Florida Semi Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck accidents can have devastating results

Accidents involving large trucks are among the most serious and most deadly in the state of Florida. Being involved in a driving accident with a large truck is very different from a crash involving a typical car accident between two vehicles. Drivers and passengers in an average vehicle or motorcycle often don’t stand a chance against a large, powerful tractor-trailer in the event of a trucking accident.

Truck accident victims usually suffer devastating and debilitating injuries that often result in death or permanent injuries, as well as overwhelming financial damages. That is why it is crucial to hire a truck accident lawyer, to ensure that you and your family receive just compensation.

tractor trailer truck, at risk of a truck accident because of multiple trailers

Common causes of commercial truck accidents

  • Inadequate driver training
  • Failing to obey traffic laws
  • Defective trucking equipment
  • Insufficient vehicle maintenance
  • Distracted driving
  • Driver speeding
  • Unfamiliarity with the area
  • Driver drug/alcohol use, drunk driving
  • Unsecured loads
  • Driver negligence
  • Driver fatigue

Truck Driver Fatigue

Truck driver fatigue is a common problem as hours of service regulations are routinely violated. Careful examination of records after a tractor trailer accident can often prove serious and even fraudulent violations of state and federal safety regulations. Florida attempts to deal with this by imposing strict rules on the number of hours a driver can be at the wheel of a large truck.

However, trucking companies are only required to maintain many of those records for six months. Without obtaining those records before they are destroyed, the injured person or survivors of a person killed in a truck accident have a much more difficult time proving the trucking company’s negligence.

How commercial truck accidents are different from car accidents

Commercial trucks are a category of big trucks with a gross weight of over ten thousand pounds. They include 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, garbage trucks, tanker trucks, moving vans, dump trucks, cement trucks, cargo trucks, garbage trucks, delivery vans, construction trucks, big flat-bed trucks, and tow trucks.

Large trucks are governed by state and federal laws, and safety regulations. Accidents involving any of these large vehicles are typically more dangerous and complicated than an auto accident involving two cars. A collision with an 18-wheeler or tractor trailer has the potential to cause severe injuries, which can include a burn injury, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and many types of injury.

tanker truck driving safely to avoid a trucking accident

Accidents are more complex to investigate

Evidence gathering is more extensive for an accident attorney handling a tractor trailer accident. Sometimes multiple defendants are involved, and there are intricate laws and regulations governing truck drivers and trucking companies. Investigating and pursuing this type of claim is much more complex and time-consuming than your standard motor vehicle or car accident. Many personal injury attorneys don’t deal with the complexities of tractor trailer truck accidents, so it is very important to choose an experienced truck accident lawyer to represent you.

Truck Accident Statistics

The following represents facts and figures regarding large truck accidents and the severe damages they inflict on our roadways every year:

  • Over 11% of all traffic fatalities resulted from a wreck involving a large or semi truck.
  • Over 250,000 large trucks (gross vehicle weight rating) were involved in traffic crashes in the United States.
  • More than 3000 people have died and an additional 70,000 have been injured in large truck crashes each year.
  • Large trucks have accounted for 7 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes and 3 percent of all vehicles involved in a injury and property-damage-only wreck.
  • Almost three-quarter of all fatalities in large truck crashes were occupants of other vehicles involved in the accident.
  • Large trucks were much more likely to be involved in a fatal multiple-vehicle crash – as opposed to a fatal single-vehicle accident.
  • Most of the fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred in rural areas, during the daytime, and on weekdays.

Who can be held liable?

There are potentially several people or entities that can be held responsible by law for economic damages for an accident involving a tractor trailer, 18-wheeler, or any commercial truck. Besides the driver, other persons or entities who may be responsible include the owner of the truck, the company that the driver is working for, the person or entity designated accountable for inspecting and maintaining the vehicle (independent of the owner or driver), and the person or entity responsible for loading the truck (independent of the driver, employer or owner). Determining the different insurance companies involved in a trucking accident case can be difficult because the trailer and the truck are frequently insured by different companies. A truck accident lawyer then has to determine whether they can prove if one or both are potentially liable or guilty of negligence.

How is driver negligence determined?

Tractor trailer or 18 wheeler accidents require extensive study to determine liability. In examining responsibility on behalf of the truck driver, there are many factors to be considered. An official investigation is always conducted at the scene of an accident, and the results will prove if there was any driver error such as speeding, driving under the influence, improper lane change, ignoring traffic devices and failure to yield.

