State Trucking Regulations
Due to their immense weight and size, trucks have the power to cause devastating harm to people on the road. Drivers operating them must follow strict federal and state regulations to avoid harm to others. Generally, the federal regulations apply to trucks that are driven across the state border, while Florida's state trucking laws apply to vehicles that drive only within the state. The rules cover a wide range of driver, owner, and company conduct. If you are hurt in a truck accident near the Ocala area, an experienced lawyer at the Dean Law Firm can determine whether a state trucking regulation was violated and whether you should pursue damages.Hold Drivers and Trucking Companies Accountable for Violating State Regulations
Florida adopted the federal regulations in creating its own trucking laws. These rules include stringent regulations for weight limits, lights, signals, braking systems, and the way the cargo is loaded and secured to the truck. They also include drug testing, truck inspection and maintenance, requirements related to the number of hours a driver can stay behind the wheel, and record-keeping provisions to verify a driver is complying with the limitation related to those hours. All trucks are required to have liability insurance, which can vary based on the truck's weight. Certain types of vehicles sometimes have even stricter regulations. They may need to drive more slowly or avoid some traffic lanes.
If you are hurt in a truck accident that was caused by a driver’s failure to heed the regulations, you may not need to prove ordinary negligence because the rule of negligence per se may apply. Ordinarily, a big rig driver will be found negligent for injuries resulting from a crash if he or she owed a duty of reasonable care, breached that duty, and caused an accident and quantifiable damages as a result of the breach.
When negligence per se applies, however, the elements of duty and breach are presumed without the plaintiff needing to prove it. An injured person can use this theory of liability if the defendant violated a statute that was intended to protect the public from a certain type of harm. State trucking regulations are designed to keep other people on the road safe from hazards posed by big rigs.
The plaintiff in a case to which negligence per se applies need only prove the elements of causation and damages. Among the types of compensation you may recover if you are successful are past and future medical expenses, lost income, the cost of household services, out-of-pocket expenses, and pain and suffering.
Often, truck accidents cause serious injuries, and a driver's insurance coverage alone may not cover the scope of the harm. If a truck driver was on the job when he or she caused a crash by violating a safety regulation, you may be able to recover not only from the individual but also his or her employer under a theory of vicarious liability. This can be helpful to your case because trucking companies usually have more liability insurance than the driver alone, which means you may be able to recover more of your damages.Seek Legal Guidance after a Truck Crash in Ocala
At the Dean Law Firm, our motor vehicle collision attorneys are proud of protecting the rights of injured individuals in Ocala and the surrounding area. We understand how to apply the principles of negligence and state trucking regulations to the details of each case as appropriate. We also understand the strategies used by truck drivers' and trucking companies' insurance carriers to avoid paying you the compensation you are owed. Call us at 352-387-8700 or contact us via our online form. We represent accident victims throughout the state, including Crystal River and The Villages as well as Marion, Sumter, Lake, Citrus, and Levy Counties.