Articles Posted in Trucking Accidents

With the tens of thousands of motor vehicle accidents that occur in Florida each year, it is not surprising that a significant number of these accidents involve a vehicle that was loaned to the person who caused the accident. These accidents present interesting legal issues, involving when the owner of the vehicle can be held responsible for the negligent actions of the person to whom they loaned the vehicle. The answer, under Florida law, is almost always.

Red Semi-TruckThe dangerous-instrumentality doctrine provides that the owner of a vehicle can be held liable for any injuries caused by an accident that is caused by someone to whom they loan the vehicle. This is irrespective of any negligence on the owner’s part. Thus, as long as an accident victim can show that the owner of a vehicle provided permission to the at-fault party, the owner of the vehicle can be held liable.

However, under section 324.021(9)(b)(3) of the Florida Statutes, Florida law limits an owner’s liability under the dangerous-instrumentality doctrine to $100,000 unless there is a showing that the owner was negligent in loaning the vehicle to the at-fault driver. A recent case illustrates how Florida courts interpret and apply section 324.021(9)(b)(3) to limit an owner’s liability in these situations.

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photo_14071_20090908An issue that often arises when an employee harms another during the course of his job is whether the employer can be held vicariously liable for the employee’s act. Indeed, proving vicarious liability is often necessary for assuring that one can acquire full recovery for his injuries, since many employees are “judgment proof, ” meaning financially incapable of paying the opposing party’s judgment. Given the importance of vicarious liability, many plaintiffs attempt to stretch the meaning of employer. For instance, the Fifth District Court of Appeal recently addressed the scope of who could be deemed an “employer” under a local trucking law in its decision in Peninsula Logistics, Inc. v. Erb (PDF-embedded link).

This Erb litigation was born from a collision between a vehicle owned by the plaintiffs and a semi-truck owned by O & L Transport. At the time of the accident, the driver of the truck was transporting cargo for Peninsula in a trailer owned by a different entity. Following the collision, the plaintiffs brought suit against several defendants, including Peninsula. Although the driver was not directly employed by Peninsula, the plaintiffs argued that Peninsula could nonetheless be held liable because Peninsula fell within the definition of an employer under a pertinent trucking regulation. Eventually, the case went to trial, which resulted in a favorable verdict for the plaintiffs. Peninsula brought an appeal, arguing that it could not be considered an employer as a matter of law, and therefore the trial court erred in not granting its motion for a directed verdict.

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semi-truck-1-232051-m 07-19-27If you have recently been involved in a Florida truck accident, you understand how difficult being involved in an accident can make your life. Even after you recover from the immediate physical injuries caused by the accident, there are often lingering physical effects of the injuries. In addition, there are the mounting medical bills.

For this reason, the State of Florida allows truck accident victims to bring a civil suit for damages to recover from the driver who caused the accident.

Typical Causes of Florida Truck Accidents

Semi-trucks are the biggest vehicles on the road. They are often weighed down with thousands of pounds of cargo and therefore can be extremely dangerous when not operated properly. While semi-truck drivers are required to have special licenses to operate the large trucks, even professional drivers make mistakes and errors in judgment.

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