Simply put, a “blind spot” is any area around a vehicle in which the driver’s view is obstructed. All vehicles, including big rigs, semis, 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, and other commercial vehicles, have blind spots of varying degrees. Because of the potential for serious accidents, it is very important that truck drivers and trucking companies do all that they can to protect motorists from the terrible consequences of collisions caused by blind spots. If you or a person close to you has been struck by a careless trucker, the Stuart truck accident lawyers at Donaldson & Weston can explore the details of your situation and vigorously advocate for your rights.Holding Truckers and Trucking Companies Accountable for Negligence
The insurance companies that represent truck drivers and their employers often try to put the blame for a crash on the injured person. Just because the trucker did not see you, however, does not mean that the accident was your fault. Truckers are professional drivers who go through a considerable amount of training and are required to obtain special licensing from the government before they can operate a big rig. They typically spend thousands of hours per year behind the wheel, so they should be well aware that their vehicles have large blind spots and that precautions must be taken in order to avoid crashes with the motorists with whom they share the road. The existence of blind spots does not excuse truckers or trucking companies from liability for accidents.
The important question is whether the trucker was negligent in his or her operation of the vehicle. To answer this question, a four-part inquiry is required. The trucker must have owed a duty of care to the victim and breached it by failing to take the blind spot into account. After the elements of duty and breach, the plaintiff must establish the elements of causation and damages. These require showing that the accident likely would not have occurred if the truck driver had accounted for the blind spot and otherwise used reasonable care, and that the plaintiff incurred quantifiable costs and losses.
Some of the elements of damages that may be taken into consideration in determining the compensation award for a successful plaintiff include:
- Past medical expenses, such as doctor fees, hospital bills, and prescription costs;
- Future medical care that is reasonably anticipated and necessary, given the victim’s injuries in the accident;
- Pain and suffering, a form of non-economic damages that can be relatively subjective;
- Lost wages caused by missed time from work;
- Loss of future earning capacity resulting from a disability; and
- Property damage consisting of repairs to the victim’s vehicle or replacement costs.
In some situations, the defendant will seek to avoid paying all of the damages proven by the plaintiff on the basis that the plaintiff was partially at fault for the accident. Under Florida’s pure comparative fault doctrine, the defendant must pay the percentage of damages that is proportionate to the degree of fault assigned to the defendant. If the jury determines that the plaintiff was 30% at fault, for example, he or she may be able to recover 70% of the total damages from the defendant.Protect Your Rights by Contacting a Truck Accident Lawyer in the Stuart Area
If you are struggling physically, emotionally, and financially because of someone else’s careless conduct behind the wheel, you should try to hold the responsible party liable for your damages. To schedule an appointment with the Stuart truck accident attorneys at Donaldson & Weston, call us at either (772) 266-5555 or (561) 299-3999, or complete our online form to set up a free consultation. We help injured people throughout St. Lucie, Palm Beach, and Martin Counties, including in Port St. Lucie, West Palm Beach, and Jupiter. There is no fee unless our motor vehicle collision attorneys can recover compensation on your behalf.