Were you injured as the result of a semi-truck accident in Daytona Beach? If so, it’s crucial to seek qualified legal representation right away.
Every day, innocent people incur severe injuries because of the negligence of truck drivers, trucking companies and other third parties. Large trucks weigh 20 to 30 times more than small passenger vehicles, and they require 20% to 40% more time and space to stop. These and other factors make 18-wheeler accidents catastrophic incidents for passenger vehicle drivers and their passengers.
After being injured in a big rig accident in Daytona Beach, contact our experienced Daytona Beach truck accident lawyers right away to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.
Truck Crash Statistics: The Sobering Reality of Daytona Beach Truck Accidents
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, passenger vehicle occupants account for the majority of fatalities in trucking accidents. Some statistics regarding truck accidents in the U.S. in 2019 include the following:
- 4,119 people died in trucking accidents
- Of those fatalities, 67% were passenger vehicle occupants, 16% were truck occupants and 15% were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists
- 11% of all motor vehicle crash fatalities occurred in semi-truck accidents
- There were 31% more fatalities from truck crashes in 2019 than in 2009
- 51% of truck accident fatalities occurred on major roads other than freeways, 34% occurred on interstates and freeways and 15% occurred on minor roadways
- 29% of fatal trucking accidents involved head-on collisions, 24% involved side-struck collisions and 24% occurred when the front of the passenger vehicle hit the rear of the semi-truck
Top Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents in Daytona Beach
In 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published its Large Truck Crash Causation Study, reviewing 120,000 semi-truck accidents in the early 2000s. Per the report, more than 80% of such crashes were caused by one of the three following types of events:
- semi-truck ran out of the lane or off the road
- loss of control of big rig due to speed, shifting cargo, vehicle failure or poor road conditions
- rear-ending of passenger vehicle by 18-wheeler
Many semi-truck accidents involve the negligent actions of someone other than the passenger vehicle driver. Some examples include the following:
Truck drivers are subject to a vast array of complex state and federal laws, including hours-of-service regulations. Per federal law, a truck driver may drive a maximum of 11 hours at one stretch and must be off-duty the next 10 hours. They must also take 30-minute breaks for every eight hours of driving.
Unfortunately, many truckers flout these crucial regulations. Their employers often pressure them to push the limits, putting innocent Florida drivers at risk.
Although not very common, some big-rig accidents happen because the truck driver is intoxicated. By law, all drivers must have a blood-alcohol content, or BAC, of 0.08% or less. Truck drivers are held to a higher standard, facing a BAC limit of just 0.04%.
Violation of Traffic Laws
Even though semi-trucks can weigh upwards of 60,000 pounds fully loaded, drivers often disobey traffic laws, causing serious accidents resulting in major injuries and fatalities. Some examples of these violations include the following:
- illegal lane changes
- failing to yield
- not using headlights at night
- texting while driving
- running stop signs or red lights
Faulty, defective or improperly maintained equipment is another major cause of tractor-trailer accidents in Florida. Brake systems sometimes fail, causing catastrophic rear-end collisions. Other times, trucks aren’t loaded properly, making cargo loads shift and causing the truck to lose control.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Given that the typical passenger vehicle weighs around 3,000 pounds – and a semi-truck can weigh up to 60,000 pounds – it’s easy to see why passenger vehicle drivers and passengers are often catastrophically injured in trucking accidents.
Some of the most common types of injuries caused by truck accidents include the following:
- traumatic brain injuries
- spinal cord injuries
- blunt force trauma
- severed limbs
- crushing injuries
People injured in tractor-trailer accidents may also develop post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, a debilitating mental illness.
Who May Be Liable in a Daytona Beach Truck Accident?
If you have been injured in a truck crash, your Daytona Beach truck accident attorney will need to identify who is at fault. Sometimes, multiple parties are liable for such incidents. In those cases, the percentage of fault is determined by a jury. Occasionally, the plaintiff – in other words, the driver of the passenger vehicle – may even be held partially liable.
Potential at-fault parties in a trucking accident include the following:
- the truck driver
- the owner of the truck
- the truck driver’s employer
- the mechanic who worked on the truck
- the person who loaded the truck
- the designer or manufacturer of the truck and its components
- the owner of the property where the accident happened
Proving Negligence in a Daytona Beach Truck Accident Case
When you hire our Daytona Beach personal injury law firm to represent you in your truck accident case, our attorneys must prove all aspects of the case – a standard known as the burden of proof.
