Florida Truck Accidents: Who Can Be Held Liable?

April 20, 2022
Florida Truck Accidents: Who Can Be Held Liable?

Truck Accident Statistics 

Truck-involved accidents are rising as Florida’s economy grows, welcoming new growth for shipping industries and distribution centers. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), large trucks & buses were involved in 162,124 crash events nationwide. For this 11-month timeframe, 80,586 injuries and 4,856 fatalities were reported. Florida has also seen a dramatic increase in migration in the past two years, which means more motorists are on the roads today. Florida had over 9,192 truck-involved crashes in 2021, resulting in 4,680 injuries and 309 fatalities. This data shows an average of over 25 accidents per day involving a large truck or bus in Florida.

Who’s Liable for Florida Truck Accidents? 

Liability in automotive accidents isn’t always straightforward; many parties could potentially be liable for damages. An 80,000 lb. 18-wheeler can be lethal if not properly maintained, especially when recklessly driven and involved in a crash. Accidents involving large trucks or buses can include liability for multiple parties. To determine liability, several questions must be answered:

  • Has the driver been adequately trained?
  • Does the driver have a bad driving history?
  • Was the truck properly maintained?
  • Was there a manufacturing default?
  • Was the cargo appropriately secured?

A personal injury attorney will ask these questions to help determine liability. Depending on the facts of your case, you may pursue damages against multiple parties. Those parties may include:

Truck Driver

The truck driver is the one at the wheel at the time of the accident. Drivers could be negligent for various reasons, such as tailgating, improper lane changes, speeding, or other reckless driving behavior. The driver could also be fatigued or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Distracted driving, such as texting or eating, can also contribute to an accident.

Company of Employment

If the driver is employed, the company could be held liable for acts committed by the employee. Additionally, if the company was negligent in its hiring or training, this could result in a negligence claim.

Truck Owner

Some companies lease vehicles in times of need. The owner’s responsibility is to maintain the trucks and ensure they are operated safely. For this reason, they too could be responsible for accidents.


If a truck has a manufacturer defect and it results in an accident, the manufacturer may be liable.

Secondary Manufacturer

As with manufacturers, secondary manufacturers may also be held liable if they provided a part that failed, such as faulty breaks or steering columns, which then caused the accident.

Cargo Loaders

Cargo loaders are responsible for securing the load safely and securely onto the truck. If cargo comes loose and impacts motorists on the freeway, loaders can be liable for their part of the damages incurred. If loads are improperly situated, this can cause unsafe conditions for both the driver and other motorists.


FMCSA has set forth stringent guidelines and regulations to ensure trucks are safe and roadworthy. These standards must be maintained and verified; if not, they can cause devastating accidents on the highway.

Burden of Proof

In Florida, the plaintiff must establish the burden of proof with a preponderance of the evidence. As soon as an accident happens, the driver, company, and insurance companies will work in sync to minimize the accident to avoid payouts. This means you should have an experienced and aggressive litigator protecting your rights and proving your case in court. Allen & Abaray work with expert witnesses in accident reconstruction, medical analysis, and other areas to present clear and convincing evidence to support your case.


Several factors can contribute to an accident. The FMCSA has established rules and regulations to ensure truck and bus operations are safe. In addition to cause, the evidence must also show negligence. Negligence law is very complex and defined by Florida as the legal cause of loss, injury, or damage. If a driver is working beyond the allotted service hours, then fatigue could have contributed to the accident. Cause and negligence go hand in hand; our firm puts those pieces together. Some more common causes for truck accidents include:

  • Hours of service
  • Sleep requirements & breaks
  • Negligence in hiring/training
  • Truck inspections & maintenance
  • Reckless driving
  • Drugs or alcohol
  • Break or tire issues
  • Distracted driving

Gathering Evidence

Experience matters when you hire an attorney to represent you, as mistakes could easily jeopardize your case and significantly affect compensation. Our firm has represented clients throughout Florida for over twenty years. If you are in an accident, we advise you to accurately record the details of the accident, including where it occurred and who was involved. Our team of attorneys will look for additional evidence, such as:

  • Trucker logs
  • Accident photos & surveillance videos
  • Crime scene reconstruction
  • Documents (tickets, medical records, contracts, etc.)
  • Witnesses & subpoenas
  • Was there negligence in loading or hauling?
  • Road & driving conditions

Expert Witnesses 

There is a significant difference between having a witness and having an expert witness at your trial. An expert possesses greater credibility due to their knowledge and reputation. Their unbiased, educated testimony can be given to support your case. Experts can interpret your case’s evidence, records, and data in a credible and meaningful way in court. A doctor, for example, can identify injuries, what medical treatment will be necessary, and the patient’s prognosis for recovery. This testimony is vital when seeking damages or negotiating a settlement. Expert witnesses may include:

  • Ticketing officers
  • Accident reconstructionist
  • Truck safety experts
  • Doctors

Schedule a FREE Consultation Today to Discuss Your Auto Accident Case

If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury or wrongful death due to a commercial truck accident, please contact the experienced trial attorneys at Allen & Abaray, P.A. to schedule a free, initial legal consultation at (877) 669-6899 or (863) 669-9999. Our office is located in Lakeland, Florida, and we serve clients in Polk, Hillsborough, Osceola, and Lake Counties.


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