Can I Sue a Truck Driver’s Company for Injuries in Florida?
Crashes involving 18-wheelers can be downright deadly. These steel behemoths outweigh cars by several tons, and even a single bump from a tractor-trailer is enough to destroy your car and leave you seriously hurt.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident in Florida, you may wonder if it’s possible to sue the employer of the trucker who hit you. Here’s what you need to know from a Florida truck accident attorney.
Understanding Vicarious Liability
The state of Florida follows vicarious liability rules when a company’s employee injures someone. That means the trucking company is responsible for what their drivers do while they’re on duty. That’s true even if the driver was on break when they hit you.
Florida also follows the doctrine of respondeat superior, which says that an employer is responsible for the negligence of its employees.
When Can I Sue a Trucking Company for an Accident Caused by Their Driver?
It may be possible to sue the trucking company for medical treatment and property damage to your car in certain cases.
The Company Forced the Driver to Work Longer Than Allowed
All truckers must follow Hours of Service (HOS) regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These include:
- Truckers can drive for 12 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty
- Truckers can’t drive if they’ve driven 70 hours in a seven-day period
- Truckers must take a break for at least 30 minutes after driving for eight hours
Some trucking companies push their workers to keep driving past the limit and make the delivery no matter the cost. If an overworked driver fell asleep at the wheel and hit you, it’s possible to hold their employer liable.
The Company Failed to Properly Train Its Drivers
All truckers have to pass background checks, hold a commercial driver’s license, and be well-trained on how to operate their trucks. Some shady trucking companies hire anyone with a pulse regardless of whether they’re actually fit to drive.
You may be able to sue the trucking company and win if it didn’t train its drivers well (or at all). You could also sue if the company didn’t run a background check on the driver.
The Company Did Not Inspect Its Vehicles
By law, trucking companies must regularly maintain and inspect their vehicles. Doing so costs money and takes time, which is why some companies skimp on keeping up with maintenance.
If a trucker hit you because their brakes failed or the truck’s tires blew out on the highway, you could hold their company liable.
How a Florida Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
To sue a trucking company and win, your Florida truck accident lawyer will need to build an airtight case. They’ll gather evidence such as:
- Black box data, which could reveal driver behavior like speeding, swerving, and falling asleep behind the wheel
- Witness testimony
- Police reports
- Your medical treatment records
- Statements from your doctor that say when you can return to work
- Accident reconstruction reports
Your lawyer will tally up your damages, take care of all the paperwork, and deal with insurance companies so you don’t have to. They’ll also represent you should the case go to trial.
Reach Out to Florida Keys Injury Lawyers if You’ve Been in a Truck Accident
If you’ve been hit by a truck, you’re probably staring down piles of bills and wondering how you’ll pay for them. Suing the trucking company can bring some relief, but these companies have teams of lawyers that can be nearly impossible to battle on your own.
Don’t risk representing yourself in court. Contact a Florida truck accident attorney for a free consultation at (786) 605-8500 today.