Florida truck accidents can be catastrophic events. They can lead to significant damage and injuries to those involved. If an accident occurs, figuring out liability is an essential part of the legal process.
With truck accidents, it is more than just state laws that must be known and followed. In some situations, federal laws come into play, too. Because of this, it is recommended that you hire a personal injury lawyer to help with your case.
The right attorney will help investigate the case and take the proper steps to determine liability. It is important to note that there are situations when there may be more than one party.
Learn more about determining liability and how shared liability works here.
Understanding Florida Law: Modified Comparative Negligence
In March 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 837 into law. This tort reform bill overhauled the litigation landscape throughout Florida. A significant change in this law was to the state’s comparative negligence system and how shared fault is handled for personal injury claims.
While Florida formerly followed a pure comparative negligence system, it was changed to a modified comparative fault system.
Under the old law, individuals could recover compensation even if they were 99% at fault for the incident. The new law bars anyone more than 50% responsible for causing their injuries from recovering compensation.
The exception to this new rule is claims based on medical negligence. While true, you cannot recover compensation if you are more than 50% responsible for the incident.
If you are 50% or less responsible for your injuries, you can recover compensation for your losses. However, you may not receive full compensation. What you receive is reduced based on your percentage of fault.
An example would be if you sustain $1 million in damages after an accident with a large truck. The truck driver is mostly at fault for the accident; however, you are determined to be 25% at fault. In this situation, you receive $750,000 instead of the $1 million.
Why Shared Liability Matters in a Personal Injury Claim
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, you’re likely considering filing a personal injury claim. The issue of shared liability comes into play here because it directly impacts how much compensation you could potentially receive.
An accurate evaluation of shared liability could mean a more substantial settlement for your claim, ensuring you get the financial support you need to recover.
Parties That Can Share Liability
In a truck accident, it’s not just the driver or the person in the other vehicle that can be held liable. Several parties can share the blame:
- Truck Driver: Fatigue, negligence, or driving under the influence are common reasons for fault.
- Trucking Company: Improper training, forcing drivers to work beyond legal hours, or not maintaining the vehicles can make them partially responsible.
- Vehicle Manufacturer: If the truck had a mechanical issue due to a design flaw, the manufacturer could also share liability.
- Government Entities: Poorly designed or inadequately maintained roads could also contribute to an accident, making local or state government bodies partially liable.
Understanding the possibility of multiple parties being involved is another reason why having a truck accident lawyer can be beneficial in navigating your personal injury claim.
How Is Liability Determined in a Florida Truck Accident?
Determining liability in a truck accident involves a thorough investigation. It is usually a complex process.
Gathering Evidence for Liability
Determining liability in a Florida truck accident involves a multi-step process that begins with collecting evidence. Key pieces of evidence often include
- Police reports
- Photographs from the scene
- Statements from eyewitnesses
Gathering this information promptly can be critical, as it is the backbone of your personal injury claim. In complex cases, experts may be hired to recreate the accident scene to better understand the dynamics involved.
The Role of Insurance Adjusters
After an accident, insurance adjusters evaluate all available evidence and assess the liability of the involved parties. They scrutinize details such as the speed of the vehicles, road conditions, and whether any parties violated traffic laws.
It’s essential to remember that insurance adjusters work for the insurance company and may try to minimize payouts. This is why having a truck accident lawyer on your side is recommended.
Legal Proceedings and Court Involvement
Sometimes, determining liability may go beyond the insurance adjusters and could require legal proceedings. If the parties involved cannot agree on who is at fault, the matter may go to court.
Here, both sides will present their arguments and evidence, and a judge or jury will ultimately decide on the percentages of fault for each party. In Florida, the state’s modified comparative negligence law only allows you to recover damages if you are less than 51% at fault. In this situation, the amount you receive is reduced by your percentage of fault.
Determining liability in a Florida truck accident can be complex and often contentious. Consulting with a truck accident lawyer experienced in Florida’s specific laws can help guide you through this maze, ensuring that your personal injury claim stands the strongest chance for a successful resolution.
At Zimmet & Zimmet, Our Truck Accident Lawyer Is Ready to Help with Your Case
If you are involved in a truck accident in Florida, it’s crucial to consult a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you understand how shared liability could affect your personal injury claim. A seasoned lawyer will not only help you collect the necessary evidence but also negotiate with insurance companies and other parties to ensure you get a fair settlement.
If you’re navigating the complexities of a truck accident in Florida, consider hiring a truck accident lawyer to guide you through your personal injury claim. With expert advice and thorough investigation, you can get the compensation you deserve while focusing on what’s most important: your recovery.