The Risks When Truck Drivers Violate Traffic Laws
The State of Florida and the City of Clearwater have many highways that truckers and tractor trailer drivers use on a daily basis. Unfortunately, Florida big rig and tractor-trailer drivers have a tendency to drive like they’re the ‘kings of the road.’ When truckers and tractor-trailer drivers choose to drive in this manner and violate Florida traffic laws and safety rules of the road, serious motor vehicle accidents and devastating consequences can result.1
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a truck, tractor-trailer, or big rig, you may be entitled to monetary compensation under the law. Our experienced Clearwater, Florida trucking accident lawyers have the legal knowledge and expertise to investigate your claim fully, negotiate with the insurance company, and/or litigate a case on your behalf.
Causes of Clearwater Trucking Accidents
Big rigs and tractor-trailers are very large and heavy vehicles, and when their drivers ignore or violate Florida traffic laws and rules of the road,2 serious motor vehicle accidents can result. Not only are truck drivers potentially to blame for these accidents, but the trucking companies for whom they work may also share in the responsibility.
Individual truckers and their trucking companies reap financial benefits when the truckers are able to log more hours on a given trip. When truckers drive for long periods of time and arrive at their destinations sooner, they oftentimes receive large cash bonuses and the trucking company’s revenue increases. Unfortunately, however, this does not come without a cost.
In order for truckers to log more hours on a given trip, they must typically drive for longer periods, oftentimes without sleep. They may also resort to drugs in order to help them stay awake on the road. Some of the most common causes of Clearwater, Florida trucking accidents include the following:
- Reckless, careless, or distracted driving
- Cellular phone use or texting while driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Disobeying traffic control devices (including running red lights, stop signs or yield signs)
- Failing to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle
- Cutting curves too sharply
- Fatigued driving
- Driving too fast for road conditions (e.g., snow, rain, ice)
Consequences of Careless, Negligent, and Distracted Driving in Clearwater Trucking Accident Cases
When truckers engage in careless, negligent, or distracted driving, serious accidents with other motor vehicles usually result. Some of the risks associated with careless, negligent, and distracted driving by truckers include the following:
- Multi-vehicle, chain reaction vehicle collisions (i.e. when a trucker rear-ends a vehicle, which in turn rear-ends another vehicle, and so on)
- Tractors, trailers, or both overturning in the middle of the roadway, causing a subsequent accident or accidents and/or a massive pile-up
- Chemical or hazardous waste spills in the roadway, resulting in explosions or subsequent collisions or accidents
- Trailer cargo dislodging from the trailer and onto the roadway, causing an accident or series of accidents
Theories of Liability in Clearwater Trucking Accident Cases
Not only can individual truckers be held responsible for motor vehicle accidents, but the trucking companies they work for may also be held liable for injuries and damages resulting from the accident.
In order for an injured motor vehicle driver to prove negligence against a trucker, the driver must demonstrate that the trucker failed to act as a reasonably prudent trucker would have acted (or driven) under the same or similar circumstances. This usually means that the truck driver must have violated some traffic law or Florida rule of the road, such as speeding, driving too fast for the road/weather conditions, or engaging in distracted driving.
In addition to proving that the trucker breached the applicable duty of care, the injured motor vehicle driver must also prove that this breach proximately resulted in injuries, damages, and harm.
Besides suing the truck driver, the injured motor vehicle driver may also have a legal cause of action against the trucking company on a theory of vicarious liability or agency liability. The theory is that if the trucker was driving negligently and with the express or implied permission of the trucking company (e.g., as part of an employment or agency relationship), then the trucking company can also be held accountable for the motor vehicle driver’s injuries and damages.
A trucking company could also be held liable under one of the following legal theories of recovery:
- Negligent entrustment of the truck to the truck driver
- Negligent supervision of the truck driver
- Negligent hiring or retention of the truck driver
An injured Clearwater motor vehicle driver may able to recover some or all of the following types of economic and non-economic damages from a negligent truck driver and/or from the trucking company:
Payment of all related medical bills, including bills for hospital stays, medical treatment, physical therapy, and future medical procedures or surgeries
- Compensation for lost wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental Anguish and emotional distress
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship or spousal support
Contact an Experienced Clearwater Trucking Accident Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
Truck accidents can result in serious injuries. Our experienced Clearwater, Florida truck accident attorneys will be able to discuss all of the facts and circumstances of your individual case with you and can help you to obtain monetary compensation for the injuries and damages that you sustained in your accident.
Under Florida law, Clearwater truck drivers and trucking companies are required to maintain insurance coverage with an insurance company. Therefore, in a personal injury lawsuit, the insurance company – and not the individual defendant or corporation – holds the purse strings and calls the shots when it comes to settling an accident case.
As a whole, insurance companies are not at all interested in fully or fairly compensating motor vehicle accident plaintiffs for the injuries and damages they sustained as a result of someone else’s negligence. Our experienced Clearwater trucking accident lawyers can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. If no settlement is reached, our experienced attorneys are ready and willing to litigate your case – or take it to trial, if necessary.
You can contact the experienced Clearwater trucking accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group today by calling 727-451-6900, or contact us online.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756