What Is a Trucking Company’s Responsibility to Keep Their Trucks Safe?

Trucking companies also have a duty to keep their commercial vehicles safe at all times. When the trucking company fail in this regard, and a truck accident happens, both they and their negligent truck driver may be legally responsible.

Whenever a large truck hits a smaller passenger vehicle, it is almost always the driver and passengers in the smaller car who suffer the most severe injuries. In those circumstances, accident victims can file a claim under their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance policy (like in a no-fault jurisdiction like Florida) or file a third-party claim with the negligent trucking company or truck driver’s insurer, depending upon the circumstances.

One of the most important steps you can take following a truck accident is to retain a Tampa truck accident attorney who can thoroughly investigate your accident circumstances and determine your eligibility for filing a particular claim.

If you can move forward, your lawyer can help you file a claim with the appropriate insurance company and work to maximize the total monetary damages you recover.

Moreover, if you can file a third-party personal injury claim against a negligent trucking company or truck driver, your attorney can file the lawsuit on your behalf and, if necessary, represent you at all legal proceedings, such as a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing.

Finally, your truck accident attorney will be by your side every step of the way, aggressively advocating for you and helping you maximize your monetary damages. Your lawyer can also answer all of your questions and help you make intelligent and informed decisions throughout every stage of your truck accident claim or lawsuit.

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Truck Driver Negligence that Leads to Serious Accidents

While trucking company negligence may cause or contribute to an accident, many commercial truck accidents are the sole result of truck driver negligence. There are many ways that a truck driver might behave negligently under the circumstances.

Distracted Truck Driver

First, truck drivers may violate various traffic laws, such as failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles, speeding excessively, failing to use their mirrors when switching lanes, and failing to use their turn signals at the appropriate times.

Truck drivers may also violate state or federal motor carrier regulations, especially those that pertain to truck weight limits and loading/unloading cargo properly. Drivers who violate these laws and regulations significantly increase their chances of causing a truck accident.

Truck accidents may also happen when people drive while fatigued. Sometimes, trucking companies offer their drivers financial incentives to drive for long hours. For example, a trucking company may offer a driver a financial incentive if they deliver their cargo to its final destination before its scheduled arrival.

To drive for long hours, truck drivers may take stimulant drugs to stay awake for a significant amount of time. However, these drugs sometimes make drivers drowsy and may cause them to lose control of their vehicle after falling asleep at the wheel. Even if drivers do not fall asleep at the wheel, they may experience limited concentration and other symptoms that prevent them from driving safely.

Next, truck accidents can happen when drivers are distracted. For example, a truck driver might be programming their GPS or texting on a smartphone or watch instead of watching the road and driving carefully. Unfortunately, these distracting activities may cause a driver to lose focus and prevent them from driving safely.

Finally, some truck accidents happen when drivers come under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While the blood alcohol concentration limit for regular drivers is 0.08 percent, the legal limit for commercial truck drivers is far more stringent.

Therefore, if a truck driver causes an accident that leads to injuries, they may receive a DUI conviction and various criminal penalties. Moreover, they may have to pay civil damages through their insurance company if they cause an accident that leads to physical injuries for other drivers and passengers.

Drunk driving is extremely dangerous because it often causes truck drivers to lose their ability to concentrate and significantly delays their reaction time. As a result, an intoxicated truck driver may be unable to step on their brakes quickly enough to avoid hitting another vehicle or pedestrian.

If you suffered injuries in a truck accident resulting from a driver or company’s negligence, speak to legal counsel immediately about your potential legal options. Your lawyer can explore all of your options with you and help you select the best course of action for your truck accident claim or lawsuit. Your attorney can also execute your directives and pursue the full monetary damages you deserve to recover in your case.

Trucking Company Negligence that Causes Accidents

In addition to commercial truck drivers, trucking companies must ensure that all tractors and trailers are in proper working order, receive the necessary maintenance work at regular intervals, and that their lighting components work, including both overhead and undercarriage lighting.

Trucking companies also must comply with all state and federal motor carrier regulations regarding truck load limits, loading and unloading procedures, and securing cargo to the trailer bed properly.

Trucking companies also have a duty to ensure that their employee truck drivers comply with all CDL requirements and that they complete all continuing education requirements. Finally, trucking companies have a duty to supervise their drivers and refrain from hiring or retaining drivers with numerous moving violations or other serious infractions.

When a trucking company negligently and knowingly entrusts one of their vehicles to a problem driver or otherwise acts unreasonably under the circumstances, they may be fully or partially responsible for any truck accident that occurs.

Therefore, if you suffered injuries in a truck accident, you may be eligible to file a third-party claim or lawsuit against the negligent trucking company, depending upon the jurisdiction where your accident happened and the nature and extent of your truck accident injuries.

A knowledgeable truck accident attorney in your area can determine the type of claim you can file in your case and will help you gather the appropriate documents. Your attorney can then file a claim on your behalf and engage insurance company representatives in ongoing settlement negotiations.

