The volume of big rigs on our highways seems to increase each year. Consequently, it is not surprising that hundreds of people are killed in truck accidents and hundreds of thousands more are seriously injured. Big rigs have an obvious advantage against smaller vehicles when it comes to size and weight, thus increasing the chances of a catastrophic crash when there is a collision between a passenger car and one of these massive vehicles. The experienced injury attorneys at Donaldson & Weston can help residents of Stuart and the surrounding communities pursue maximum damages from those responsible.Holding a Negligent Trucker Accountable for an Accident
Truck crashes can happen for a multitude of reasons, but some of the most common causes include improper loading or poorly secured loads, lack of maintenance, fatigue, inattention or distraction, the use of drugs or alcohol, and equipment failures, such as balding tires or bad brakes.
Regardless of the explanation for the crash, there are usually four steps to making out a prima facie case of negligence against the person or business whose carelessness caused the accident. First, there must be a showing that the trucker or the trucking company owed a duty of care to the person who was injured or killed. There also must be proof that this duty was breached. Third, there must have been a link of causation between the breached duty and the damages that the victim is seeking. And the injured person must show actual damages.
If all four elements of negligence are met, the question becomes the amount of money that it will take to compensate the victim or the victim’s family for their losses. This process can be complex, but some common factors that are considered are medical expenses (both past and future), lost wages and loss of future earning capacity, repairs to a vehicle, and the pain and suffering of the victim. In cases involving a tragic death, there may also be the possibility of damages for the loss of the victim’s services and support, as well as funeral costs, burial expenses, and lost net accumulations to the victim’s estate.
It is not uncommon for truckers or trucking companies to attempt to reduce the amount due to the injured person and his or her family by trying to shift the blame for the wreck onto the person who was hurt, assuming that he or she was driving the other vehicle involved in the crash. Through the doctrine of pure comparative fault, people involved in motor vehicle collisions in Florida may ask the jury to allocate fault to each party whose negligence contributed to an accident. The financial compensation that the injured person would have received but for his or her comparative negligence may be reduced in proportion to his or her level of fault. For example, if the jury finds a trucking company 80% at fault because it failed to obey federal laws pertaining to the maximum number of hours that a driver can be on the road, but it also finds the driver of the smaller vehicle to be 20% at fault because he or she was speeding, that person’s damages likely will be reduced by 20%.
While most negligence lawsuits pit the injured person directly against the driver of the other vehicle, many truck wreck cases also name the trucker’s employer as a defendant. Through the doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer may be liable for the negligence of an employee if the employee’s actions occurred during the course and scope of the employment relationship.Enlist an Attorney in Stuart to Seek Compensation for Your Injuries
If your family is suffering the consequences of a trucker or trucking company’s negligence, you should speak with an attorney about your rights. A lot may be at stake in truck accident lawsuits, and typically an insurance company has someone working on the trucker’s possible defenses almost from the minute the wreck happens. Our knowledgeable Stuart personal injury and wrongful death lawyers are ready to vigorously assert the rights of Port St. Lucie residents and others who have been harmed by the carelessness of commercial drivers. Call Donaldson & Weston at 772-266-5555 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. We represent accident victims throughout Martin and Palm Beach Counties, including in Stuart, West Palm Beach, and Jupiter.