Driving an automobile is something that may be comfortable and natural for you. However, even the safest drivers can still become injured in truck accidents due to no fault of their own. Despite more stringent truck regulations across the country, the number of Florida truck accidents continues to increase. At Schier Law Group, we are familiar with the tragic aftermath of motor vehicle accidents in Florida. Our Miami personal injury attorneys work on behalf of injury victims to investigate the crash facts and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Trucking accidents are complex, and no two accidents are the same. While no truck driver is perfect, they do have a lawful responsibility to drive with a certain standard of care. When this standard of care is not upheld, it can result in various dangerous and deadly situations involving truck driver negligence. This is often needed to prove fault in a truck crash and successfully recover compensation for your physical and emotional damages.
To prove negligence, your truck collision attorney will need to successfully show four elements were present:
- Duty of Care. The truck driver had a duty of care to uphold in regard to operating a truck safely.
- Breach of Duty. The truck driver did not uphold this duty by not conducting themselves in a reasonably safe manner.
- Causation. This breach of duty directly or indirectly caused harm to another individual.
- Damages. The individual sustained some sort of measurable damage as a result.
There are a variety of situations that could point to truck driver negligence. The most common causes of accidents involving truck driver negligence include:
- Sleep deprivation
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Failure to assess road hazards
Interestingly enough, truck accidents happen more frequently at certain time periods. According to 2021 statistics gathered by Policy Advice (1), most truck crashes occur between noon and 3 p.m., and approximately three-quarters of these crashes occur on weekdays.
How Many Fatal Injuries Are There in Florida from Trucking Crashes?
The truck accident statistics in Florida are high compared to many other states in the country. The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) (2) releases an annual accident report each year. A recent report showed 341,399 statewide motor vehicle crashes in 2020, and 3,098 of these crashes resulted in 3,332 total fatalities.
While truck injury crashes are less common than regular passenger vehicle crashes, they are much more likely to result in serious injury or death. Of the number of Florida crashes in 2020, larger commercial trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds caused:
- 29 fatalities
- 111 incapacitating injuries
- 389 non-incapacitating injuries
- 789 possible injuries
Additionally, smaller trucks weighing less than 10,000 pounds caused:
- 4 fatalities
- 43 incapacitating injuries
- 232 non-incapacitating injuries
- 633 possible injuries
Florida Truck Accidents vs. Car Accidents
Most crashes involving two passenger-sized vehicles are rear-ended collisions. While they can result in serious injuries, many crashes result in minor damages. It’s also common for car crashes to involve only two vehicles. In comparison, trucking accidents tend to result in more multi-vehicle crashes and result in a higher number of catastrophic or fatal injuries. Some of the most common types of truck crashes and include:
- Rollover accidents
- Rear-end collisions
- Jackknife accidents
- T-bone accidents
- Underride accidents
- Tire blowouts
- Blind spot collisions
Why Truck Accidents Are So Deadly
It’s no secret that big rigs, semi-trucks, and tractor-trailers weigh more than normal-sized passenger vehicles. These monstrous vehicles often weigh 20 to 30 times more (3) than normal passenger vehicles, such as SUVs or compact cars. The sheer mass of these vehicles means that they take much longer to come to a complete stop and also cause more severe damage when they do crash into vehicles sharing the road.
Florida Laws that Protect Drivers from Large Trucks
Because of the potential devastation that can result from large truck crashes, truck drivers have a legal obligation to take specific steps to keep fellow drivers on the road safe. For instance, truck drivers should practice defensive driving and take the following steps:
- Drive at a legal and reasonable speed. Truckers must remember that the speed limit is the maximum, not the minimum. If there is inclement weather or safety hazards on the road, truck drivers should reduce their speed and adjust accordingly as needed.
- Always plan ahead. Truckers should ensure that they have their route planned out to avoid any last-minute and potential maneuvering on the road; this includes planning routes and for stops, breaks, entrances, exits, and underpasses.
- Conduct a pre-check. The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires truck drivers to conduct certain pre-trip inspections that include servicing brakes and brake connections, tires, parking brakes, steering mechanism, horn, windshield wipers, rear-view mirrors, coupling devices, wheels, rims, and emergency equipment.
