A lot of people are already afraid of sharing the road with tractor-trailers. The last thing you can imagine happening is getting into an accident with one of these large machines. Thankfully, if this does happen, you can rely on an experienced truck accident attorney in Hollywood.
The question both you and your attorney may have is whether you can pursue the trucker’s employer for damages.
Most Tractor Trailer Drivers Work for a Large Trucking Company
While there are some truck drivers who are self-employed, most truckers work for a large trucking company. If they get into an accident while in their commercial vehicle, one would think their employer would be liable for any injuries suffered in the crash.
When our Hollywood truck accident lawyers first meet with a client, this is usually one of the questions their client has.
It may sound selfish, but you know you’ll have a better chance of being compensated for your injuries if your truck accident attorney in Hollywood can sue the truck driver’s employer.
Your Truck Accident Attorney in Hollywood May Have to Sue More Than One Party
It is true that your Hollywood accident lawyer may need to name more than one party in your complaint. If the insurance carriers refuse to pay your claim, this will be your only option.
Obviously, you’ll have to pursue the truck driver for damages. However, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to name their employer in your lawsuit as well.
One way to look at this is that you’ll have a better chance of receiving the compensation you deserve if you pursue both parties.
This Will Depend on Whether the Trucking Company Is Found Vicariously Liable for Your Injuries
The only way the trucking company will be liable for your damages is if they are found vicariously liable for the truck driver’s negligence. What this means is that your Hollywood accident lawyer will have to prove that the trucker was, in fact, negligent.
When it comes to tractor-trailer accidents, your truck accident attorney in Hollywood will have a slightly easier time proving fault. This is because there are federal regulations that commercial truckers must follow.
If they fail to do this, it may amount to negligence per se. This means that your Hollywood accident lawyer will have an easier time proving that the driver breached their duty of care.
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How Does Vicarious Liability Work in Hollywood, Florida?
Like every other state, Florida has its own laws regarding vicarious liability. In some states, the owner of a trucking company is strictly liable for the acts of their employees. Other states offer a bevy of defenses on the part of the trucking company.
In Florida, your truck accident attorney in Hollywood has two ways of proving liability on the part of the driver’s employer. First, they can apply Florida’s “Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine.” Or, if they prefer, they can take the second approach which involves the common law concept of respondeat superior.
Your Truck Accident Attorney in Hollywood May Argue the Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine
According to Florida Statute §324.021, the owner of a trucking company is liable for the negligent and reckless acts of their drivers. This law is referred to as the “Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine.”
The rationale behind the law originated in common law. Anybody who owns an inherently dangerous tool is vicariously liable for any damages caused by the operation of that tool.
In 1938, nearly a hundred years ago, in Southern Cotton Oil Co. v Anderson, the courts held that a vehicle qualifies as an inherently dangerous tool. Therefore, according to the courts, the owner of a trucking company is responsible for the damage caused by the operation of their trucks and other vehicles.
They Can Also Consider Using the Respondeat Superior Doctrine
The second approach your Hollywood accident lawyer may take is that of “respondeat superior.” Under this approach, which also derives from common law, the principal, or owner, of a company is liable for the acts of their agents.
To prove that the defendant’s employer is liable for your damages, your truck accident attorney in Hollywood must demonstrate the following:
- The truck driver did, in fact, work for the trucking company.
- The driver was negligent in some way.
- The driver was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the crash.
- You were injured.
This is similar to ordinary negligence. The only difference is that you’re attaching liability to somebody other than the actual driver.
What Damages Can You Recover in a Truck Accident Case?
As long as your Hollywood accident lawyer can prove fault, you should be entitled to damages. In most of the cases we handle, our clients are entitled to some or all of the following:
- Medical bills and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages (in very limited situations)
Whatever the total damages are, your Hollywood accident lawyer will fight to get you as much money as possible.
Of course, most of these cases settle long before trial. This means there’s a good chance of you receiving a lump sum settlement sooner rather than later.
Reach Out to Our Truck Accident Lawyers in Hollywood Today!
If you’ve been involved in a tractor-trailer accident, you’re probably in an incredible amount of pain. The injuries suffered in truck accidents tend to be life-changing. The last thing you’ll want to do is fight with the insurance carriers. That’s why it’s a good idea to call and speak with one of our truck accident attorneys in Hollywood.
Our Hollywood accident lawyers know how to make sure all potential defendants are named in your initial complaint. Our lawyers also know what kind of damages you may be entitled to. We offer all new clients a free, initial consultation.