Truck Accidents in Florida: Determining Liability When Both Parties Die

Truck Accidents in Florida

Recently, we were asked about what happens when both parties die in truck accidents. That is a good question that we will discuss in today´s blog post.

We all know that truck accidents are devastating accidents. The likelihood of having both parties dead if we are talking about a single crash between a truck and a car is high. In Florida, a state with a pure comparative negligence system, determining liability in a fatal truck accident where both parties die can be intricate. 

This information explores the legal landscape and potential approaches to navigating such a situation. And Remember, in this scenario, we can help. Here at Louis Berk Law Firm, we focus on giving you the legal assistance required in cases like this, where both parties might die. Our Wrongful Death Attorneys in Orlando can help you overcome this situation. Let´s take a deeper look:

Understanding Pure Comparative Negligence

Florida follows a pure comparative negligence system. This means that the fault for an accident is apportioned to all parties involved,  including the deceased.  The percentage of fault attributed to each party directly impacts their ability to recover damages.  For instance, if a driver is found 70% at fault and the other party 30% at fault, the first party’s compensation would be reduced by 70%.

Challenges in Determining Liability with Fatalities

When both parties die in a truck accident, gathering evidence and establishing fault becomes significantly more challenging.  Here’s why:

  • Limited Witness Testimony: Eyewitness accounts are crucial for piecing together the events leading up to the accident. However, without surviving parties, witness statements might be the only source of information, and their accuracy could be subjective.
  • Black Box Data: Modern commercial trucks are equipped with data recorders, also known as “black boxes,” that capture information about speed, braking, and other vehicle functions. While this data can be valuable, it doesn’t provide insight into driver behavior or decision-making.
  • Accident Reconstruction: Accident reconstruction experts analyze evidence from the scene, debris patterns, and vehicle damage to recreate the events of the crash. However, the absence of survivor statements can limit the accuracy of the reconstruction.

Approaches to Determining Liability

Despite the challenges, legal processes exist to attempt to establish liability in a fatal truck accident:

  • Police Reports and Investigations: The police accident report is a critical starting point. It documents the scene, weather conditions, and any available witness statements. Further police investigations might uncover additional evidence, such as traffic camera footage or cellphone data, that could shed light on the cause of the accident.
  • Truck Driver Employment Records: The truck driver’s employment records can be examined for past driving infractions, violations, or disciplinary actions. This could indicate a history of reckless driving or safety concerns.
  • Truck Maintenance Records: It is crucial to investigate the truck’s maintenance records. Defective brakes, tire issues, or malfunctioning equipment could contribute to the accident and potentially shift liability towards the trucking company.
  • Wrongful Death Lawsuits: In the absence of surviving parties directly involved in the accident, family members of the deceased can file wrongful death lawsuits. These lawsuits aim to recover compensation for damages such as lost income, medical expenses incurred before death, and pain and suffering. The lawsuit will focus on proving the negligence of the other party that contributed to the accident and the resulting death.

Role of Lawyers

Navigating a fatal truck accident case, especially when both parties are deceased, requires the expertise of experienced truck accident lawyers in Orlando.  These lawyers can:

  • Gather Evidence: Attorneys will work to collect all available evidence, including police reports, witness statements, truck maintenance records, and black box data, to build a strong case.
  • Accident Reconstruction: They might collaborate with accident reconstruction experts to recreate the events of the accident and determine the most likely cause.
  • Negotiate with Insurance Companies: Insurance companies representing both parties might be involved. Attorneys can negotiate with them to secure fair compensation for the families of the deceased.
  • Litigation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, the attorneys can represent the families in court to pursue compensation through litigation.

Things to Consider:

  • Statute of Limitations: Florida has a statute of limitations for filing wrongful death lawsuits. This means there’s a specific time frame within which a lawsuit must be filed. Consulting with an attorney promptly after the accident is crucial to ensure adherence to these deadlines.
  • Shared Fault: Even if the deceased is found partially at fault for the accident, their families might still be entitled to compensation. The percentage of fault attributed to the deceased will be deducted from the total recoverable damages.
  • Emotional Toll: Losing a loved one in a truck accident is a devastating experience. The legal process can be emotionally draining. Family members should seek support from loved ones and consider grief counseling to help cope with the loss.

In Conclusion

Determining liability in a fatal truck accident where both parties die is a complex legal process.  However, our experienced personal injury attorneys can help navigate the legal system, gather evidence, and fight for fair compensation for the families of the deceased. 

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