Were you recently injured in a truck accident in Orlando, FL? Our experienced Orlando truck accident lawyers at Shiner Law Group are ready to help fight for your legal rights and get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (407) 305-0566 to speak with an attorney for a 100% free consultation.
You may be entitled to seek compensation for medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, and more. Contact our Orlando, FL law offices to discuss the legal options that might be available to you following your truck accident. The next steps are very important. Let Shiner Law Group help you with your truck accident case today.
Were You Injured In A Truck Accident In Orlando?
Truck drivers are responsible for transporting goods from one location to the next. While they must ensure items arrive on time and in good condition, they must also operate their trucks safely. Otherwise, they risk harming other drivers on the way to their destination.
Unfortunately, accidents do occur for a number of reasons. These collisions can cause serious injuries. At the Shiner Law Group, our knowledgeable and trusted Orlando truck accident lawyer is committed to helping you or a loved one recover the compensation you deserve.
What Causes Truck Accidents in Orlando, FL?
According to the Bureau of Transportation, there are over 13 million registered trucks in the U.S. The weight of each truck can be in the tens of thousands while carrying a full load. Truck drivers must move with caution despite the type of cargo they are carrying.
Because slow-moving trucks can clog traffic, passenger vehicles are often forced to maneuver around them. Most accidents happen during turns or lane changes, even when traffic slows. Yet, this is only one reason for truck accidents.
Poor driver visibility on the side and rear view may also lead to a collision with a truck. Regardless of the cause of a serious or fatal collision, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety reports that 10% of highway deaths involved a large truck and passenger vehicle.
Of this percentage, nearly 100% of the deaths were people in the passenger vehicle. Large trucks, combined with poor visibility and maneuverability, become a hazard to anyone sharing the same road.
This is true even if the truck driver did not cause the accident on purpose. Negligence is not solely dependent on driver intent. What is important is whether the truck driver should have behaved differently to avoid a crash. Otherwise, they may be found liable for your losses.
Negligent Orlando Truck Driver Behaviors
Generally, driver error is the most common cause of truck accidents. Any mistake a truck driver makes could lead to a negligent ruling and a settlement for you.
Driver is Under the Influence
Florida Statute §316.193 holds any driver under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances guilty and subject to penalties of the law. A DUI conviction can lead to a fine and imprisonment.
Impaired driving is dangerous, especially when handling a truck weighing thousands of pounds. Truck drivers under the influence may struggle to maintain control and cause an accident for a number of reasons, including:
- Slower reaction time
- Decreased eye-hand coordination
- Limited perception of distance and time
- Failure to avoid a hazard on the highway
Looking at a device or trying to complete a task removes the truck driver’s focus. Such distractions make it harder to see a hazard in time. Not paying proper attention can lead to a devastating crash.
Some items that may cause a truck driver to become distracted include:
- Reading printed materials
- Answering text messages or phone calls
- Handling radio or climate controls
- Passengers in the cab
If you believe a distraction caused a truck accident, we can help to prove their negligence in the accident.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and state authorities set the rules for the trucking industry. The FMCSA regulates trucking companies that engage in interstate trucking. Commercial trucks that travel within Florida are subject to Florida regulations.
To combat driver fatigue, truck drivers must adhere to the limits for how long they can be behind the wheel. Violating these hours of services laws can lead to them being found negligent if an injury crash occurs.
Working long hours for consecutive days makes it impossible for truck drivers to drive safely. If you suspect fatigue or any other form of negligence caused your accident, an Orlando truck accident attorney can build a case against all parties responsible for compensating you or a loved one.
Before drivers can obtain the right to operate 40-ton trucks, medical fitness screenings are required under federal trucking regulations. Keeping a driver on the road despite conditions such as uncontrolled sleep apnea exposes them to liability if a crash occurs because of their medical condition.
How Orlando Truck Accidents Differ from Car Accidents
Truck driver behaviors are the same as drivers of other vehicles. Still, there are stark differences between being in a car accident versus a large truck accident. An honest truck accident lawyer will admit there are at least five ways injury cases differ from car accident claims.
- Multiple parties may be liable in a truck accident case. A car accident is typically between you and a negligent driver. On the other hand, a truck accident may involve the driver, trucking company, and truck manufacturer.
- Operational or mechanical hazards may be the cause of the truck accident. Cargo shifts or blind spots can contribute to a collision with a truck. Unbalanced, loose or shifts in cargo become hazardous. The size of a truck makes breaking in time or safely maneuvering the truck nearly impossible. Normal-sized vehicles are not subject to the same dangers.
- More truck accidents cause serious or fatal injuries. A passenger vehicle may weigh 3,000 pounds compared to an 80,000-pound truck with cargo. Traveling at high speeds, these trucks become harder to control and stop. The result is an accident due to size discrepancy where extensive injuries or death occurs.
- Important evidence, such as truck driver records, may be falsified or destroyed. Even before you can file a claim, important evidence from the crash may get manipulated. Black box data contains driver records that the trucking company may destroy in an effort to avoid liability.
