After a semi-truck hit you and caused injuries, you may be wondering how negligence is established in a truck accident. You and your attorney will investigate the facts that led to the crash, seeking to show that the truck driver violated traffic laws or made another mistake behind the wheel, leading to the accident.
By showing that the trucker behaved negligently, you will be eligible to seek compensation for your pain, suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and emotional trauma related to your injuries from the accident.
If you cannot prove negligence on behalf of the truck driver, or if the facts in the case do not show that the trucker was at fault, you may not be able to make a claim against the truck driver’s insurance or the truck owner’s insurance.
Starting the Investigation
Although the semi-truck is quite a bit larger and heavier than the majority of vehicles on Florida roads, the truck driver is not automatically declared negligent after an accident with a car. Even if the driver and passengers in the car suffer life-threatening injuries, and the truck driver walks away from the crash with no injuries, those facts alone do not indicate the truck driver is negligent.
Instead, after a crash in which you suffered an injury, you and your attorney will need to use the facts in the case to determine whether the truck driver was negligent. Some of the ways we will work to show fault on the part of the trucker include:
- Police report: We will study the report that law enforcement officers file after investigating the crash, looking for evidence that shows the trucker made an error to cause the crash.
- Traffic violation: If a police officer issues a traffic ticket to the truck driver after investigating the accident, this clearly shows that the trucker did something wrong before the crash, which equals negligence.
- Maintenance record: We will study the records for how the trucking company maintained the truck and trailer, and if a maintenance mistake is discovered, this is a sign of negligence.
Negligence in a Truck Accident
When attempting to prove negligence on the part of the truck driver, you and your attorney simply have to show that if the trucker had taken a different action while behind the wheel, he or she could have prevented the crash.
You do not have to prove that the truck driver acted with malice or purposefully caused the accident, although negligence can involve a purposeful act.
In other words, negligence is present in the crash if the truck driver committed an error that could have been corrected through a different action or choice.
Types of Errors Truck Drivers Commit
The truck driver needs to follow all of the traffic rules in the state of Florida. Violation of a traffic law should result in a finding of negligence.
Driving Under the Influence
Truck drivers in the state of Florida are held to a higher standard for drunk driving penalties than other drivers. For a CMV (Commercial Motor Vehicle) licensed driver, the maximum BAC (blood alcohol content) is 0.04%, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), rather than 0.08% for a typical driver.
A truck driver violating this law is more likely to make a mistake behind the wheel and cause an injury accident.
Driving While Tired
Truck drivers who are on the road for too many hours could become fatigued, which reduces the driver’s reaction time and could lead to a mistake in judgment.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), a driver in the truck who has gone at least 20 hours without sleep operates the truck in the same way as someone with a BAC of 0.08%.
When a truck driver is speeding, he or she greatly increases the chances of a serious accident. A speeding driver could create a jackknife accident when applying the brakes because of the excessive speed, for example. Brakes do not operate as efficiently when the trucker is speeding, either.
We Will Work Tirelessly to Help You Receive the Compensation You Deserve
When you have been struck by a semi-truck and you did not do anything wrong to create the accident, you deserve a settlement that fairly reflects the recovery time and reduction in quality of life you may be facing going forward.
However, such cases are not always straightforward and easy to understand. The truck driver’s insurance company may try to show that you made an error while driving that contributed to the crash. This could limit the amount of compensation you will receive.
The team at Distasio Law Firm is ready to help by showing how negligence is established in a truck accident. We take pride in holding those who behave negligently and cause injuries accountable for their actions. You should not have to face this situation alone. Call us as soon as possible at (813) 259-0022 for a free review of your case.