Joseph Camerlengo and Gregg Anderson establish new law firm as part of effort to create “truck crash dream team.”

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in 2015 – the most recent year federal statistics are available — there were more than 537,000 traffic crashes involving semitrailers, buses and other large commercial vehicles.

Those accidents resulted in nearly 4,400 fatalities, 138,000 injuries and 395,000 instances of property damage only.

From 2009 to 2015, the number of fatal crashes increased by 20 percent while the number of crashes causing injury went up 64 percent.

And, based on the improving economy that’s leading to more interstate commerce, those statistics are likely to continue to rise, said attorney Joseph Camerlengo. He and Gregg Anderson recently left the Coker, Schickel, Sorenson, Posgay, Camerlengo & Iracki law firm to establish Camerlengo & Anderson.

The partners moved into offices on the ninth floor of the Stein Mart Building on the Southbank Downtown to specialize in representing plaintiffs in truck, bus and large commercial vehicle accident litigation.

The first time Camerlengo represented a client in a truck crash action was 10 years after a 19-year-old woman was killed when a truck collided with her car. He began specializing in large vehicle cases about five years ago.

For Anderson, it was more personal. His brother had a head-on collision with a semitrailer.

“Fortunately, he survived. But I understand the impact,” Anderson said.

Camerlengo and Anderson have joined forces with two other attorneys who also specialize in large vehicle accident damages litigation: Joseph Fried of Fried Rogers Goldberg in Atlanta, and Michael Leizerman of E.J. Leizerman & Associates in Toledo, Ohio.

The plan is to create the “truck crash dream team,” Anderson said.

The overall practice group – branded “The Truck Accident Law Firm” – is licensed in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New York and Tennessee.

Camerlengo said the federal laws regulating commercial vehicles and interstate commerce are complex. Establishing responsibility and coverage and then proving liability takes experience because the practice is so specialized.

The total amount of settlements won for clients in the past year by all the partners in the group was about $200 million and “you’ve got to have the knowledge and the muscle. You don’t want a car crash lawyer on a truck crash,” Camerlengo said.

He and Anderson, along with trial attorneys Leslie Sloan, formerly of Coker Schickel, Heather Solanka, formerly with the Akerman firm, and support staff are working in a 6,000-square-foot office suite with a view of the Northbank skyline and the St. Johns River spanning from LaVilla to Southside.

Camerlengo said the firm could double in size in the space, and he has an option on more space in the building.

“We think we’ll grow as – unfortunately – the number of truck crashes increases.”