- Take breaks. There are strict regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that limit the amount of hours that truckers are allowed to drive in any given time frame and require sleep breaks. Truckers should ensure that such regulations are followed at all times.
- Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In order to stay up and make strict deadlines, some truck drivers use stimulants that allow them to stay awake for longer periods of time on the road. However, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal and incredibly dangerous.
- Stay focused. Like any driver, truck drivers should limit distractions and have their full attention on the road at all times.
- Know your vehicle. Truckers must have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a large truck, and with this type of license they should have a familiarity with the type of vehicle being driven, how it operates, and how to know if there are mechanical issues or something else goes wrong.
- Know what you’re hauling. Truckers should always be aware of what type of cargo they are driving, which will allow them to adjust their driving behaviors in order to remain as safe as possible.
How Do Florida Truck Accident Statistics Compare With Crash Statistics in Other States
A 2019 report from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles stated that Florida was one of the top three states for truck and bus crashes. Statistics from the National Safety Council (4) also showed 344 deaths resulting from large truck crashes in 2022—a number only behind Texas and California.
While Florida may rank high on the list due to its population and geographic size, we can also deduce that there are a high number of truck accidents in the state because of a few unique reasons:
- Heavy rain, wet roads, and hurricanes create safety hazards on the road
- Open highways that increase the temptation for truckers to speed
- Inadequate training of truck drivers
Average Compensation of Truck Accident Victims
Many truck accident victims wonder how much they may be entitled to receive. While we wish we could answer this question simply, the reality is that there is no average compensation amount for truck accidents because there is no one-size-fits-all approach to these cases. The amount that any truck accident victim will receive in compensation can range from thousands of dollars to millions of dollars.
For instance, one of our recent cases involved a man in Broward County who was rear-ended by a commercial truck and received a sum of $2 million. You can view more of our case results here. If you would like more information about how much your particular truck accident case is worth, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our firm for a free consultation.
There are certain factors. However, that can impact how large your potential compensation may be. Some of these factors include:
- Past Medical Expenses. This includes ambulance rides, the number of days hospitalized, and any emergency services that were necessary.
- Current Medical Expenses. This includes if you are still obtaining medication and visiting physicians or specialists for treatment related to your accident injuries.
- Future Medical Expenses. If you sustain serious injuries, you may require ongoing or even permanent medical treatment. Your truck accident lawyer will take this into consideration and factor it into what a fair settlement amount should be.
- Lost Wages. If you are unable to work for a certain period of time due to your accident-related injuries, you may be entitled to receive compensation for lost wages.
- Lost Earning Capacity. Similarly, if you cannot perform the same job you did before the truck accident and have to work fewer hours or a lower-paying job due to injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for lost earning capacity.
- Property Damage. If you were injured in a truck crash and are filing a truck accident claim, you may also be able to pursue compensation for property damage for your vehicle and potential cellular devices and other valuables.
- Emotional Injuries. Truck accidents can be life-altering because of emotional injuries related to pain, trauma, loss of quality of life, or loss of consortium. This is especially true if someone is a sole survivor of a truck accident or sustains a permanent disability.
- Permanent Injuries. As we mentioned, victims of truck crashes who sustain permanent injuries are often entitled to a higher amount of compensation for their losses; these include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, loss of limb, or scarring.
- Fault. Florida operates under a no-fault rule in accident cases. This means that most people injured in accidents will turn to their own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance company for reimbursement for damages, regardless of who was at fault for the crash. However, if the accident resulted in severe, permanent, or debilitating injuries—which truck crashes often do—you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- Wrongful Death. If a truck accident results in death, certain family members of the deceased individual may pursue compensation claims in a wrongful death claim for economic losses, including lost income and benefits, as well as non-economic damages, including pain and suffering and the loss of companionship, guidance, consortium, and emotional support.
Contact Schrier Law Group Truck Accident Lawyer
At the law office of Schier Law Group, our team of dedicated Florida personal injury attornies are not afraid to go up against large trucking companies to protect the rights of truck crash victims of their families. If you were injured in a commercial truck accident, our team is here, ready to fight for your rights to full and fair compensation. Likewise, if your loved one was wrongfully killed in a truck crash, our hearts go out to you. As your truck accident attorney, we will do everything we can to pursue justice on your behalf
Give us a call at 1-800-700-PAUL or fill out our online contact form to talk to a lawyer today!