It must be confirmed that the driver underwent the requisite training and secured a specialized license to drive a commercial truck. It also must be proven that the driver maintained a legal driver’s log, and adhered to all restrictions regarding designated routing, safety precautions for any transported materials, and that the truck was properly inspected and maintained.

truck on its side after being in a truck accident

What to do after a trucking accident

What you do in the crucial few minutes immediately following an accident with a commercial truck where there were injuries can have a significant impact on how well you recover, both physically and financially. Unfortunately, your thinking during these first few minutes will likely be clouded by the natural fear and disorientation you may feel. These feelings can be further compounded if you or a loved one were injured in the accident. Despite the limitations of the situation, you must understand clearly what accident information to gather at the scene so that you can have access to the information you need.

Exchanging information

After the police have been called and it is safe to do so, you should find the details about the accident and the other drivers involved. The information about any other driver involved that you will need to collect include:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Telephone number
  • Driver’s license number and expiration date
  • Insurance company information
  • Make, model, and license plate number of car involved

It is crucial that you write down the names of any witnesses to the trucking accident. If possible, take pictures of damage to your vehicle and the entire accident scene. All of this information may be vital for your insurance claim and to receive compensation if you find yourself needing to file a legal claim down the road. Clear thinking at the time of the accident and accurate gathering of pertinent truck accident information may make the difference between having to cover the medical and property damage costs on your own and receiving the compensation to which you are entitled. Passing this information to your truck accident attorney helps their law firm start their investigation quickly.

Share the road safely

Every time you drive an interstate highway or other major road, there is the potential for driving behind or passing a large commercial truck. Here are some ways to reduce the risk of a potential trucking accident and stay safe.

  • Stay where the driver of the truck can see you. Know where their blind spots are and avoid them when possible. When directly behind a truck, you should be able to see their mirrors on both sides. If you can’t, you are following too closely to be seen by the driver.
  • Stay a safe distance behind a large truck so that you have enough room to either slow down or change lanes when necessary.
  • Use turn signals when passing a truck or moving over in front of them, so they can react accordingly.
  • When moving over in front of a truck, do not cut too closely in front of them. Many cars make this mistake and cause an accident because the truck can’t react quickly with a load behind them.
  • To sum it up, be sure truck drivers can see you, know what your intentions are, and have enough room to slow down or turn. Don’t treat them as if they are another car on the road.

truck accident attorney

Why you need a truck accident lawer

You should contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as you can after the accident. When you have been in an accident with a large truck, you are dealing with more than just an individual and their insurance company. The business or responsible parties may have deep pockets and some of them have insurance coverage in the millions of dollars. They will launch an investigation almost immediately, so you need legal help and someone working for you to prevent evidence that could prove liability from being mishandled, lost, or destroyed by the trucking company.

If you or a family member has suffered severe injuries as a result of a collision involving a commercial truck, obtain competent legal counsel from a trucking accident attorney with a record of success. Truck accident claims can be very complicated, involving catastrophic injuries, death, accident investigators, expert witnesses, legal teams, federal regulations, and commercial insurance carriers.

How our truck accident lawyer can help

You need an attorney with experience in tractor trailer accident cases. These are not typical car accidents, and they often require filing a truck accident lawsuit and going to court. Trucking companies and their insurance providers usually mount a strong defense and can be aggressive in the tactics they use against you.

The law firm of Zervos & Calta, PLLC, has personal injury lawyers with over 45 years of combined litigation experience, and they are dedicated to fighting to ensure that every truck accident client receives a fair truck accident settlement for pain and suffering.

Contact our personal injury law firm to ensure that the statute of limitations doesn’t run out for your case. Your initial consultation with one of our injury attorneys is free, and the contingency fee is covered when the case is settled.

To discuss your accident injuries and your case with an experienced truck accident attorney, contact us by filling out the form on the right or call 727-937-3171 to schedule a free phone consultation.

Visit us in one of our convenient Tampa Bay office locations in Spring Hill, Tarpon SpringsSt. Petersburg, and Clearwater. If you are unable to come to us, we will come to you.

We also help clients in Trinity, Safety Harbor, Oldsmar, Westchase, Hudson, Elfers, Holiday, Bayonet Point, and New Port Richey.