At Cohn & Smith, we are in the business of helping those who have been injured in truck accidents and other collisions in and around Pembroke Pines. We understand that accidents can happen in an instant, but can change a life forever. Some of the most devastating injuries we see result from semi-truck wrecks caused by decreased braking ability. Because commercial trucks are so large in size and weight, these types of collisions often cause serious harm or even death.Reasons for Decreased Braking Ability in Big Rigs
Over time, any mechanical object can wear out. Because of the high mileage that comes with over-the-road trucking, brakes and other parts on those vehicles often deteriorate much quicker than on passenger cars. Most semis have several sets of brakes, any of which can fail if not properly maintained. Although trucking companies and owner-operators should periodically inspect their trucks for potential issues with the brakes, this is not always done. Other issues, including failure to load a truck properly, can exacerbate problems caused by poor maintenance.Proving Liability against a Trucking Company or Trucker
A person who has been injured due to a trucking company or truck driver’s failure to adequately maintain and inspect a big rig’s brakes can file suit in court to recover money damages from those responsible. This type of lawsuit is called a “negligence” claim. To be successful, the person filing suit has an obligation to fulfill four separate elements.
The first step in a negligence suit is proving that the defendant owed some type of legal duty to the claimant, such as the duty to operate or maintain a truck in the manner that a reasonable person would. There are many state and federal laws that that can be sources of liability in truck accident cases, and a knowledgeable attorney can determine the standards that may have been violated in a particular case.
The second step in the process is showing that the defendant breached the duty that was owed to the claimant. This may be as simple as showing physical evidence of badly worn parts from the truck or as complicated as hiring an expert to analyze maintenance records, load reports, and other data to determine whether the defendant trucker or trucking company followed the law.Causation, Damages, and Comparative Fault
Next, the claimant must show causation between the defendant’s negligence and the claimant’s damages. In other words, the defendant’s actions must have actually caused the losses for which the claimant seeks recovery. In some cases, a defendant may agree that he or she did some things that contributed to the accident but may insist that the bulk of the fault lies with the claimant. Under Florida law, this is called an allegation of “comparative fault” and, if proven, can reduce an accident victim’s recovery in proportion to his or her level of fault. For example, if a jury finds that the claimant has suffered $10,000 in damages but that he or she was 25% at fault in causing the wreck, the claimant can receive a maximum judgment of $7,500.
The final step in proving negligence is showing that the person who seeks to recover a settlement or judgment actually sustained damages in the accident. This can come in the form of medical expenses, property damage, lost time from work, and pain and suffering. If the accident resulted in a wrongful death, the victim’s family can potentially claim damages such as funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, and other losses associated with the family member’s death.Talk to a Pembroke Pines Trucking Liability Attorney about Your Truck Wreck in Hollywood
It takes an experienced, dedicated legal team to fight for compensation after a serious accident. Because we frequently deal with trucking companies, insurers, police, and others involved in the process of sorting out truck wreck cases in Hollywood and nearby areas, the law firm of Cohn & Smith can help you answer the hard questions during this difficult process. Call our Pembroke Pines trucking liability attorneys today at (954) 431-8100 to schedule a no-cost initial consultation. We represent clients in communities throughout South Florida, including Weston, Coral Springs, and Pompano Beach.