Can I Still Recover If I Am Partially at Fault for a Truck Accident?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates1 that there were 104,000 people injured in accidents involving large trucks during 2012. While in some cases it is clear who caused an accident, many accidents are complicated events that occurred for a number of reasons. Under general the principles of personal injury law, the party who is deemed legally at fault for an accident can be required to compensate the injured party or parties for their injuries and other associated losses. In some cases, however, there may be multiple parties who are at fault, making the issue of compensation significantly more complicated.
Many people who are involved in truck accidents may have been partially at fault for causing their accident. For example, a person may have been speeding when a truck changed unexpectedly changed lanes, or perhaps had a headlight out when a truck made a turn without paying attention. Fortunately for people who are injured in these types of accidents, Florida law may still allow them to recover. To determine whether you have a legal claim after a motor vehicle accident, please call one of the experienced Clearwater truck accident lawyers of the Dolman Law Group today at (727) 451-6900.
Florida Comparative Negligence and Truck Accident Cases
Until relatively recently, most states followed a legal doctrine known as “contributory negligence,” which barred a negligent plaintiff from recovering if his or her negligence contributed in any way to his or her injury. This meant that if an injured party’s negligence even slightly contributed to an accident that party could not recover any compensation for his or her losses. Florida started to move away from this legal doctrine in 19732 when the Florida Supreme Court decided Hoffman v. Jones, in which it adopted a doctrine known as “comparative negligence.”
Comparative negligence allows negligent plaintiffs to recover for their losses but reduces their recovery in proportion to their degree of fault. For instance, an injured person who is deemed to be 10 percent at fault would have their total award reduced by 10 percent – so they would receive $90,000 of a $100,000 award.
This means that people who are partially at fault for a truck accident can often still recover for their losses. Importantly, these cases are often highly contested, and it apportioning fault among the various parties involved often requires a significant amount of legal negotiation or the presentation of evidence. As a result, anyone who is involved in a truck accident should retain an attorney with experience handling truck accident cases in which fault is contested. There are many types of evidence that may be relevant to establishing fault in a Clearwater truck accident case. Some of the most common include:
– Accident reconstruction expert testimony
– Vehicle computer data
– Vehicle maintenance records
– Eyewitness accounts
– Police reports
– Driver log book
Obtaining this type and presenting these kinds of evidence can be difficult, so it is highly advisable to retain an attorney to help you present your case in the best light possible.
Contact one of our Clearwater truck accident lawyers today to discuss your case
People who are involved in accidents with semi-trucks or other commercial vehicles are often legally entitled to significant compensation, even if they partially contributed to causing the accident. Trucking company insurers train their employees to minimize their level of legal liability, and adjusters may even use deceptive practices in order to induce an unrepresented party in unwittingly admitting fault. For this and several other reasons, anyone who has been involved in an accident with a commercial truck should retain qualified and experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. Since 2009, the Clearwater truck accident attorneys of the Dolman Law Group have been working to help people injured by the negligence of other recover for their losses and work tirelessly to help victims move on with their lives after a traumatic accident. To discuss your case with one of our attorneys at no cost or obligation to you, call our office today at 727-451-6900.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756