Common Injuries in Commercial Truck Accidents

Victims of commercial truck accidents frequently suffer severe injuries that may affect them for the rest of their lives. The injuries that a truck accident victim suffers will usually depend upon the type of truck involved, the type of collision that occurs, the number of collisions that happen, the force of those collisions, and how their body moves inside their vehicle during a crash.

Sometimes, the energy of a truck collision is so significant that it causes the accident victim’s head to strike the steering wheel or headrest in their vehicle, bringing about a concussion or other traumatic head injury.

Other serious injuries that may occur in a truck accident include:

  • Soft tissue whiplash injuries
  • Rib fractures
  • Bone fractures
  • Internal organ damage
  • Bruises
  • Open lacerations
  • Complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries
  • Full or partial paralysis
  • Death

If you sustained one or more of these injuries in a truck accident that a negligent driver or company caused, you should follow through with your prescribed medical treatment regimen. Specifically, you may need to consult with a medical specialist, attend physical therapy appointments, or follow up with your primary care doctor.

Your attorney can begin assisting you with your case even while you complete your medical treatment and focus on getting better. For example, your lawyer can start gathering your medical treatment records and bills, police reports, and other pertinent documentation that may become necessary in your case.

Types of Accidents that Result from Truck Driver and Trucking Company Negligence

When truck drivers and trucking companies are negligent, serious accidents can occur, leaving drivers and passengers in other vehicles seriously injured.

Some of the most common types of truck accidents that result from others’ negligence include:

  • Rear-end or tailgate accidents, where the front of a large truck hits the back of another vehicle, usually because the truck driver is speeding too fast for the roadway or weather conditions
  • Truck jackknife accidents, where the tractor and trailer portions of a large truck fold inward on themselves, resembling a shape of a jackknife, and hitting other vehicles in their path
  • Head-on collisions, where the front of a commercial truck hits the front of an oncoming vehicle, usually causing permanent or fatal injuries
  • Rollover accidents, where a tractor or trailer rolls over in the middle of the road, usually because the driver is speeding around a sharp curve
  • Sideswipe accidents, where the side of a large commercial truck hits the side of another vehicle traveling in the same direction
  • Broadside or T-bone accidents, where a large truck hits the side of another vehicle at a right angle, sometimes causing the car on the receiving end to overturn or spin around rapidly

If you sustained injuries in one of these types of truck accidents that resulted from a trucking company or truck driver’s negligence, you are not alone. Your attorney can explore your legal options and file the appropriate claim to secure the monetary recovery you deserve.

Filing a Legal Claim after a Truck Accident

If you sustained injuries in a Florida truck accident, you can file a claim under your own PIP insurance policy. Under this coverage, you may be eligible to recover a portion of your medical expenses and lost income, up to a maximum of $10,000.

However, if you suffered a disabling or disfiguring injury in your truck accident, you can pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit with the at-fault truck driver or trucking company’s liability insurer. The same applies if you sustained injuries in a Washington State truck accident.

If you file a third-party claim with the responsible truck driver or trucking company’s insurer, you must establish your legal burden of proof to recover monetary compensation and damages. Specifically, you must show that the trucking company or truck driver behaved unreasonably under the circumstances and that caused the truck accident and your injuries.

A skilled truck accident attorney in your jurisdiction can satisfy your legal burden of proof by retaining various experts in your case, such as medical experts. For example, a medical expert can determine, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that one or more of your injuries is permanent. A medical provider can also connect your injury or injuries to your truck accident.

Truck Accident Monetary Damages

In a third-party claim or lawsuit arising from a truck collision, accident victims may be eligible to receive various types of monetary damages, either through a favorable settlement offer from the insurance company or via litigation.

Compensable damages in third-party claims and lawsuits include payment for:

  • Related past and future medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Inconvenience
  • Emotional anguish
  • Loss of spousal consortium
  • Permanent disfigurement or disability
  • Lifetime care costs
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of the ability to use a body part
  • Wrongful death

Your attorney can determine if you can file a third-party claim, given the facts and circumstances of your case and the jurisdiction where your accident happened. If you can move forward, your attorney can help you file your claim and pursue the maximum monetary compensation you deserve to recover.

Speak with an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in Your Jurisdiction Right Away

If you recently sustained injuries in an accident that a negligent truck driver or trucking company caused, speak with legal counsel immediately to review your legal options.

Tatiana Boohoff
Tatiana Boohoff, Truck Accident Lawyer in Tampa.

Accident victims only have a limited time to take legal action for the monetary recovery they deserve, under the statute of limitations. If you file a claim or lawsuit after the statute of limitations in your case has expired, the courts will prevent you from recovering any monetary compensation for your injuries. To safeguard your legal rights, act right away.

Your truck accident attorney can meet with you to discuss your accident right away and help you develop a plan of action to move your case forward successfully. Your attorney can also file the appropriate claim, negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf, and reach a favorable and fair case resolution for you.

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Boohoff Law P.A. – Tampa Office

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Tampa, FL 33603

Phone: 813-725-5606

August 16, 2023
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