Trucks are a necessary part of the economy, tasked with consumer goods’ never-ending shipments, from coast to coast, border to border. They haul your favorite electronic products, furniture pieces, and even your go-to food items. Unfortunately, riding with these trucks side-by-side on the road can be quite terrifying.
When a huge one drives by your car, they block out the sun in a looming presence, making you tense up just a little bit. Blocked all the way, you wait and hold your breath until they successfully pass you by – and for a good reason.
These enormous metal machines can destroy your car in an instant, making your slight fear entirely rational. Unfortunately, truck accidents are more common than you think. In the overcrowded roads and highways of Florida, truck accidents often happen and lead to fatal injuries—even death.
Should you find yourself injured or a loved one killed in a truck accident in Florida, it’s essential to understand the extent of your rights. You have all the right to receive fair compensation, whether through a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance claim. Either way, you’ll need to prepare well, as well as enlist the help of a truck accident lawyer.
To help you get started, we’ve gathered all the necessary information you need to win your case successfully. From understanding the causes down to ways you can win your case, our experienced attorneys created a comprehensive guide. Let’s begin.
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What types of trucks usually suffer from accidents?
- Tanker trucks: These tankers carry gas or liquid substances, most of which are toxic and flammable. Unfortunately, they are often involved in road accidents, leading to fatal consequences due to the load they carry.
- Dump and garbage trucks: These are frequently common around the area, as they are necessary for keeping the surroundings clean. Unfortunately, drivers suffer from limited views and blind spots. As a result, accidents usually happen, such as property damage and pedestrian accidents.
- Flatbed trucks: These have open trailers, used mainly to transport various goods. Unfortunately, these items’ improper loading can cause spills on major highways, leading to multi-car accidents and fatal injuries.
What are the usual causes of truck accidents?
Accidents involving large trucks are usually catastrophic, as they can happen due to various reasons in every possible weather. Considering the ratio of trucks to passenger cars, people in the smaller vehicle are more susceptible to severe injury, almost always resulting in death.
However, before anything else, it’s essential to address a crucial fact: driving 18-wheeler trucks is challenging, especially on highways and city streets. Truck drivers must go through intense training and special licensing, but accidents usually happen due to negligent behavior.
To fully understand how these unfortunate accidents occur, here are some of the most common causes:
Cause #1: On The Driver’s End
Accidents can happen due to various factors, but more often than not, they can be the truck driver’s fault. Distracted driving can be one of the most common reasons, especially if they are frequently checking their mobile devices. Fatigue is also a culprit, especially since these trucks travel from various locations.
When it comes to highway accidents, however, speeding is the most common accident cause. The faster you drive, the longer it will take you to stop—and for trucks, suddenly hitting the brake will not work. In its wake will be danger and destruction, mainly due to the law of inertia. This is also coupled with various reasons, including a lack of experience, poor judgment, and even failure to obey traffic rules.
Cause #2: On The Passenger Car’s End
While it’s true that truck drivers can often be found negligent, they’re not solely responsible for these tragic roadway accidents. Passenger cars can also contribute to collisions, especially if they decide to drive behind or beside a truck driver’s blind spot. Distracted driving can also be a cause, as with driving under the influence.
Failure to obey traffic rules, such as the orchestration of illegal maneuvers and cutting off trucks, can also cause accidents. Following too closely behind is also a dangerous position, and although accidents are unintentional, practicing a little more caution is necessary.
Cause #3: The Employer’s End
Under the law, trucking companies are expected to comply with specific rules and regulations, particularly for safety. They are expected to regularly inspect, maintain, and repair their trucks regularly, followed by updated reports and files. Should road accidents happen, the employer can also be held accountable if negligence can be proven.
Any failure to properly train drivers, for instance, can be grounds for negligence cases. Imposing unrealistic quotas on their drivers can also be a factor, as this can lead to fatigue. Violating hours of service limitations is also not allowed, as certain hours can be dangerous for driving, especially at night or in inclement weather.
Failure to inspect and maintain their vehicles also leads to unwarranted accidents, mostly if they willingly ignored defects.
Cause #4: On The Manufacturer’s End
Another party can be deemed responsible for truck accidents, but manufacturers often do not go unnoticed. Their errors and defects in design can reduce lives, especially since most of these trucks are deemed as “safe to go.” Unfortunately, defective parts lead to severe accidents, especially if brakes and other safety features fail during travel.
Investigations can usually determine fault, which can include the following defects and manufacturing errors:
- Suspension issues
- Faulty brakes
- Steering problems
- Defective tires
- Powertrain problems
What should I do following a truck accident?
Provided that you come out conscious after the accident and fit to perform, evaluate, and help, here are the necessary steps you must:
- Step 1: Step out of the accident scene: Your safety is paramount to avoid potential risks; step away from the accident site. Assess your surroundings properly, and make sure that you have no injuries. Once you’ve fully regained your senses, proceed to the next step.