For your case to have merit, you must prove the following four elements:
- Duty of Care – All drivers have a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely, but truck drivers are held to a higher standard. Because of all the regulations they are subject to, it’s fairly easy to demonstrate they owed a duty of care. Duty of care must also be shown for other at-fault parties, including trucking companies.
- Breach of Duty – A viable lawsuit will also demonstrate that the negligent party failed to do something they should have done, effectively breaching their duty of care. For example, the driver may have been speeding, texting or driving beyond their federally mandated hours-of-service requirements.
- Causation of Injuries – You must also show that the accident directly caused your injuries and other claimed damages. The defendant may claim that you had pre-existing medical conditions, that you incurred your injuries after the accident or otherwise try to shift the blame onto you.
- Damages – The lawsuit must also provide evidence of any damages you are claiming, including medical bills, proof of loss of income and witness statements regarding your pain and suffering.
Types of Damages in Daytona Beach Truck Driving Lawsuits
If you are injured in a big-rig accident because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to economic and non-economic damages.
Medical expenses often make up a large portion of economic damages and may include doctor’s visits, hospital stays, surgical procedures, physical therapy and even estimated future medical costs.
Other economic damages may include lost wages, which your Daytona Beach truck accident lawyer can provide evidence of in the form of paystubs, W-2 forms, tax returns and bank statements. You may also be owed damages for lost earning capacity if you cannot continue doing the type of work you did before and can demonstrate such.
Monetary damages are just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to truck accident lawsuits. Victims also often suffer intangible, non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. Juries are entitled to assign any value they want for pain and suffering in such cases. Our Daytona Beach truck accident law firm will collect evidence to prove your pain and suffering, including witness statements and photos and videos of you before and after the accident.
First Steps Following a Daytona Beach Big Rig Accident
If you are injured in a truck accident in the Daytona Beach area, you should seek medical treatment immediately – even if you don’t seem to have any obvious injuries.
Next, retain our Daytona Beach truck accident law firm to ensure that your rights are protected and that you collect all of your owed damages. Some of the first steps our attorneys will take include the following:
- send a spoliation letter to the insurance company, trucking company and other potentially liable parties, demanding them to preserve key pieces of evidence
- send accident reconstruction experts to the scene
- review the black box and other computerized accident-related data as quickly as possible – before the defendant can alter or destroy it
- file a lawsuit to preserve and obtain crucial evidence
What Not to Do After a Truck Accident in Daytona Beach
After being injured in a large truck accident, the worst mistake you can make is not retaining a qualified Daytona Beach truck accident attorney right away. Our law firm will advocate for you and advise you to ensure that your case has the best odds of success.
Another major misstep to avoid after being injured in a big-rig accident is communicating with the trucking company or their insurance company. These entities often send “disaster response teams” to accident scenes to mitigate any potentially damaging evidence against them. Insurance adjusters are notorious for getting victims to make statements that negatively impact their lawsuits. They also often offer low-ball settlements, hoping to avoid paying the full amount they should.
Finally, it’s vital not to post anything online about your trucking accident – even if your accounts are private. Anything you post can be used against you to reduce the amount of damages you may collect.
How Our Daytona Beach Trucking Accident Lawyers Prove Cases
After hiring a qualified attorney to represent you in your Daytona Beach semi-trailer accident case, your legal team will use the discovery process to collect key pieces of evidence, including witness statements, personnel records, truck driver logs and other documents. The sooner this is done, the better because significant evidence often gets pushed under the rug by unscrupulous defendants.
If the trucking company disputes liability, your attorney will send a long list of document requests right away. Our law firm may also hire experts to explain technical aspects of the incident and medical experts to explain how the accident affected you.
Our Daytona Beach law firm has handled numerous cases involving truck accident injuries and fatalities. We know how to counteract the tactics used by insurance companies, trucking companies and other third parties. Most importantly, we will act on your behalf, allowing you to focus on what matters: recovering from the accident.
Speak With A Daytona Beach Truck Accident Lawyer Near Me Today
People are seriously injured in truck accidents in Daytona Beach all the time. If it’s happened to you, make sure to line up qualified legal representation right away. Our law firm is ready to assist, so contact us today for a free truck accident consultation.