The Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Florida and How to Avoid Them
A victim’s passenger car is no match for an oncoming semi-truck. Accidents involving such trucks can often result in serious injury or even a wrongful death. There are several common causes of such accidents and understanding the liability for each is important to protecting your rights after an accident. We will be using this article, therefore, to discuss some of the common causes of Florida truck accidents and how they may be handled in a personal injury lawsuit. If you or a family member has been injured, contact us today to speak with a Florida truck accident attorney.
There are many types of conduct that can lead to a trucking accident. Each type of conduct, however, can generally be placed in one of three categories. These categories include:
- Negligent hiring and supervision
- Intentional conduct
We will discuss each of these in turn.
Florida Truck Accidents May Be Caused by Negligence of the Driver or Another Entity
Many Florida truck accidents are caused by some form of negligence by either the truck’s driver or some other entity. This negligence can come in several forms. If any such conduct causes an accident, then the driver’s employer will be vicariously liable for a victim’s damages.
The driver of any vehicle has a duty to pay attention to the road and to not operate a vehicle while distracted. This applies to the driver of a semi truck as well. Examples of instances where a truck accident is caused by a trucker’s distracted driving include looking at the radio or other equipment instead of the road, texting or talking on the phone while driving, etc. Also, it is not uncommon for married couples to operate a semi truck as a team. If the couple is paying more attention to each other, whether due to conversation or argument, than they are to the road then such conduct would be considered distracted driving.
Operating a Truck While Fatigued
Truckers spend long stretches of time behind the wheel of a big rig. They have a duty to ensure that they are not operating the truck while drowsy, sleep deprived, or hung over from the night before. If a driver is aware that they are not in a physical state which allows them to operate a truck, then they should not do so.
Overloading a Truck’s Trailer
If a semi-truck’s trailer is overloaded with cargo then it can make the vehicle unsafe to operate. If an overloaded trailer is the cause of a truck going out of control, and injuring a victim, then liability may extend to those who loaded the truck, in addition to the driver (who likely has a responsibility to monitor their load) and their employer.
Improperly Maintaining Equipment
The owner and driver of any vehicle has an obligation to ensure that such a vehicle is safe to be on the road. This is also true for the owners and drivers of semi-trucks. Operating the vehicle with worn tires or improperly functioning signaling equipment are just two situations which can lead to an accident.
The Negligent Hiring and Supervision of Truck Drivers Can Lead to Accidents in Florida and Elsewhere
As mentioned above, the employer of a truck driver can be held vicariously liable for any negligent acts which the driver commits. In other words, an employer is just as liable for an employee’s negligence as is the employee. Employers may face additional liability, however, for failing to properly screen and supervise their employees (the drivers).
When a trucking company hires a driver then they have a responsibility to ensure that the individual will not present some type of threat to the public. Properly screening a potential employee can involve drug-testing the individual and conducting a full background check. If a company fails to do so then they may be found liable for negligence stemming from their failure to screen an employee. This is in addition to the vicarious liability the company will face due to the driver’s negligent actions.
Negligent Training or Supervision
Employers have a responsibility to properly train and supervise their employees after they are hired. If a failure to properly train or otherwise supervise the employee leads to an accident, then the employer may be held liable. Common examples of a failure to train or supervise an employed truck driver can include not informing them of company expectations regarding rest periods, not monitoring the number of hours which they are spending on the road each day, not conducting regular drug screenings, failing to follow up on reports received that the driver is operating the vehicle in an erratic manner, etc.
Florida Trucking Accidents are Sometimes Caused by a Driver’s Intentional Actions
There are instances where a truck driver’s intentional actions may be the cause of an accident. While less common than negligence or negligent hiring and supervision, these types of incidents do occur. Common examples of intentional acts which lead to a wreck can include reckless driving on the part of the truck operator. The operator may drive well in excess of the speed limit, on purpose out of an effort to meet a deadline. Other forms of intentional conduct can include road rage on the part of a frustrated driver. An employer will typically be held liable for the intentional acts of an employee, as long as those acts were committed within the normal course of employment. This means, therefore, that if a truck driver commits one of the intentional acts just discussed then the employer will most likely share in their liability.
Contact a Florida Truck Accident Attorney if You Have Been in an Accident
If you or a loved one have been involved in a wreck then it is important that you take immediate steps to protect your rights. One of the first steps to take is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. We are able to assist with such matters and we take pride in the level of service which we offer our clients. Contact us online or by telephone at 800-780-8607 to speak with a Florida truck accident attorney.