Port St. Lucie Truck Accident Lawyer
Due to the ongoing truck driver shortage, many truckers have little practical experience behind the wheel. These vehicles are so big and so heavy that it is difficult even for experienced operators to control them. Making matters worse, the federal government has recently rolled back some important safety provisions.
This combination creates a high risk of serious injury. When these large vehicles cause crashes, the victims usually sustain injuries like serious burns, internal organ damage, and severe head injuries. Most people never fully recover from wounds like these.
The compassionate Port St. Lucie truck accident lawyers at Smith & Ball understand the intense pain and suffering these victims must endure on a daily basis. So, we work hard to obtain the compensation these families need and deserve. This hard work is usually a combination of thoughtful case preparation, strong advocacy, and open communication.
First Party Liability
In court, victim/plaintiffs must establish negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. Most negligence claims involve the ordinary negligence doctrine or the negligence per se rule. Fatigued truck driver claims are a good illustration of the differences.
Generally, driver fatigue is a significant problem among truckers. Most shipping companies pay drivers by the load. So, they must stay behind the wheel as long as possible in order to make money.
The effects of fatigue, like slow reflexes and bad judgement, are much like the effects of alcohol. In fact, driving after eighteen consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC. That’s above the legal limit for commercial operators in Florida. Lack of sleep is not the only issue. Most people are naturally drowsy early in the morning, at midday, and late at night. Most truckers are on the road at these times.
Evidence in ordinary negligence fatigue claims includes erratic driving prior to the crash, the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) schedule, and statements the tortfeasor made about drowsiness or fatigue.
The federal government has strict HOS (Hours of Service) laws. A violation of these laws could unlock the negligence per se shortcut. Tortfeasors could be responsible for crashes as a matter of law if:
- They violate a safety law, and
- That violation causes injury.
However, as mentioned, the government has waived some HOS safety laws. As a result, the negligence per se shortcut does not apply as frequently.
Third Party Liability
Negligent drivers are legally responsible for truck crashes. Frequently, a Port St. Lucie truck accident lawyer can hold shipping and transportation companies financially responsible for damages.
The respondeat superior doctrine holds employers financially responsible for the negligent actions or inactions their employees commit during the scope of employment. Florida law defines all these key terms and phrases in broad, victim-friendly ways.
Vicarious liability is usually very important in truck crash claims. Frequently, these victims sustain catastrophic injuries. So, the individual driver might not have enough insurance coverage to provide fair compensation. Third party liability gives these victims another recovery source.
Contact a Diligent Port St. Lucie Truck Accident Attorney
Large trucks often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer in Port St. Lucie, contact Smith & Ball Injury Law. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.