Tampa, FL – The City of Tampa is the economic hub of west central Florida. While many people see Tampa mainly as a tourist attraction, much of the city’s economy relies on its port, which is the largest in the Sunshine State. The port of Tampa is one of the main employers in the area, but, unfortunately, for the residents, this means a lot of traffic and a high number of truck accidents. When they’re involved in a truck accident, many victims wonder how they can recover their often considerable financial damages. Who can you sue for a truck accident?
Only seasoned Tampa truck accident lawyers are qualified to answer such a question as the answer will depend on the specifics of your case. However, in this article we break down the legal options you have to recover your financial losses.
When is the trucker liable for damages?
A trucker can be held accountable for your losses if he can be charged with reckless driving, such as speeding or making a risky maneuver. If the guy wasted too much time on the way, he may try to make up for it by hitting the pedal. You have every right to sue the trucker. However, the best course of action is to let experienced Florida truck accident lawyers have an in-depth look at what happened.
The reason is very simple. Most truckers carry only minimum liability coverage and it may not be enough to cover your medical bills, let alone your lost wages or your pain and suffering. Trucking companies, on the other hand, carry a minimum of $750,000 in liability coverage and up to $5 million if they transport hazardous material.
When can you sue the trucking company?
A trucking company is responsible for the maintenance of its fleet, as well as for its employees, who must be properly trained and tested for drugs and alcohol.
Quick example – let’s say the police report states that the accident happened because the trucker did not hit the brakes on time. Maybe he was distracted and didn’t notice your car, in which case he deserves to pay. Your truck accident lawyers will want to have a second look at it and examine the truck. What if the trucker tried to brake, as he claimed, but the brake system failed? Your lawyers will have a look at the company’s maintenance records to see when the vehicle was last serviced and what repairs were carried on if any.
If it turns out the employer did not replace a faulty brake system, the trucker is off the hook. The trucking company will be responsible for your damages.
The same applies if the truck had a blown tire or there was a problem with the steering wheel.
Clearly, it was not the employer who told the trucker to have 3 beers on an empty stomach. However, under FMCSA regulations, trucking companies are required to subject their employees to random drug and alcohol tests. Failure to do so constitutes negligence and the employer will be held accountable.
Can a shipping company be held accountable for a truck accident?
Knowledgeable lawyers always check out what type of cargo was the truck carrying and how it was secured. If a truck is overloaded or the cargo is not properly secured and balanced, this can lead to nasty accidents, especially if the trucker is trying to take a tight turn. A sudden shift in the cargo area can make the trucker lose control of the vehicle. Responsibility in such a case lies with the shipping company, the cargo owner, or anyone who was responsible for loading the vehicle.
Tip: Since you’ll be dealing with lawyers and insurance companies for the next few months, now would be a good time to educate yourself on legal matters.