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Truck Accident in Fort Lauderdale? Who’s Liable for Damages?

— July 1, 2022

Blown tires are another major cause of truck accidents.

Fort Lauderdale, FL – When you’re involved in a truck accident, your first instinct is to blame the trucker. After all, this is how it goes in a crash between regular cars – the other driver must be to blame. However, in a truck accident, things are more complicated. The trucker may, indeed, be guilty, but he may also be totally innocent and the real culprit may be in his office hundreds of miles away. 

This is what makes truck accidents so challenging – the real cause of the crash may be completely different than what it appears at first sight. You’ll probably need help from knowledgeable Florida truck accident lawyers to determine the cause of the crash and who is liable for your damages. 

Here are the most common situations.

When is the trucker liable for damages?

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents in the US. Under the FMCSA’s regulations, truckers are prohibited from holding a mobile device to make a call or from dialing by pressing more than a single button. Nor can they use their cell phones for texting or entertainment purposes. If you believe the trucker may have been on his phone, your lawyers may need to subpoena documents from their mobile carrier to prove negligence.

Likewise, if the trucker was speeding or driving recklessly, he will be entirely liable for your financial losses. 

When can you sue a trucking company for a crash?

If there was any mechanical failure, you may have a case against the trucking company. For instance, if there was a brake failure, the trucking company can be considered negligent if they failed to inspect the vehicle and provide adequate maintenance. The first thing your lawyers will do is to request all documents concerning vehicle maintenance schedules and they’ll check what types of repairs were carried out. 

Blown tires are another major cause of truck accidents. If the trucker had complained the tires needed changing, but the company refused, arguing they’ll hold for a few more trips, they will be liable for damages. They’ll end up paying more than the costs to replace worn tires.

Trucks in mechanics bays for service; image by Carlos Daniel, via
Trucks in mechanics bays for service; image by Carlos Daniel, via

What happens if a fatigued driver causes a truck accident?

Commercial drivers must comply with FMCSA Hours of Service regulations. They’re not allowed to drive for more than 11 hours in one shift or a total of 60 hours in 7 days. Your attorneys will request the data in the driver’s log to check out his schedule for the previous week. The question is to establish who’s to blame for any HoS violation they discover. Was it all the trucker’s doing or was the employer somehow to blame?

Trucking companies sometimes impose unrealistic schedules and the trucker has no option but to forgo rest to get to the destination on time. Or it may the employer who actively encouraged him to do so, in which case the company will be liable for damages.

Who’s to blame if an intoxicated trucker causes a truck accident?

There’s a good reason why the blood alcohol limit for commercial drivers is .04%, half of that for the general population. Also, they’re not allowed to have any alcohol 4 hours before going on duty. The slightest impairment can lead to a tragedy.

If the trucker was irresponsible enough to get drunk before going on the road, he will be liable for damages. In a DUI accident, you can also seek punitive damages, not just compensatory damages.

On the other hand, the trucking company must test all its drivers regularly, for both drugs and alcohol. If they failed to do so, they can be accused of negligence. In such a situation, you can sue both the driver and his employer. 

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