Who’s Liable in a Truck Accident?
Truck accidents often result in severe injuries and significant damage. Due to the large size of tractor-trailers, delivery trucks, and other large commercial vehicles, collisions involving heavy trucks can have serious consequences for those inside smaller passenger vehicles.
The injuries sustained in crashes involving 18-wheelers are often severe, which means the financial impact of a serious truck accident can be significant. Victims have recourse through the civil justice system, but determining who’s responsible for the crash is a complex yet critical step toward making a full financial recovery.
That’s why if you were injured or a loved one died in a truck accident, you need to know your rights and understand your legal options. An experienced truck accident attorney can help you find your way forward, identify all potential sources of compensation, and fight for the outcome your case deserves.
Florida’s no-fault insurance system
Different states have different types of insurance for drivers. Florida has what’s referred to as a “no-fault” car insurance system. This means someone who is injured in a motor vehicle accident may file a claim with their own insurance company, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
But that’s just the start of the process. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be able to step outside the no-fault system and receive financial compensation from other sources besides your own insurance company.
This is especially true when dealing with commercial truck accidents. Different state and federal regulations, including federal laws enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), apply to commercial truck accidents.
How liability works in commercial truck accidents
When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, liability is a legal term used to describe who’s responsible for compensating someone for their accident-related expenses. In Florida, that may start with a driver’s own insurance company. But other parties may be responsible in certain circumstances, especially when it comes to accidents involving commercial trucks.
Because commercial truck drivers often work for trucking companies, the truck driver’s employer may be responsible for your losses. For instance, a trucking company could potentially be held liable for an accident if the crash was the result of poor truck maintenance or the trucking company knowingly hired a truck driver with a history of reckless or negligent driving.
The key to success in such cases is providing evidence that the trucking company, the truck driver, or someone else’s negligence caused the accident. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced attorney who knows how to find the facts that matter to your claim.
Can more than one party be liable?
Another big difference between truck accidents and other types of motor vehicle accidents is that responsibility may fall on more than one party, such as:
- The trucker.
- The trucking company (carrier).
- The company that owns the truck’s trailer or cab.
- The company that loaded the trailer, especially if the cargo shifted, was uneven or too heavy.
- Those responsible for maintaining the truck.
- A company that made a defective truck part. For example, if defective brakes or a tire blowout caused your accident, the manufacturer of the parts may be legally responsible for your losses.
- A third party, such as the driver of another vehicle involved in the crash.
Again, figuring out who is and isn’t responsible for your truck accident is a crucial yet complex component of your claim. And while it may seem obvious who’s to blame in some instances, it’s important to remember that each responsible party will also have an attorney(s) in their corner to protect their interests. That’s why you need an experienced truck accident lawyer to look out for yours.
How a truck accident attorney can help
At Pajcic & Pajcic, our Jacksonville truck accident lawyers have years of experience fighting for clients in Florida and nationwide. Our law firm is known for consistently producing results, including a historic $1 billion fatal truck accident verdict we secured for a Florida family.