted to maintain the truck – every case is different.
It is worth noting that even if you believe you may be partly responsible for your own injuries, Florida law will often allow you to recover money damages. The concept of ‘comparative fault’ holds that if a plaintiff is ruled partially responsible for their own harm, they cannot recover the percentage of fault that was their own – say, if a judge holds you 30 percent at fault for your injuries, you may still be able to recover 70 percent of your expenses and damages.
Contact An Orlando Truck Accident Attorney
Determining who may be at fault for a tractor-trailer accident is usually the first step toward determining legal liability. If you have been injured in a crash involving a large truck, contacting an Orlando truck accident attorney from the Hornsby Law Group can be your first step toward the compensation you deserve. Call our office today at (407) 499-8887 for a free consultation.