The death of a loved one can impact your family for a lifetime. In the case when a large commercial truck and a passenger vehicle collide, the assumption is that one party may be liable for the wreck. If your family member was the one killed in a Sarasota truck crash, you may want to know if the death of your loved one could have been prevented by the truck driver or the trucking company.

When it is determined that the truck’s brakes failed, the truck driver was distracted at the wheel, the trucker drove too long or too many hours without taking the necessary breaks, the truck’s load wasn’t secured or balanced, or the truck driver was driving drowsy or medicated, you may have a wrongful death case.

When death occurs in a trucking accident, the legal term “wrongful death” is often used to refer to someone that was killed caused by the negligence of another party. If driver fatigue, poorly maintained brakes, distracted driving, or any other violation of the federal regulations occurred, the family of the deceased could bring a wrongful death claim against the truck driver and/or other parties in a civil action.

Sadly, the majority of people killed in South Florida trucking accidents are passenger vehicle occupants—mainly because smaller cars are more vulnerable in comparison to trucks that weigh 20-30 times as much. In fact, 98% of vehicle occupants that died in two-vehicle crashes involving large trucks and passenger vehicles in 2011 were occupants of passenger vehicles, according to the latest U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Other 2011 trucking fatality statistics include:

  • 3,373 people died in truck wrecks that year
  • 16% of the deaths were truck occupants
  • 66% of the deaths were occupants of passenger vehicles
  • 16% of the deaths were bicyclists, motorcyclists, or pedestrians
  • 7% increase in truck crash fatalities from 2009 to 2011

Those who have lost loved ones in fatal Florida truck wrecks should turn to a professional for help determining if the truck driver was negligent, if the trucking company didn’t maintain the truck properly, if there were vehicle defects, or if there were roadway defects. There are a number of possible parties that could be found partially or fully liable. Although you may be reluctant to pursue a wrongful death claim, you need to consider your emotional losses as well as your financial damages. Large commercial trucking companies have insurance policies and can afford to compensate you and your family for your losses; however, trucking companies and their insurance carriers frequently deny claims.

For help getting the compensation that your family deserves after a wrongful death in Florida, call Mallard Perez to speak with a qualified Sarasota accident attorney today for a free consultation at 888-409-3805, and request a copy of our free book What You Need to Know After a Florida Auto, Truck or Bike Accident.

Damian Mallard, Esq.
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Board Certified Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney