The transportation of goods and materials for businesses in Florida is a necessity. We rely on big rigs to deliver everything from the food we eat, clothes we wear, and essentials such as supplies needed in our homes. Unfortunately, these mammoth vehicles can also be hazardous. The tragedies caused by semi-trucks are all too familiar, with some 500,000 truck accidents occurring annually. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Florida joins just nine other states accounting for half of all fatal truck crashes in the United States. Negligence usually falls on the numerous companies that participated in transporting the load and may bear some fault for the crash, not just the truck driver and trucking company. These accidents often result in a lawsuit because they cause catastrophic injuries and wrongful death cases. Unfortunately, these calamitous accidents happen every day. The Truck Accident Law Firm has confidence in the legal process and believes that it is our duty to explain our litigation strategy and ensure you are comfortable with the progress of your case.
The physical, emotional, and financial damage that’s left along the wreckage can be shocking and devastating. When you have been in an accident, you deserve fair compensation for your loss. These losses can include medical bills, repair costs, lost wages, a diminished lifestyle, and a loved one’s death in the most tragic cases. Our firm wants to ensure you are never alone. We make sure that our clients can talk directly with their attorney, not just our staff. While we have legal assistants and paralegals to assist in your case, we understand the importance of asking a question directly to the attorney handling the matter. Our clients know that we are always just a phone call away.
Let’s begin with how these types of accidents happen.
A fully loaded semi-truck is 22 times bigger than the average automobile. The weight of a tractor-trailer ranges from 35,000 pounds empty and 80,000 pounds fully loaded.
When you see one traveling down the road, it consists of two parts:
the cab, sometimes called the tractor, and the trailer. Standard size semi-trailers are about 53 feet long. When you add the cab’s length, the entire semi-truck is between 70 and 80 feet long. For the sake of comparison, most passenger vehicles are between 14 and 18 feet long. Even the most oversized SUVs, such as a Cadillac Escalade or a Chevrolet Suburban, are under 19 feet long. This difference can have many implications; one being a car driver can swerve from obstacles a truck cannot because it is far less agile than a car. Additionally, tractor-trailers need up to 40% more space to stop than passenger vehicles. Because of their enormous size, semi-truck has a long braking distance. It typically takes the length of two football fields for a big rig to come to a complete stop after the brakes are applied. The distance can be even greater on wet or slippery roads or if the truck brakes are poorly maintained. That is why tractor trailers are so dangerous when they come upon a stopped or stalled vehicle.
Overloaded and incorrectly loaded semi-trucks can cause fatalities. Far too often, trucks are carrying too much cargo or carrying it incorrectly. There are regulations in place to prevent this type of accident, but unfortunately, they are not always followed. If a truck driver is negligent in correctly securing his/her load, the results can be catastrophic. When cargo loads shift in transit, the vehicle’s center of gravity changes and can cause the driver to lose control. A driver should check the cargo after driving the first 50 miles to make sure nothing came loose. After that, the freight should be checked every 150 miles. Every company and any person that interacts with the truck’s cargo and their actions is deemed irresponsible and careless upon loading the cargo will be held liable.
Truck drivers work incredibly long hours, and although federal laws are regulating how many hours someone can drive, those rules are often ignored due to deadlines. 1 in 4 truck drivers have admitted to fallings asleep while operating their vehicle, and fatigue is a major factor in truck accidents.
Other problems that drivers can face include mechanical failure, objects on the highway, and poor road conditions.
There are plenty of steps you can take to avoid truck crashes. With a truck’s wide perimeter, maintaining a solid distance behind, in front, and both sides of them is crucial. If road conditions are poor, you’ll want to give trucks as much space as possible. It’s important to remember you are less than 5% of their size.
It’s also known that the majority of people who die because of a car accident are passengers. Many of these collisions could be avoided by following road safety rules.
What are the effects of an accident?
Physical damage can be seen immediately, like cuts and bruises. However, you must seek medical attention after an accident to check for broken bones and head injuries. Scratches, burns, fractures, loss of limbs, spine and back surgeries can all show hours to days post-accident making it crucial to visit a medical professional. In the most severe cases, these truck cases lead to death.
In 2016, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s data showed 102 people died in car crashes every day in the US.
Often, the physical damage of a car accident is more evident than the emotional. Emotional damage can last far longer than physical damage and may interfere with your everyday life. Truck crashes can result in severe anxiety, PTSD, depression, and behavior chairs.
Many people suffer financially after a car accident. Being injured in an accident could mean you’re unable to work for a period of time which can dramatically decrease your income. Accidents can also lead to financial struggles, which can further worsen anxiety and symptoms of depression. If you are in this situation, it is best to get a financial advisor rather than continue to bury your head in the sand.
How can an attorney help?
Dealing with laws, insurance agents, and large trucking companies can be overwhelming. A lawyer can help. Having an attorney on your side means that you have peace of mind. The sooner you call a lawyer, the stronger your case will be. A good lawyer knows what evidence to collect and use and how to prove your case effectively.
The benefit of hiring a trial lawyer is that we can fully evaluate your case, examine all of the claim elements, and make sure that you obtain maximum value from the insurance carrier insuring those commercial vehicles. A lot of these accidents are serious accidents. You’ve got big trucks, and you’ve got injured people, so you want a trial lawyer that’s going to communicate with you and effectively evaluate your case.
We’d love to evaluate your case. Often, an insurance carrier in cases like these will try to box you in and try to settle the claim for as little as possible. One benefit of hiring a trial attorney is that we will try to get the max out of your case, but it takes time to do that.
Truck accidents are preventable, and you and your loved ones don’t have to be affected by careless drivers or avoidable mistakes. By knowing the causes, what to look for, and how an attorney can help you, YOU can be one step ahead of a truck accident.