- Step 2: Provide reasonable assistance to those who need it: Florida law requires anyone who can assist during an accident to help, but it’s common decency to help anyone who has been injured after a truck accident. Call an ambulance as soon as you can, making sure to keep the injured person safe until help arrives. Should you be able, make sure to clear up any debris that may cause further accidents.
- Step 3: Report the truck accident: Once you’ve ascertained that medical help is on the way, contact the police as soon as possible. They will develop a crash report, mainly if it results in property damage, injury, and even death. They’ll also be able to render further help when it comes to ensuring safety and gather information, witness accounts, and of course, begin the investigation of the accident’s cause.
- Step 4: Collect all necessary information, such as witness accounts: Unfortunately, finding witnesses after the accident can be difficult. Your best hope will be to identify witnesses right at the scene, ensuring that you collect their details. Make sure to write down their names, contact details, address, and even their statements if they are willing to testify. A signed written word can do, but a video recording can also help with investigations.
- Step 5: Take photographs: You’ll likely be carrying a mobile device, so be sure to take many pictures of the accident scene. Take photos of the road, the vehicles, and every single damage you can see. It’s also paramount that you take pictures of the truck involved, including the plate number.
- Step 6: Talk to your insurers and call a lawyer: It will be challenging to know for sure who has caused the accident, and you’ll need to wait on the official police report before acting. However, it’s best to notify your insurance company as soon as you can. It’s also paramount that you contact a lawyer, significantly if you or a loved one has been injured or if you wish to seek compensation for your damaged property. It’s important to note that the other party’s team will likely be contacting you for settlement offers, but never say yes—make sure you have an attorney by your side. Once you accept the offer, winning a case will be impossible. Should you suffer from extensive injuries, you will be on the losing end of the bargain.
- Step 7: Collate all the documents: Injured or not at the scene, you’ll likely be incurring medical costs, especially since most injuries do not show immediately. You’ll be subject to multiple diagnostic tests, not to mention emergency room care. All these can be expensive, so along with your documentation, make sure to collate medical bills and test results. Tracking your life after the crash can also be helpful, especially if you’re dealing with emotional trauma. In doing so, you’ll be able to gather enough evidence to ensure that you win your case.
Who should be held accountable?
This question is paramount to your case’s success, as determining who should be held accountable can be difficult. Should you file a lawsuit against the driver, company, or both? As the truck accident victim, you hold power to sue the truck driver involved and the trucking company, especially since you have every right to claim proper compensation for your injuries. You’ll likely be tempted only to hold the truck driver accountable, but bear in mind that accidents can happen not just due to their neglect, but the company.
Practically speaking, suing the truck driver will likely lead your lawsuit nowhere. They will be placed in prison, but any compensation will be nonexistent. They may not have the capability to compensate you for your injuries, especially if it involves multiple damages, including property damage and medical bills.
For these reasons, it’s always best to simply put the trucking company in question. They will have the resources and capabilities to handle a lawsuit, especially if the accident is severe. They will likely have insurance, as well as all the means to pay for the damages you deserve to get. They can also be the root cause of negligence, especially if you can prove that the driver they hired is not experienced or if they knowingly allowed a damaged or defective vehicle to travel. Bear in mind that companies are subject to maintenance and repair laws, and failure to comply with these regulations will result in negligence.
Various factors may come into play, primarily since a third party can be involved—the manufacturer. If you can prove that the manufacturer has a history of selling defective trucks, then you’ll be able to sue not only the trucking company but the manufacturer.
If you remain unsure about who to hold accountable for your injuries and suffering, make sure to contact a personal injury lawyer. They’ll help you assess your current situation, as well as guide you in the right direction. When it comes to seeking justice, it only fits that you receive proper help.
Contact A Truck Accident Attorney In Florida To Discuss Your Accident and Injuries Today
The most stressful part about handling truck accidents will be communication. Bear in mind that such accidents will mean a blow to the trucking company’s reputation, and a lawsuit will only tarnish their image further. For this reason, an insurance representative will likely reach out to you for settlement, and the numbers will always be tempting. Unfortunately, this number will be nothing compared to the compensation and damages you can receive should you pursue a lawsuit against the parties involved.
For this reason, it’s always best to seek the help of a qualified attorney, especially when it comes to handling communications. Not only will they provide you with sound advice, but they’ll also represent you in all legal matters, ensuring that you do not fall prey to any scheme. Fighting for justice means fighting well, which means not settling—especially when fearsome trucks are involved.
For the best personal injury lawyers in Florida, Shiner Law Group has you covered. We offer you tailored solutions designed to help you receive the justice you deserve, especially when it comes to accidents borne out of negligence. Allow us to represent you—book a free consultation with us today.