When you're in an accident and it's not your fault, you deserve to be compensated for the injuries you've suffered. However, it's important to determine who is at fault. When it's just two cars, the problem can be fairly simple: which driver behaved irresponsibly? When you're in an accident with a truck or other commercial vehicle, however, the problem gets more complex. Learn how to determine liability in a truck accident, the damages you can collect and why you need a qualified truck accident attorney to help your case.
Truck Accidents by the Numbers
Even with better equipment, higher technology and more knowledge, truck accidents are on the rise across the nation, having increased by 20% over the past 20 years. Truck accidents only account for about 3% of accidents involving injuries, but the injuries they cause tend to be catastrophic in nature due to the size and mass of the vehicles involved.
The first thing you need to do when pursuing damages for a trucking accident is to determine who is responsible. While it's certainly possible (and even likely) that the driver is responsible on some level, there can be a range of other people involved in commercial liability as well.
These include the owner of the truck, if it's someone other than the driver; the trucking company that employs the driver; the shipping company that loaded the cargo; and even the manufacturer of parts that may have failed on the truck, contributing to the incident.
Trucking Companies and Liability
It's not uncommon for trucking companies to try to get out of blame for an accident caused by one of their drivers. They might claim that since they rent the truck to the driver, the driver is in fact solely responsible for what they do with the vehicle. They also might argue that the trucker is an independent contractor and not an employee, so they are liable for their own performance.
At first glance, this may seem to be a valid argument, but federal laws exist to keep companies responsible for those in their employ. Current federal laws hold trucking companies responsible for any accident that involves a truck carrying the company's name, regardless of the employment status of the driver.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Of course, these laws don't stop insurance companies from trying to pass the buck. Each will try to lay more blame on another than on their own client. In addition, each will have their own attorneys. This constant blame game and back-and-forth can drag truck accident cases on for years, and end up with you getting less than you deserve, unless you have someone in your corner who can cut through the tape and represent your rights.
Florida Truck Accident Attorneys
If you've been in a truck accident in Florida, call the experienced truck accident attorneys at Koberlein Law Offices. For years we've protected people in need of representation against trucking companies and their insurers, and we can protect you as well. Call our offices today and get a free consultation on your case.