Trucking Companies And Their Drivers Could Be Held Liable For An Accident
Recently, Florida roads made the news when a tractor trailer hauling sharks to an aquarium was involved in a crash on I-95. While it's a somewhat bizarre accident, it just goes to show that Florida roads can be dangerous and unpredictable. And while no one was seriously injured in this particular accident – aside from a shark that died – many who are involved in trucking related accidents on our highways aren't so lucky.
Auto accidents involving big rigs are among the most dangerous that can occur, and a huge majority of these accidents prove fatal. The size of the trucks combined with the speeds they travel on the highways means that accidents involving them are serious, leading to serious injuries and death.
As with any other type of auto accident, finding a good lawyer and trying to get financial compensation for your injuries is important if you're involved in a trucking accident. As you heal and recover from your accident, your finances can be placed under a serious strain due to medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. As a result, getting help is important.
A good truck accident lawyer will help you identify the primary cause of the accident. With trucking accidents, the first step is looking at the driver and their history as well as any other evidence that could shed light on the specific causes of the crash. Things an attorney could look at include:
- Witness statements
- Police reports
- Accident reports
- Phone records
- Weight of load
- Any traffic violations related to the accident
- Driver logs
- Black box data
Those last two are of particular importance. Today, all trucks are outfitted with black boxes similar to those used on airplanes. These boxes record things like speed, braking information, and more to help present a good look at the events that led up to the accident.
Driver logs are required by federal law, and each driver must document the hours they spend behind the wheel of their truck or face heavy fines and penalties. Drivers are only allowed to drive for a certain number of hours, must take breaks at specific times, and must give themselves rest periods according to all federal guidelines. If these rules aren't followed, they can be held liable for the accident.
It's important to note that in many of today's truck related accidents, fault goes further than just the driver of the vehicle. The trucking company that employs a driver could also be held at fault. Reasons for this include:
- Failure to require drivers to keep logs
- Failure to supply needed logbook supplies
- Failure to maintain vehicles properly
- Loads that are above legal limits
- Drive time or distance requirements that force drivers into unsafe situations
- And more
In short, if the trucking company takes steps that create unsafe driving conditions or that don't follow strict guidelines set forth by the government, they are held liable for the accident as well. The reason is that their actions are considered to be negligent and reckless, and as a result of those actions the accident has occurred.
It's important to note that in these cases, trucking companies will use a team of lawyers to try to avoid paying out anything above what they absolutely have to. They'll use a variety of tactics including things like offering lowball settlement offers, dragging a case out as long as possible, and more. To avoid these issues, you need to find a good truck accident lawyer. With them on your side, the trucking companies are more likely to treat you fairly and give your case the respect and attention that it deserves.
Trucking accidents are incredibly dangerous, even when they don't involve sharks. It's important to fight for the compensation that you're owed if you or someone you love has been injured in an accident involving a truck.