Truck accidents may be devastating to victims and the families of people involved. Monetary compensation cannot undo the physical harm from a collision, but it may help pay medical expenses, replace lost earnings, and help a family get back on their feet financially.
Tractor-Trailer Crash Attorneys Helping Victims in Stuart
Many types of tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and other big trucks operate regularly in Florida along I-95, Florida’s Turnpike, U.S. 1, and other roadways at any given time. As a result, there is a risk for serious collisions to happen at a moment’s notice, including jackknife accidents that happen when an articulated vehicle such as a tractor-trailer folds in so that the trailer ends up facing backward rather than forward. The Stuart truck accident lawyers at Donaldson & Weston can help people hurt in jackknife accidents pursue a claim against the responsible trucker or trucking company.
Holding a Trucker or a Trucking Company Accountable for a Jackknife Accident
Jackknife accidents may happen for a multitude of reasons, including slippery or icy road surfaces, improper braking by the truck operator, or equipment failure caused by a trucking company’s failure to maintain the truck in a safe condition. If a motorist or passenger in a smaller vehicle is hurt in a jackknife accident, they may be able to seek compensation through a negligence lawsuit against the truck driver, the trucking outfit, or both. If a trucker is found liable for an accident, the trucking company may be held vicariously liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior, which holds employers liable for the careless acts of their employees. A trucking company may also be held liable for its own negligence, such as in a case of improper maintenance or a failure to abide by federal trucking regulations concerning rest periods, maximum work hours, and other measures designed to prevent fatigued driving by professional truck operators.
Jackknife accident cases and other tractor-trailer crash lawsuits are similar to collision cases involving smaller vehicles in many respects. Both car accident and truck accident claims are pursued in the civil court system under a legal theory known as negligence. There are four basic components of a negligence claim. These are duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. The plaintiff has the burden of proof in a negligence lawsuit arising from a jackknife accident and must prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence in order to succeed.
Truck accident cases may be more protracted and complicated than cases involving smaller vehicles, however. One reason for this is that a lot more money tends to be at stake in commercial vehicle lawsuits because of the severity of the injuries typically involved when an 80,0000-pound tractor-trailer crashes into a small car, truck, or SUV. Truckers, trucking companies, and truck industry insurance companies also tend to have “deeper pockets” than an average motorist. Although this may be a positive thing because an injured person or the family of a person killed in a fatal truck crash has a better chance of receiving full compensation for their damages, the path to compensation is often hard-fought due to the amount of money at issue.