State Trucking Regulations
Trucking companies and their drivers are required to follow certain state regulations for operating their vehicles. Failure to follow these rules can—and often does—lead to severe accidents. The truck crash lawyers at The Law Offices of Robert Dixon offer knowledgeable representation for individuals involved in a collision near Miami or the surrounding communities. We assist victims in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties, as well as across Florida, with investigating who may be responsible for an accident as well as guiding them through the legal process that often follows.State Trucking Laws in Florida
Federal laws apply to any big rigs that travel among the states, while Florida can control vehicles that travel only within its borders. In enacting its own trucking regulations, this state followed national guidelines regarding braking requirements, driver drug testing, and inspection and maintenance procedures.
Additionally, Florida imposes other rules for in-state trucking companies and drivers. These regulations include:
- Hour limits for drivers in the state;
- Commercial driver’s license (CDL) application requirements, including passage of written and driving tests;
- Requirements regarding the recordkeeping of drivers’ hours; and
- Liability insurance requirements, based on a truck’s weight.
For example, Florida allows commercial drivers to be 18 years or younger only under narrow circumstances. Truckers must also receive proper training to operate oversized vehicles. Employers are required to run background checks on drivers to verify their past performance for safety and must conduct periodic driving records reviews.Protect Your Rights Through a Negligence Claim
If a driver or trucking company fails to follow industry regulations and causes an accident as a result, any parties responsible can potentially be held liable for damages in a personal injury lawsuit. To prevail in this claim, the victim must show that the defendant was negligent. This means establishing that the defendant had a duty of care to act in a reasonable manner and that this duty was breached by a failure to follow state trucking law, such as exceeding driving hour limits. The other elements of a negligence claim consist of showing that the defendant’s breach directly led to the accident and that the victim incurred quantifiable damages because of it.
For example, a driver who does not take the appropriate rest breaks may become fatigued or lack the proper attention required to operate his or her vehicle safely, resulting in a significant collision. In addition to the trucker being held liable for this negligent conduct, a trucking company may also be held vicariously liable for careless actions by its employee that were taken in the scope of employment.
After a crash, possible defendants will often conduct their own investigations into what laws were followed and how the accident occurred. These multiple inquiries could lead to “spoliation” of the evidence, which results when important evidence is altered, destroyed, or lost in an effort to hinder legal claims. While courts can impose sanctions on parties that engage in this improper behavior, it is wise to reduce the possibility of spoliation by consulting an attorney as soon as possible after a crash.
A big rig accident can cause catastrophic injuries that may require years of rehabilitative treatment. Victims may seek compensation in the forms of past and future medical costs, loss of income and earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more. If a collision leads to a fatality, family members may pursue a claim for wrongful death to pursue reimbursement for burial expenses as well as loss of consortium damages.Discuss Your Big Rig Accident Case with a Fort Lauderdale Lawyer
Florida enacted state trucking regulations to keep its residents safe on the roads. Thus, a truck driver or company that fails to adhere to the law should be held liable for any harm they cause. The big rig accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Robert Dixon have significant experience handling these types of complex cases throughout the Fort Lauderdale area. We work hard to advocate for the compensation that victims need during the recovery process. Call (877) 499-4878 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.