Much of the Department of Transportation is responsible for overseeing the safety and productiaon of large loads, including tractor trailers across the interstate highways. To ensure the policies are being evenly enforced among all companies, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) were created as a uniform set of guidelines that could be published and regulated throughout the nation. One of the most beneficial and responsible regulations established through the FMCSRs is the requirement for a minimum insurance coverage of $750,000 per vehicle and driver. In addition to the FMCSRs, Florida introduced a special law to protect motorists who were injured as the result of a large truck or tractor trailer accident.
In the aftermath of this type of accident, the commercial companies owning these huge trucks dispatch teams to the sites of these accidents. Such teams include accident investigators, insurance adjusters, and legal advisors. What’s not on these teams is an advocate for the driver of the other vehicle. These teams exist to protect the business interests of the entity owning the truck. Their objective is to provide the other driver with as little financial compensation as possible. To provide none at all would be even better.
Since “Team Truck” is clearly not acting as an advocate for the occupant(s) of the other vehicle, it’s reasonable to assume private auto insurance companies will do so. However, many drivers discover that their carriers are reluctant to pay or substantially raise rates when asked to compensate policy holders in an accident when fault is in dispute.
In cases involving 18 wheelers, tractor trailer, and other large commercial vehicles, accident victims and their survivors are well advised to consult with attorneys who have experience in advocating for victims of these accidents. Despite the considerable vehicle size difference, the driver of the smaller vehicle is often found to be at fault in these accidents. However, truck accident attorneys know that many mitigating factors tend to be overlooked in these cases. These include truck driver fatigue, experience, drug/alcohol abuse history, delivery deadlines, condition of the truck, and its maintenance history. Law firms who specialize in accidents of this type can conduct their own accident investigations, which include visiting crash sites, collecting evidence, and interviewing witnesses.
As part of such an investigation, attorneys can demand and study truck logs, which offer crucial insights into the driver’s condition and the truck’s maintenance. A legal firm can deal directly with the truck company’s insurance companies who often use misleading information and intimidation to discourage accident victims from pursuing claims. And if an acceptable settlement can’t be reached, attorneys can represent victims and survivors in court, making sure their side is fairly heard before a judge and jury. This allows victims or their survivors to focus on recovery and rebuilding their lives.
The Dangerous Instrumentality doctrine provides additional protection by potentially holding specific parties liable for damage, injury, even passenger death after a tractor trailer accident. The driver of a tractor trailer or large truck may be an independent contractor who owns their own truck or may be working for a corporate trucking company or contracted to haul for a specific agency. Depending on the circumstances of the accident and extent of the injuries, any one or all of these parties could be found liable to pay for damages, medical expenses, and other expenses for the injured parties.
Understanding the various aspects of the law can be confusing, especially for drivers that have just been involved in an auto accident in Florida. Car accidents and tractor trailer accidents are very different and must be handled according to their unique aspects. Attorneys specializing in personal injury and tractor trailer liability are adept at explaining current regulations to their clients. Since they consistently continue their education and increase their expertise in these areas, attorneys can easily describe options to their clients and clearly explain their rights.
Due to the complexity of the law and the time sensitive nature of vehicle accidents, anyone involved in an accident with a tractor trailer could benefit from an experienced attorney. It is important to act quickly so that all options can be reviewed and the appropriate authorities and other parties can be contacted to gather information, evidence, and other relevant documentation related to the case.
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