Determining fault, also known as establishing liability, in a truck accident involves investigating the accident thoroughly and understanding the regulations and laws that apply. This process usually starts with getting a copy of the police report from the accident. This is an essential piece of evidence. The report usually includes observations made by the officer at the scene, the statements of the drivers and witnesses, and in many cases, a preliminary decision on who was responsible.
Another important aspect of determining fault involves getting into the truck’s black box data. Just like airplanes, commercial trucks usually have a device that records key information such as the truck’s speed, brake usage, and other critical details just before the accident.
Examination of the driver’s logs and records is critical. These logs, which are required by federal regulations, help prevent fatigued driving by cataloging commercial truck drivers’ hours of service. A thorough review of these logs can help ascertain if the driver was potentially fatigued or in violation of any regulations. Additionally, other company records, such as the truck’s maintenance records, may be helpful to the investigation.
In certain scenarios, the expertise of accident reconstruction specialists may be employed. Based on the available evidence, these experts can recreate the accident scene, which can be crucial in determining fault.
Lastly, a critical element of this process involves a thorough review and understanding of the relevant traffic laws and regulations. This includes not just general traffic laws, but also specific regulations governing commercial trucks. Understanding these rules is critical in making a final determination of fault in a truck accident.
What if I Was Partially at Fault for the Accident? Would I Still Have a Case?
Yes, probably. However, the law has recently changed and now limits the amount of fault under which you could still collect damages. In March 2023, Florida switched from a pure comparative negligence state to a modified comparative negligence state. Under this rule, a plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit) can recover damages reduced by the percentage of their own fault, as long as they are less than 50% at fault for the injury.
For example, if a plaintiff’s total damages were $100,000, and they were found to be 30% at fault, they could potentially recover $70,000 ($100,000 less 30%). However, if the plaintiff is found to be more than 50% at fault, they would not be able to recover any damages under this rule.
This system is designed to promote fairness by allowing parties to recover damages proportionate to their level of fault, while barring recovery for parties who are primarily at fault for their own injuries.
Given the complexity of these cases, it’s generally a good idea to consult with an attorney who has experience with truck accidents. An experienced legal team can help investigate the accident, determine fault, and represent your interests.
Injury attorney Todd C. Passman, P.A. handles truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, auto accidents, ridesharing accidents, DUI crashes, distracted driving, and bicycle accident cases serving Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Stuart, and Okeechobee, Florida, and surrounding areas.
Tell us about your problem. We can help.
If you, a family member or a friend have suffered a personal injury in a Florida truck accident, or have questions please contact accident attorney Todd C. Passman today, at (772) 465-9806. Our office is conveniently located on S. Indian River Drive in Fort Pierce.