Establishing Negligence on The Part of Semi-Truck Drivers
One of the fundamental principles involved in all personal injury cases is that in order to recover compensation, an injured party must be able to establish that his or her accident was the result of someone else’s negligence. Cases involving commercial truck accidents are no exception to this rule, and establishing negligence after a truck accident is often a legally complicated endeavor that requires the assistance of an experienced attorney.
According to statistics1 compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 95,000 people were injured in accidents involving large trucks during 2013. Many people injured in accidents like these are legally entitled to financial compensation. To determine whether you can file a legal claim, call the Dolman Law Group today at 727-451-6900.
What kinds of driver conduct could potentially constitute negligence?
Generally speaking, legal negligence occurs when a person fails to act with the degree of care that would be exercised by a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances. Consequently, the kinds of conduct that would constitute negligence changes depending on the context of the activity involved. For example, a homeowner may be deemed to be negligent if he or she invited friends over when the homeowner was aware of the fact that the steps leading up to the property were damaged and badly in need of repair. Some common examples of the kinds of truck driver conduct that could constitute negligence include the following:
* Impaired driving
* Failure to conduct a pre-trip inspection
* Improper lane usage
* Failure to account for adverse weather
* Hours-of-service violations
* Distracted driving2
* Failure to observe stop signs or stoplights
* Improper vehicle maintenance
* Improper cargo loading
* Improper cargo securement
* Failure to yield
* Dangerous passing
* Failure to signal turns
* Driving with serious health conditions
There are many other ways that a truck driver could be negligent, so anyone involved in an accident should have their case reviewed by an experienced attorney in order to determine whether they may be able to recover for their injuries.
The role of negligence per se in commercial truck accidents
The trucking industry is inherently dangerous. Commercial trucks often weigh 20 to 30 times3 as much as passenger vehicles and can travel upwards of 70 miles per hour on a regular basis. As a result, they are capable of causing tremendous damage when they are involved in accidents. In order to combat these risks, both the federal and state governments highly regulate almost every aspect of this industry, from minimum requirements for drivers to the reflective material that can be found on trucks.
Negligence per se is a legal doctrine that can hold a party automatically negligent if he or she violated a safety rule and that violation resulted in an injury. For instance, a trucker that is in violation of the Florida blood alcohol content (BAC) limit may be found automatically negligent, as could a trucker that was in violation certain safety rules found in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations4 or analogous state regulations. Even if a particular violation does not trigger negligence per se, it can still generally be used as evidence of ordinary negligence. Consequently, it is very important for people involved in trucking accidents to retain an attorney who is familiar with truck accident cases and is able to spot these violations when they occur. Additionally, people who are injured in truck accidents should keep in mind that any claim they may have is subject to Florida’s statute of limitations5 on tort actions, which means that there is a limited amount of time in which they can file a claim.
Contact a Clearwater truck accident lawyer today to retain legal representation
Individuals who have been injured in truck accidents should talk to an attorney as soon as possible. In many cases, truck accidents entitle injured parties to significant financial compensation. The kinds of losses for which victims can often be compensated can include medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and loss of enjoyment of life, among others. The experienced Clearwater truck accident attorney of the Dolman Law Group are committed to helping individuals injured by the negligence of others recover. People who believe that they may have a legal claim can call our Clearwater office at 727-451-6900 to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers. Individuals who would prefer to send us an email may do so through our online contact form available here.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756