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.
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.
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.
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.
The following represents facts and figures regarding large truck accidents and the severe damages they inflict on our roadways every year:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 Springs, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater. If you are unable to come to us because of your injuries, we will come to you.
We also help clients in Trinity, Safety Harbor, Oldsmar, Westchase, Hudson, Elfers, Holiday, Bayonet Point, and New Port Richey.