- Some trucking companies immediately send a legal team to the accident scene. Most trucking companies begin preparing for a case before you think about calling a truck accident attorney. Their crash investigation team may arrive shortly after the accident.
Types of Orlando Truck Accidents
Three of the most common types of truck accidents that may occur include the following:
- Jackknife – This accident happens when the truck’s trailer travels upright relative to the tractor. Once a jackknife starts, the truck driver may be unable to act fast enough to counter the movements.
- Rollover – High speeds introduce many scenarios that increase the likelihood of a collision. Winds interact with the trailer after the driver makes a sharp turn. Combine improper cargo loading with speed and a truck not maintained, and the probability of a truck falling on its side increases. Road conditions, weather, and surrounding traffic only add to the magnitude of the crash.
- Runaway – There are a number of reasons that a driver can lose control of the truck. One example is the truck accelerating from a steep grade where the air brakes fail to engage. Overheated disc brakes can also cause the truck to run away. Regaining control becomes impossible and dangerous to other drivers in the immediate area.
Basic Rules in an Orlando, Florida Truck Accident Case
There are some basic things to remember if you are considering legal action. The state of Florida has laws that an Orlando lawyer will know to build your case for injuries and damages.
For starters, Florida is a no-fault insurance state. The initial claim is filed with your insurance company instead of the at-fault truck driver’s insurer. Secondly, you can directly sue the at-fault party after a catastrophic accident for a number of reasons, including:
- Permanent injury
- Significant permanent disfigurement or scarring
- Permanent loss of a bodily function
- Death of a loved one
Florida follows comparative negligence rules if you think you are partially responsible for the accident. In this scenario, you may be entitled to a reduced financial reward that reflects your contribution to the crash.
Common Injuries in Orlando Truck Accidents
When a passenger vehicle collides with a big rig, the accident can be devastating. This is especially true for the passenger vehicle’s driver and their occupants. They are the ones who sustain the worst injuries and damages.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles allows semi-trucks to weigh up to 40 tons. All that weight colliding with your passenger vehicle may cause you and your passengers significant life-changing injuries.
Some injuries that you or a loved one may experience after a collision with a truck include:
- Neck: whiplash affects normal head movement
- Back: broken back or spinal cord injuries leading to losing freedom of movement or paralysis
- Broken bones: arms, collarbones, legs and ribs
- Other musculoskeletal injuries: torn muscles, ligament damage, tendon damage
- Head: concussion, loss of senses, disfigurement, traumatic brain injuries
- Damaged internal organs: kidneys, stomach, lungs
- Internal bleeding
- Amputation injuries
Your situation is understood by our law firm. It could take weeks or months for your severe injuries to improve. During this time, your household expenses cannot be put on hold. Add new medical bills, and your bad situation is more distressing.
Paralysis and a significant loss in quality of life make it extremely difficult for you and your family. Our truck accident legal team will seek damages for current treatments and future losses connected to your injuries.
Knowing that your injuries were because of another person’s negligence only exacerbates the situation. Paying for a mistake made by someone else is difficult to accept. Fortunately, our skilled legal representation means you may not have to accept it.
Potential Damages in a Truck Accident Claims in Orlando
Damages refer to the compensation victims are entitled to receive following an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. The more serious your injuries, the more you may be able to recover.
Based on the serious nature of injuries following truck accidents, compensation is usually much more than accident claims for other vehicle accidents. After a truck collision, you or your loved one may be entitled to receive compensation for:
- Medical bills. Medical expenses may cover ambulance services, ER treatment, physical therapy, surgery, and medications. Future costs for the extent and nature of your or a loved one’s injuries may also be included.
- Lost wages. Income and benefits you lose because your injuries make it impossible to work are included.
- Lost earning capacity. Additionally, income and benefits you may lose because of your injuries can be part of your compensation for damages. If you are permanently unable to work because of your injuries, you may receive a significant amount.
- Out-of-pocket expenses. The costs you may incur after a serious truck accident usually stack up to a significant amount. Consider the time you spend traveling to and from the doctor and therapist’s offices. Add the cost of a wheelchair or other adaptive device and home and/or vehicle modifications, and you can see the price tag rise significantly.
- Property damage. Your vehicle and other personal property damage or loss can be included in this category of damages after a truck accident. These include repairing or replacing your vehicle, phone, or other property damage.
- Pain and suffering. These damages are to compensate you or a loved one for the emotional suffering and physical pain you have endured due to truck accident injuries.
- Scarring and disfigurement. Serious lacerations and burns are expected injuries in trucking accidents. If these lead to you being scarred or disfigured, you may be able to be compensated for the economic and embarrassing costs of these injuries.
- Disability. Also called physical impairment, these damages cover the non-economic costs of disability, such as embarrassment and inconvenience.
- Loss of enjoyment. The activities you once loved and enjoyed before the truck accident may now be out of reach due to a disabling, permanent injury. You deserve to be compensated for losing out on your favorite hobbies.
