Fort Lauderdale Truck Accidents Attorney
Accidents involving commercial trucks on I-95 and throughout south Florida are different in scale than run-of-the-mill auto accidents – and not simply because trucks are larger and capable of inflicting greater damage. The difference lies in who you may sue. In a negligence action brought against a truck driver, liability may also be assigned to the owner of the truck as well as to the owner of the load being transported.
Careless Driving May Be a Result of Driver Negligence
To demonstrate negligence, the injured plaintiff must prove that the driver, truck owner and/or load owner owed him a duty of reasonable care, that they failed to exercise reasonable care, and that this failure caused his injuries. The first prong is simple: All drivers on the road owe one another a duty to drive safely and to use reasonable precautions to avoid accidents. Similarly, the owners have a duty to ensure that their vehicles, containers and drivers comply with safety standards.
Failing to exercise reasonable care on the road is a sign of negligence. Florida law describes “careless driving” as driving without regard for “the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic and all other attendant circumstances” and thus endangering “the life, limb, or property of any person.” Examples of careless driving include:
- Driving while intoxicated;
- Driving distracted;
- Falling asleep when driving (which is a particular problem for commercial truck drivers who often travel long distances);
- Disobeying traffic signs or signals;
- Turning or changing lanes without using a signal;
- Failing to maintain a safe distance;
- Changing lanes without checking your blind spot; and
- Not taking hazardous weather or traffic conditions into account.
An owner might also be found negligent if he fails to comply with state or federal regulations. For example, Florida law lists weight, safety and load requirements for trucks operating in the state (e.g., the state caps the total weight of the truck and its load at 80,000 pounds), and federal law limits commercial truck drivers to 11-hour driving days and 14-hour workdays. If a truck surpasses its weight requirement or if a driver exceeds his driving limit, and if that truck/driver is subsequently involved in an accident, those statutory violations will likely indicate negligence.
Florida adheres to the doctrine of comparative fault, which means that the court will apportion liability based on each party’s percentage of fault and will award damages accordingly. With a truck accident, this means that blame could be assigned to the truck driver, any other drivers involved in the accident, the owners or any combination thereof. It depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident.
We Can Help
Scott Newmark is an experienced, results-driven truck accident attorney that takes a personal interest in his clients and their cases. Contact him today if you have been injured in a truck accident. He is here to help you. Call 954-850-4977 or contact online for a free consultation.