Florida Truck Accident Lawyer
With more than two million semi-auto trucks on the road in the U.S., accidents are bound to occur. However, accidents with commercial trucks are not normal accidents by any stretch. Truck accidents are among the most dangerous and deadly types of collisions.
With that in mind, victims of truck accidents often face life-threatening injuries, long-term rehabilitation, and extraordinarily high medical bills. If you or a loved one has suffered damages due to a truck accident, the attorneys at Schrier Law Group are here to help.
Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.
In this article, we cover:
- Why Truck Accidents Are So Common in Florida
- The Most Dangerous Highways in Florida
- What You Should do if You’re in a Truck Accident
- Damages Caused By Truck Accidents
- Compensation to be Recovered From Truck Accidents
Continue reading to learn more about truck accidents in Florida.
Why Are Truck Accidents So Common in Florida?
Over a five-year period, truck accidents occurred an average of 269 times per year in Florida. Many of those accidents led to serious injury or death. Though truck operators typically have years of training and a CDL license, they are still prone to making mistakes on the road. If you ask an experienced truck accident lawyer why 18-wheeler accidents are so common in Florida, they will likely point you to the following reasons:
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
According to the NHTSA, nearly 20 percent of traffic accidents are caused (at least in part) by poor vehicle maintenance. Unfortunately, poor maintenance on a truck (i.e., bad brakes, worn tires, etc.) could lead to catastrophic consequences.
Some of the most common truck maintenance issues resulting in Florida truck collisions include:
- Broken headlights or turn signals
- Poorly maintained or defective brakes
- Truck wheels that are worn, damaged, or lack adequate air
- Ineffective windshield wipers
- Issues with the power steering system
- Electrical problems
- Lack of routine maintenance
Proving poor vehicle maintenance was the cause of a truck collision usually requires in-depth investigation, tense negotiations, and undeniable proof. Our truck accident lawyers connect with industry-leading expert witnesses, comb through hours of data, and work with a determination to uncover every piece of available evidence.
If a truck’s load exceeds its gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), the vehicle is much harder to control and more prone to accidents. Accidents caused by overloaded trucks are more likely to cause severe injuries and death.
Suppose a truck’s weight exceeds the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) requirements. In that case, the excess weight could result in devastating accidents. That’s especially true when an overloaded truck encounters the following conditions:
- Steep hills
- Navigating sharp turns
- Inclement weather
- Old or worn brakes
- Worn tires
Commercial truck operators are responsible for maintaining cargo weight within federal and state guidelines regardless of the road, weather, or traffic conditions.
Failing to Check Blind Spots or Mirrors
18-wheelers have large blind spots. If drivers neglect to use their mirrors to check blind spots, they can easily run a car off the road.
The most common and dangerous blind spots in commercial trucks include:
- Up to 20 feet in front of the truck
- The left side of the truck
- The right side of the truck
- Up to 30 feet in the back of the truck
Some blind spot accidents are the result of another driver’s errors. However, in many other cases, truck accidents would have been preventable if the truck driver had checked their blind spot prior to making a lane change.
Nearly 9 percent of all accidents are the result of driver distraction. That includes using cell phones, eating, daydreaming, interacting with passengers, etc. Truck drivers are not immune to modern-day distractions.
Listed below are a few statistics about distracted driving and collisions that you should know:
- Nearly 80% of all accidents involve some form of distracted driving.
- Over a three-year study, researchers found that more than 11,000 truck accidents resulted from distractions outside the truck (i.e., billboards, people watching, etc.).
- More than 400,000 people are injured every year in accidents involving distracted driving.
Distracted driving can result in severe injuries and even death regardless of the type of vehicle. However, distracted truck drivers pose a significantly higher risk for catastrophic damage.
Drunk driving is the cause of thousands of accidents in Florida. Though DUI rules for truck drivers in Florida are strict, some still risk the consequences and get behind the wheel of their 18-wheeler after drinking.
When a truck driver operates a massive commercial vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, it is more difficult for them to:
- Avoid collisions that a sober person would easily recognize.
- React in enough time to make a safe maneuver.
- Judge distances.
- Maintain their attention while driving.
- Safely operate their vehicle during inclement weather conditions.
It’s important to note that truck drivers convicted of driving while under the influence can face both criminal and civil penalties, including license suspension, jail time, criminal record, banishment from truck driving, and personal injury lawsuits.
Truck drivers who operate their 18-wheelers in a manner that puts others in danger can be charged with reckless driving. That’s true even if their reckless behavior was unintentional.
Some of the most common examples of reckless driving exhibited by truck drivers include but are not limited to:
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Merging lanes without checking their mirrors
- Failure to use turn signals
- Tailgating other drivers (especially during traffic jams)
- Swerving while traveling at high speeds
- Road rage and aggressive driving
Interrupted Traffic Flow (bottlenecks caused by construction, congestion, or another accident):
The longer you drive in Florida, the more you get used to endless construction projects and awful traffic. However, it can be much more challenging for an out-of-state truck driver safely to navigate Florida roads – which can lead to serious accidents.
Common reasons for truck accidents resulting from interrupted traffic flows include the following:
- Tight corners and congested lanes
- Sudden stops
- Checking navigational apps to find better routes
- Poor visibility
- Neglecting to check blindspots
- Road rage
Incorrectly Assuming What Other Drivers are Going To Do:
Guessing what another driver will do before they do it can be a dangerous game. That’s especially true for a commercial truck driver who is operating a multi-ton vehicle.
Since truck drivers operate heavy vehicles, they are held to a higher level of responsibility than the typical driver. That means they should exercise extra patience and attentiveness when operating their vehicle. Neglecting to do so can result in catastrophic injuries and damages.
