Truck Accident Liability in Tampa, FL - Paul Knopf Bigger
If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident in Tampa, you could seek compensation from the party liable for your injuries and other crash-related losses. However, truck accident cases can be complicated because the trucking industry comprises multiple individuals and entities. The potentially at-fault parties in a truck accident may include the truck driver, the trucking company, the cargo company, the truck manufacturer, or other parties.
Fortunately, you do not have to pursue compensation alone. Contact a Tampa truck accident attorney from Paul Knopf Bigger today for a free initial case evaluation to discuss your case and learn about your legal options.
What Are the Truck Accident Liability Laws in Florida?
In Florida, someone who causes an accident through reckless, careless, or negligent behavior is typically liable for the consequences, such as injuries and property damage. All motorists must obey traffic laws and drive carefully to avoid harming other road users. Truck drivers who violate traffic laws or federal regulations for truck drivers or otherwise behave recklessly or carelessly behind the wheel can be liable for accidents they cause and resulting injuries.
State and federal laws also require trucking companies to adhere to specific rules regarding the operation of commercial vehicles. Companies that break these rules could also be liable for injuries and other damage from truck accidents caused by their employees.
Federal regulations require trucking companies to have liability insurance to pay for injuries, property damage, or environmental contamination. The minimum required policy limits range from $750,000 to $5 million, depending on the cargo transported.
Because these laws can be complicated, you should contact a truck accident attorney who can review your case and determine who could be liable.
Who Could Be Liable for Truck Accidents in Tampa?
Various parties may bear liability for a truck accident that occurs in Tampa or elsewhere in Florida. Fault for a truck crash may depend on the cause of the accident. Parties who may be responsible for a Tampa truck accident include the following:
- The Truck Driver – A truck driver may have liability for a truck accident if the crash occurs due to the driver’s negligent operation of the vehicle. Careless or reckless driving, violations of traffic laws, or inadequate inspections and maintenance by a truck driver can make a driver liable for injuries and losses in an accident.
- The Trucking Company – A trucking company may bear liability for a truck crash caused by a negligent truck driver if the company employs the at-fault driver. However, a trucking company’s negligence can also cause or contribute to a truck accident. For example, the trucking company may negligently defer maintenance on their vehicles, leading to mechanical issues that cause the vehicle to crash. A trucking company that negligently hires a truck driver with a history of accidents or traffic violations could be liable. Finally, a trucking company may bear responsibility for an accident if it orders or pressures its driver to engage in negligent or reckless behaviors like speeding to meet delivery deadlines.
- The Truck’s Owner – A truck driver or trucking company may not own the truck involved in the crash. If a truck accident occurs due to a mechanical issue caused by deferred maintenance, the truck’s owner may bear responsibility for the crash.
- The Cargo/Freight Company – A cargo or freight company responsible for loading the truck or trailer may also bear liability for a cargo-related truck accident if the company improperly loaded cargo. For example, overloading a truck or trailer or not balancing cargo weight may cause a truck driver to lose control of the vehicle. Failing to secure cargo can cause items to shift during travel, rapidly changing the truck’s center of gravity and potentially causing a truck driver to lose control. Unsecured cargo may also fall out of a truck, spilling onto the road and leading to accidents.
- The Truck’s Manufacturer/Third-Party Auto Part Manufacturers – Design or manufacturing defects in a truck or its parts, including brakes or tires, may cause a mechanical issue that leads to a truck accident. Manufacturers may bear responsibility for such accidents under product liability law.
- Third-Party Mechanics – Some trucking companies use third-party mechanics to service their fleets. A third-party mechanic may bear liability for a truck accident caused by a mechanical issue resulting from negligent maintenance or repairs.
Evidence That Could Support Your Truck Accident Liability Claim
Building a solid truck accident case often involves more evidence than other motor vehicle accident claims. State and federal regulations require trucking companies to keep records of their operations. These records may provide evidence proving the cause of a truck crash and who is at fault. Examples of evidence that our firm may use in your Tampa truck accident liability claim include the following:
- Truck driver hours-of-service logs
- Truck event data recorder (“black box”) logs
- Cargo/load manifests
- Pre-trip inspection reports
- Truck maintenance records
- Trucking company dispatch logs
- Truck driver cell phone records
- Post-accident vehicle inspections
- Truck driver drug/alcohol test results
- Accident scene photos and videos
- Surveillance/traffic camera footage
- Dashcam footage
- Eyewitness testimony
- Police accident reports
- Accident reconstruction expert reports and testimony
Types of Compensation Available for Truck Accidents in Tampa
After a truck accident, you may have the right to seek compensation for the financial or personal losses you incur due to the crash. Depending on the harm you have suffered, you could be compensated for the following:
- Medical treatment and rehabilitation expenses
- Costs of home health care or housekeeping services you may need if you suffer long-term or permanent disabilities
- Loss of wages/income from missed work or while on part-time/light-duty work while recovering from accident injuries
- Loss of future earning capacity and employment benefits if you develop a permanent disability that prevents you from returning to your job or being gainfully employed
- Physical pain and emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life due to disabilities, permanent scarring/disfigurement, or reduced life expectancy caused by your injuries
- Costs of vehicle repairs, including related expenses such as car rental fees or reimbursement for the value of your car if totaled in the accident
How the Florida Comparative Negligence Laws Could Affect Your Case
Florida’s comparative negligence laws could bar you from pursuing compensation or reduce the amount you can seek. Under Florida’s modified comparative negligence rule, an accident victim who is partly responsible for the crash can obtain compensation if their share of fault for the crash does not exceed that of the other liable party or parties. If an accident victim is more than 50 percent to blame for a truck crash, they will be barred from pursuing compensation.
Further, an accident victim’s compensation may be reduced according to their percentage of fault. For instance, if you suffer $100,000 in losses due to a truck accident but bear 20 percent of the fault, you could only receive up to $80,000.
Contact a Tampa truck accident attorney as soon as possible if you may bear some responsibility for a truck crash. A lawyer can help you understand your legal options and advocate for your right to pursue maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.
Time Limits for a Tampa Truck Crash Claim
Under Florida’s statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits, you typically have only two years from the accident date to file a truck crash claim in civil court. If you miss the two-year deadline, the court could dismiss your case regardless of its merits, and you may lose your right to seek compensation in civil court. Talk to a Tampa truck accident lawyer from Paul Knopf Bigger as soon as possible after a truck crash to determine when to file your truck accident lawsuit and ensure you file your claims on time.
Why You Should Hire a Tampa Truck Accident Attorney
Trucking companies and insurers have teams of investigators, adjusters, and lawyers to fight accident claims and avoid liability for truck accidents. You need an experienced Tampa truck accident attorney to take on large corporations and aggressively advocate for your rights. You should hire a Tampa truck accident attorney for the following reasons:
- A seasoned Tampa truck accident attorney will have experience investigating truck accidents and gathering crucial evidence to build solid cases
- A lawyer can work with experts in accident reconstruction, the trucking industry, engineering, medicine, and other areas to obtain testimony that supports your claims
- An attorney can help you pursue compensation for your past, current, and future expenses related to the truck accident
- A truck accident lawyer in Tampa can handle the details of preparing your case, file the necessary paperwork, and negotiate with insurance companies, trucking companies, and other parties on your behalf
Get the Help You Need from a Tampa Truck Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident in Tampa, you may have the right to seek financial relief from the parties liable for your injuries and other losses. An experienced Tampa truck accident lawyer from Paul Knopf Bigger can review the facts of your case, identify who is responsible for your injuries, and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today for a free no-obligation consultation with a Tampa truck accident attorney who is ready to fight for you.