- Loss of consortium. Whether it is loss of companionship with a spouse or loss of parental guidance for children, these damages cannot replace the loss of familial relationships. However, these damages can ensure comfort after someone else’s negligence.
The nature of your injuries determines the compensation that you are entitled to receive. Speaking with an Orlando truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident will determine how much your claim might be worth.
Damages for a Truck Accident Case That Results in Wrongful Death
If your loved one died following a truck accident in Orlando, the Shiner Law Group will work to help you receive a recovery for:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical expenses related to your loved one’s injuries
- Pain and suffering your loved one endured before they passed
- Loss of the services performed around the house by your loved one
- Loss of inheritance from the income your loved one contributed to the household
While no dollar amount will replace your loved one, a fair settlement can help ease your family’s burdens from their absence. Our lawyers will calculate fair compensation and fight to ensure you and your family receives it.
Proving Liability For an Orlando Truck Accident
The most important step to building a truck collision case in Orlando is proving that the truck driver is liable for your accident. As a result, determining what caused the crash is extremely important since proving liability may seem difficult.
Trucks collisions have inherent complexity when multiple victims representing various parties are involved. Another point adding to the complexity is determining what caused the accident is not as easy as it may be for a crash between two passenger vehicles.
For starters, it takes a heavily loaded tractor-trailer up to 40% farther in distance to stop because of its weight. A passenger vehicle has less weight and time. Poor road conditions and worn brakes mean the truck will need more time to stop. A slow-to-brake truck does not clearly point to who is at fault.
A post-analysis of the crash is necessary to determine if the brakes were malfunctioning. The truck manufacturer might be held liable. Or, the trucking company could be found liable for not keeping the truck maintained.
In some cases, the cargo loader can be held liable for not loading or securing the cargo properly. A thorough investigation will help to uncover the facts of the case to determine who is to blame for the harm caused to you or a loved one.
Furthermore, other drivers who drive aggressively around 80,000-pound trucks might be at-fault for a truck accident. They might drive too closely or right into the truck driver’s blind spot while trying to pass the truck.
Statute of Limitations for Truck Accident Claims
The statute of limitations in Florida for truck accident claims is two years from the date of the accident. If your loved one was killed in the accident, you have to file a wrongful death claim two years from the date your loved one passed. Therefore, the time for pursuing compensation is of the essence.
However, other factors may impact the actual time you have to pursue a claim. Florida’s no-fault rule requires that you exhaust personal injury protection through your auto insurance policy before you can proceed with a claim.
Therefore, you must file a claim with your insurance company within ten days of the accident. Meeting with a lawyer as soon as possible is crucial. You will receive guidance on your rights and obligations and determine the next steps in pursuing your claim.
Why Should You Hire an Orlando Truck Accident Lawyer?
Due to the vast difference between truck accident claims and other motor vehicle accidents, specialized knowledge, and experience are required to build a strong case. You want a truck accident lawyer fully capable of navigating Florida laws and litigating your case effectively.
Consider these reasons for hiring a lawyer to represent your rights and interests:
- How serious were you or a loved one injured
- Extent of potential damages in your claim
- Complexity of proving liability
- Difficulty in receiving fair compensation after the accident
- More than one insurance company and the legal team involved in your claim
- Complicated truck accident investigations
By working with an attorney from our law firm, you will have someone on your side to navigate these difficult aspects. Our services to help you build a lawsuit against the truck driver and/or trucking company include:
- Identifying all negligent parties. We will investigate your truck accident case to determine liability. Whether it is the driver, their employer, the company responsible for manufacturing or maintaining the truck, or all of the above, we will pursue each one on your behalf. Our resources include obtaining the black box, driver’s record, police report, a reconstruction of the accident, and other professionals needed to establish liability.
- Negotiate with the insurance company. Tough cases do not deter the Shiner Law Group from preserving your rights. Sometimes, the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement that truly compensates your losses. We aim to present your side of the case with clear facts that work in your favor. While you heal and take care of your family, we will deal with the insurance company.
- Determine how the accident led to your injuries. We will work closely with your doctor and other medical professionals to understand the extent of your injuries. Our fact-gathering can show how your way of life has changed due to the accident. We will present this information as proof that you deserve a fair settlement.
- Representation in court. If the insurers refuse to agree to a fair settlement, our truck accident attorneys are prepared to stand by your side in court. We will seek a court-awarded offer by arguing your case before a jury or judge.
- Avoid the spoliation of evidence. Our attorney will send a letter advising the trucking company to maintain both the truck and black box in post-accident condition or be subject to court sanctions.
Speak With an Orlando Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Attorneys at the Shiner Law Group bring decades of experience serving clients in personal injury cases. We understand the emotional, physical, and financial toll truck accidents take. We promise to handle your claim with integrity, professionalism, and persistence to get maximum compensation.
Orlando Truck Accident Law Office
Shiner Law Group
2480 E. Michigan St. Suite 206
Orlando, FL 32806