Who Is Liable for a Fatal Truck Accident in Florida?

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July 6, 2023

Truck Accidents

When a truck driver is to blame for a fatal accident, your family has legal rights to full compensation for what you lost. Money cannot bring your loved one back, but it can compensate your family and help you get justice. The lawyers at Maderal Byrne & Furst PLLC take on powerful companies every day, working to hold people accountable. Contact us today to begin the legal process if your loved one died in a tragic truck accident.

Causes of Deadly Truck Accidents

Serious injuries are much more likely when a vehicle that weighs up to 80,000 pounds collides with a passenger vehicle that is a fraction of its size. Truck accident crashes have a much higher fatality rate than car crashes. In 2021, over 4,700 people died in accidents involving large trucks, which is nearly double the fatality rate from 2009.

All it takes is a moment’s miscalculation or a minor issue with the truck itself to cause a serious accident. Frequent fatal truck accident causes include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Improper maintenance
  • Fatigued truck drivers
  • Drunk driving
  • Inexperienced truck drivers
  • Illegal lane changes
  • Insecure or overloaded cargo

Contributing Factors in Truck Accidents

Truck drivers are under a lot of pressure. They must make deliveries on time, even when they are not in control of what happens on the road. Their employees are also being pushed by their customers and, if they are a public company, by their shareholders.

Trucking companies try to get their trucks on the road, and they never want to take a truck out of service. As a result, they may cut corners in any way that they can to keep the vehicles running and making deliveries on time.

The truck drivers themselves may not be as experienced or trained as they should be. There has been a large shortage of drivers for the past decade, and it is getting worse. Experienced drivers are retiring, and they are being replaced by newer drivers. Trucking companies often do not want to pay a fair wage, so they will hire even more inexperienced drivers. These days, trucking companies can hire drivers as young as 18.

The combination of the trucking company’s overriding pursuit of profits and stressed and possibly inexperienced drivers leads to more serious truck accidents in Florida.

Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident in Florida?

Liability in a truck accident case is premised on negligence. You must have evidence that the truck driver acted unreasonably under the circumstances.

Your Florida truck accident lawyer can assemble the proof after an in-depth investigation of the accident and through the discovery process when you have filed a lawsuit.

In a truck accident case, you are usually suing the trucking company. Principles of agency law dictate that the employer is the one who is responsible for the negligent acts of their employee. The truck driver and the trucking company are considered the same when you file a lawsuit. This rule applies to anything that the truck driver did within the scope of their employment.

So long as the truck driver was on the job at the time of the crash, the trucking company pays for what they did.

If the truck driver was an independent contractor, you would need to sue the truck driver individually. They will usually carry at least $1 million in liability coverage. There is a chance that you could still sue the company that hired them if you can prove the following:

  • The truck driver was misclassified as an independent contractor and was really an employee
  • The company negligently hired or retained the independent contractor, which may apply if the driver had a poor safety record and was still driving for the company

There may be other parties who are liable in a truck accident, including:

  • A third-party maintenance company hired to work on the trucks
  • A third-party cargo loader that carelessly packed the freight
  • A manufacturer of the truck or a part in a product liability case when the accident was caused by a defect

Your Family Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Under Florida Law

You have the legal right to hold everyone involved in your loved one’s truck accident death responsible for what happened.

Under Florida law, your family can file a wrongful death case to seek the compensation that you are due when your loved one died because of someone else’s carelessness or recklessness. Trucking companies often put profits over safety, and our lawyers can work to make these businesses face the consequences of their actions.

A wrongful death claim could pay your family for the following:

  • The wages that your loved one would have earned had they lived and continued working
  • The loss of the support, love, and guidance that you received from your family member
  • The grief that you experienced when you tragically lost a loved one

A court could also award families punitive damages if the truck company or their driver’s conduct was particularly egregious. For example, a jury may punish a trucking company if they have a long history of safety violations. Florida law allows juries to assess punitive damages of up to three times your compensatory damages.

Given the severity of your loss and the fact that the trucking company has the insurance coverage and assets to cover your damages, truck accident cases have a lot at stake.

At Maderal Byrne & Furst, our lawyers are not at all afraid of the big cases. We go after trucking companies to the fullest extent of our abilities to get your family what they deserve. From the beginning of the case until the end, we are always fighting for you at every step.

Contact a Florida Truck Accident Attorney to Begin a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The attorneys at Maderal Byrne & Furst have significant experience handling truck accident wrongful death claims. Truck accident lawsuits are major litigation cases, and we are more than up to the task.

The first step is to contact us for your free initial consultation. Call us today at (305) 520-5690 or fill out an online contact form to speak with a lawyer.

Get In Touch

(305) 520-5690

Get in touch with Maderal Byrne & Furst PLLC by calling or using the form below:

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Get In Touch

(305) 520-5690

Get in touch with Maderal Byrne & Furst PLLC by calling or using the form below:

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.