Proving Commercial Vehicles Are at Fault for Accidents
Trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles may be big and potentially dangerous, but surprisingly, accidents that involved them in Citrus and Lake counties in 2017 actually resulted in fewer injuries and fatalities than crashes of automobiles alone.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle’s 2017 Annual Report on Traffic Crashes, there were 77 injuries per 100 crashes in Lake County overall but only 37 injuries per 100 involving commercial vehicles. In Citrus County, the results were similar: 78 injuries per 100 accidents in all but only 30 injuries per 100 commercial vehicle accidents.
So why were accidents involving commercial motor vehicles less injurious on average than other crashes? One explanation is that in a collision between two automobiles, the occupants of both are about equally at risk, while the larger sizes of commercial vehicles serve to protect their occupants. The greater experience of professional drivers might also play a factor in reducing casualties.
The fact that recent injuries were less likely in commercial vehicle accidents is cold comfort when you or a loved one is a victim of one. Seeking compensation from all responsible parties in such cases requires applying special skill and experience. A careful investigation by a qualified attorney will help establish the cause of the accident and the party or parties at fault.
Among the factors to be considered is whether the commercial driver was speeding or driving carelessly, or was fatigued or distracted, such as by eating behind the wheel. If so, the company that owns, leases or commissions the vehicle may be liable for having imposed an unreasonable delivery schedule. A shipper of merchandise that contributed to a truck being overloaded or improperly loaded may share liability if an accident results or is worsened as a consequence. The commercial vehicle may be in an unsafe condition due to failures of defective or improperly installed parts, for which the manufacturer, service company and inspector may be responsible. A crash can also result from a combination of these causes, or from hazardous conditions brought about by road construction or bad weather.
Because Florida is a no-fault car insurance state, there are limits to what compensation a driver or passenger can recover for injuries arising from a crash. The vehicle owner must first resort to his or her own policy, and coverage limits are usually too low to pay for the full extent of the damages.
To sue another party claimed to be at fault, and to recover damages for pain and suffering, you must show the accident caused a permanent injury, significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement or significant and permanent loss of a bodily function.
If you file a lawsuit arising from a commercial vehicle accident, the defendants may seek to hold you responsible for sharing in the fault. If that happens, a judge or jury must apportion the negligence that caused the accident among the parties, assigning a percentage to each. Your money damages would be reduced proportionately.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a truck or other commercial vehicle, Largey Law Firm is experienced in handling such cases. Call us at 352.508.1485 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at one of our three offices in Clermont, Inverness and Tavares.