Getting hit by a commercial vehicle can be a life-altering experience. Not only can the financial costs be overwhelming, but your pain and suffering and the other non-financial effects of the accident can impact all aspects of your daily life.
As a result, after a pedestrian accident involving a commercial vehicle, it is important to know who you can sue.
So, who can you sue? The answer to this question depends on the circumstances of your accident. Generally, companies in Florida can be held liable for their employees’ negligence. This means that if the driver who hit you was being negligent (i.e., speeding or driving while distracted), then you can most likely sue his or her employer. But, there are other possibilities as well—and making sure you sue the right company (or companies) is critical for recovering the financial compensation you deserve.
Who Can (and Should) You Sue After a Pedestrian Accident Involving a Commercial Vehicle?
Depending on the circumstances involved, it may be possible to sue one or more of the following parties after a pedestrian accident involving a commercial vehicle in Florida:
The Company That Owns the Commercial Vehicle
In most cases, the first option is to sue the company that owns the commercial vehicle. If the driver is responsible for hitting you, then his or her employer should be liable.
Companies that own commercial vehicles can be held liable for pedestrian accidents on other grounds as well. For example, if the vehicle was overloaded, or if its brakes or tires failed due to neglected maintenance, these could also provide clear grounds for you to seek just compensation.
The Company that Manufactured the Commercial Vehicle
While driver negligence is the most common cause of pedestrian accidents by far, vehicle-related issues can also be to blame in some cases. When an issue exists from the time a vehicle leaves the factory, the manufacturer can be held liable in the event that the issue leads to an accident. Unlike lawsuits based on driver error, lawsuits based on vehicle defects do not require proof of negligence. Instead, vehicle manufacturers can be held liable simply as a result of putting a dangerous vehicle on the road.
The Manufacturer of One of the Commercial Vehicle’s Components
Many commercial vehicles are equipped with components that were manufactured by different companies. Tires are the most common example, but brakes, commercial truck beds, and even engines can come from other manufacturers as well. If the driver of the commercial vehicle that hit you lost control because of a component failure, then you may have a claim against the component’s manufacturer.
A Shop or Mobile Maintenance Provider that Worked on the Commercial Vehicle
Along with vehicle defects, negligent maintenance work can also cause commercial vehicle drivers to suddenly and unexpectedly lose control. Faulty brake jobs, failure to properly mount and balance new tires, and numerous other maintenance-related issues can—and frequently do—lead to dangerous situations on the road. If it appears that a vehicle-related issue is to blame for your pedestrian accident, your lawyer will conduct an in-depth investigation to determine whether a defect or faulty maintenance work is to blame.
The Government Agency Responsible for the Road Where the Accident Happened
Road-related issues can also be to blame (or at least partially to blame) for pedestrian accidents involving commercial vehicles in some cases. This includes issues such as cracks and potholes, trees and foliage obstructing drivers’ vision, and poorly-timed crossing signals—among many others. If an issue with the road played a role in your pedestrian accident, then recovering your losses may involve suing the government agency that is responsible for the road where the accident happened.
Another Driver Involved in the Accident
Even if you got hit by a commercial vehicle, another driver could still be responsible for your injuries. This could be the case, for example, if a distracted or reckless driver cut off the commercial vehicle and forced its driver to swerve off of the road. While the commercial driver may have still owed a duty to avoid hitting you, in this scenario you may need to sue both drivers (or their employers or insurance companies) to recover all of your financial and non-financial losses from the accident.
How Do You Know Who to Sue?
When you need to recover your losses from a pedestrian accident involving a commercial vehicle, knowing who you might be able to sue isn’t enough. To file a lawsuit, you need to know the specific party (or parties) that are liable for your injuries.
So, how do you figure out the specific party (or parties) you need to sue? Figuring this out requires a thorough investigation. When you hire a lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will work quickly to collect all available evidence of liability. Depending on the circumstances, this may include evidence such as:
- Eyewitness testimony
- Traffic or surveillance camera footage
- Telematics (or “black box”) data from the commercial vehicle
- The company’s employment and vehicle maintenance records
- Forensic evidence from the crash site
- Forensic evidence from an inspection of the commercial vehicle
- The driver’s phone records, social media posts and any other evidence that may be available
While you have two years to file a pedestrian accident lawsuit in most cases, there are exceptions (including exceptions for lawsuits against government agencies). Additionally, the longer you wait, the more difficult it will become to collect all of the evidence you need. As a result, if you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident involving a commercial vehicle, it is important that you speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Discuss Your Case with a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer at Searcy Denney
Do you need to know more about filing a lawsuit for a pedestrian accident involving a commercial vehicle in Florida? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly. To discuss your case with a lawyer at Searcy Denney for free, call 800-780-8607 or tell us how we can reach you online now.