Drivers Unfamiliar with Local Roads (rural roads or freeways):
Florida highways and backroads are famous for hazards, unexpected twists and turns, and surprise intersections. Truck drivers who are unfamiliar with Florida roads can find it difficult to navigate safely. That’s because:
- Navigational devices and apps aren’t always useful on backroads
- Poor visibility
- Sharp turns preceding hills
- Lack of appropriate lighting
- General confusion
- Attempting to pass another driver on a one-lane road can be dangerous
- Poor road conditions
Regardless of the type of road, truckers must adhere to federal and state safety standards when operating a commercial vehicle. Neglecting to do so could result in collisions, injuries, and potentially, death.
The Most Dangerous Highways and Roads Where Truck Accidents are Common in Florida
A few of the most dangerous highways in Florida include I-4, I-10, Reagan Turnpike, and I-95.
Learn more about each below:
- Interstate 4 – One of the busiest, most essential, and congested highways in the entire state.
- Interstate 10 – A rare east-to-west highway known for construction delays, heavy traffic, and devastating accidents.
- Reagan Turnpike – Spanning 11 counties, this is one of the most popular highways for commercial vehicles.
- Interstate 95 – The highway that connects Florida to the rest of the east coast. I-95 is one of the most dangerous interstates in the nation.
Trucks driving on these highways are more likely to be starting a long journey or finishing one.
With that in mind, fast trucks, congested traffic, and notoriously speedy drivers in Florida make the highways one of the most dangerous places for truckers.
According to statistics provided by the Florida Highway Patrol, here are a few facts about the hazards of driving on Florida highways:
- There are more than 400,000 collisions in Florida per year
- More than 250,000 people suffer injuries as a result of automobile crashes
- There are nearly 110,000 hit and run collisions on Florida roads annually
- Recent data suggest more than 32,000 Florida accidents involved a truck
- Florida ranks third in the U.S. for the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks and buses.
In addition to dangerous highways, truck accidents are common in rural areas with poor lighting, smaller roads, and tighter turns. Further, congested cities like Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, etc., are breeding grounds for dangerous conditions for truckers.
What You Should Do If You Have Been Involved in a Truck Accident
If you’ve been involved in a truck collision in Florida, you need to act quickly to ensure you are physically and financially protected. With that in mind, a seasoned Florida truck accident attorney is likely to recommend that you consider taking the following steps after a truck collision:
- Seek immediate medical attention (even if you’re not 100 percent sure you’re injured)
- Take pictures and videos of the accident scene, damages caused, injuries, and the road conditions
- Identify eyewitnesses and obtain their contact information
- Exchange information with the truck driver and other drivers involved in the accident
- Contact the police
- Alert your insurance provider of the accident
- Contact an experienced Florida truck accident lawyer
Drivers who don’t take appropriate steps after a truck collision may not be eligible to bring a claim against the driver or their insurer.
Generally, it’s in your best interest to move as quickly as possible (with the help of your truck accident attorney) to increase the chances of a successful truck accident claim.
Damages Caused by Truck Accidents in Florida
Due to the nature of truck accidents, the injuries and damages sustained by victims are often much more serious than those caused by the typical car accident. Common injuries caused by truck collisions in Florida include:
- Neck and spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries, including Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Facial injuries
- Injuries caused by airbags and seatbelts
- Loss of limbs
- Wrongful death
If you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries caused by a negligent truck driver, you deserve maximum compensation. It’s important to note that individuals involved in truck accidents must file a claim within four years of the accident. However, if a wrongful death occurs, the victim’s family must file a claim within two years.
Continue reading to learn more about potentially recoverable damages from truck collisions.
Compensation to be Recovered by a Truck Accident Lawyer in Florida
Individuals who suffer injuries due to truck driver negligence may recover economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Potentially recoverable damages include but are not limited to:
- Past, present, and future medical bills
- Income lost currently and in the future
- Lost ability to earn an income
- Cost of permanent rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
- Decreased happiness in life
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Punitive damages to punish the driver and their company
- Wrongful death damages
Pursuing a truck accident claim can be complicated, confusing, and drawn-out. That’s especially true without the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Who Do You Sue in a Truck Accident Case?
Determining liability in a truck accident case isn’t as easy as it may seem. That’s true even if the truck driver was clearly negligent or reckless. Truck accident liability can fall on multiple parties, including but not limited to:
- The truck operator
- The company that owns the truck
- The truck manufacturer or parts manufacturer
- Independent contractors
- Another driver
- Third-party distributors
Knowing who to sue in a truck accident case can be confusing and complicated. Generally, the circumstances of your truck accident case determine who you should pursue damages from.
For example, suppose a truck operator causes an accident due to overwork and exhaustion. In that case, both the driver and the trucking company may be liable for damages caused. Further, if a truck accident happens because of a truck’s faulty brakes, the manufacturer may be responsible.
Understanding the root cause of an accident typically requires the savvy, experience, and knowledge of a truck accident lawyer. That’s especially true for cases involving multiple parties and large trucking companies.
Suppose you or a loved one has suffered significant injuries in a Florida truck accident. In that case, you need an attorney who will hold all responsible parties accountable for your injuries and seek maximum compensation. Learn how the truck collision lawyers at Shrier Law Group can help in the next section.
Contact a Trusted Florida Truck Accident Attorney Today!
Proving liability in a truck accident case often requires in-depth investigation, experience negotiating with commercial truck insurers, and hands-on experience with Florida truck laws.
Our truck accident lawyers at Schrier Law Group are confident that we can help you and your family obtain the best possible outcome in your truck accident case.