Were you seriously injured in a Florida motor vehicle collision involving a commercial truck?
Large commercial trucks can leave a victim with catastrophic injuries due to the sheer size and weight of these vehicles.
It’s understandable that you might have a fear of being hit by one of these trucks while on the road. Fortunately, many of the Florida trucks trucks you see on a daily basis are being operated by competent drivers.
However, if a collision does occur, it can have life-altering consequences.
Truck accidents can also be a legal nightmare because there are multiple parties that need to be involved. The truck itself is usually owned by someone else, or another company, and the driver was likely working when the collision occurred.
If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries due to the negligence of a large commercial truck driver, it’s important to speak with a truck accident lawyer in Florida. Do not attempt to pursue a claim on your own.
Let a knowledgeable and experienced semi-truck accident lawyer help protect your rights.
At Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon, our team of Florida truck accident lawyers has years of experience pursuing compensation on behalf of victims who were seriously injured in a commercial truck accident.
We know how to track down all the possible responsible parties and ensure everyone is brought into the claim. In most cases, there are multiple insurance companies involved and the liability investigation can be lengthy.
Don’t jeopardize your chances at recovery by trying to pursue a claim on your own. Contact our Florida trucking accident lawyers today by reaching us online or calling (850) 444-4878 for a free consultation.
What Is a “Truck?”
Truck accident cases are typically more complex than car accident cases. A truck, as it’s referred to here, is a large vehicle regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA regulates vehicles with “a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 4,537 kg (10,001 lb.) or more, whichever is greater” when such vehicles are used for interstate commerce.
Trucks that fall within this definition include:
- 18-wheelers, and
- Any other vehicle that meets the FMCSA definition.
Vehicles of this size pose a particular safety risk and thus need specific regulations. The FMCSA has specific regulations involving trucks. Florida has adopted many of these regulations and even added a few. These regulations, or someone’s failure to follow them, may have caused your injuries. If you’ve been in an accident with a large vehicle, a Florida truck accident attorney from our law firm can help you understand the regulations that apply to trucks.
Common Causes of Florida Truck Collisions
It should come as no surprise that driver error is usually the number one reason for large truck accidents. There are numerous errors a truck driver can make that can lead to a collision.
Some of the more common causes are:
- Distracted driving
- Inexperienced or unqualified driver
- Improper loading or securing cargo
- Overweight load
- Driving while fatigued and over the allotted hours per day
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs (prescription drugs included)
- Other traffic violations
- Known health problems that leave the driver incapacitated
- Aggressive driving
- Truck not inspected or maintained
- Lack of supervision over truck drivers
In order to prove liability in a motor vehicle collision, there is almost always a thorough investigation, except when the cause is immediately apparent. However, with truck accidents, the liability investigation is quite complex. It may involve the use of experts and multiple inspections of the vehicles.
This is necessary to ascertain all the negligent parties. Truck drivers may be partially at fault for the collision, but an intensive investigation could reveal that the truck company had just replaced the brakes and they failed in the collision.
You could have a claim against the truck company and the brake manufacturer as well.
Potentially Responsible Parties in a Truck Accident Case
Multiple parties may be responsible for a truck accident, depending on the circumstances, including the truck driver and the trucking company.
All moving vehicles are subject to safety issues arising. Therefore, trucking companies must regularly inspect their vehicles. If the trucking company did not regularly inspect the truck that harmed you and the accident was caused by a safety issue that would have been discovered during an inspection—the company might be liable for the collision.
Insurance companies often step in to fight on behalf of the driver or trucking company. Insurance companies almost always try to whittle down the injured party’s settlement because it saves them money. Therefore, you’ll need an experienced Florida truck accident lawyer involved in your case as early as possible. They can represent you in talks with the insurance company so they can’t pressure you into accepting a settlement that doesn’t cover your losses.
Common Injuries in Truck Accident Cases
As you can imagine, injuries in a Florida truck accident claim can pretty much run the gamut.
Injuries in a truck crash include:
- Neck and back injuries (e.g., whiplash);
- Seat belt injuries;
- Broken bones;
- Head injuries and concussions;
- Spinal injuries, including paralysis;
- Internal injuries;
- Lacerations; and
If a loved one died due to a truck accident, you might be eligible to bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible parties. Speak with a Florida truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to help you with a potential wrongful death case.
Types of Commercial Truck Accidents in Florida
Just as there are many causes of Florida truck collisions, there are also different types of commercial truck accidents.
Some of the most common types of large truck accidents Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon handle include:
When a truck driver loses control and cannot slow the truck down, or the weight causes it to continue moving, it can be deemed a runaway truck.
This is a common scenario in accidents on downhill roads when the truck continues to gain speed.
Jackknife accidents are common with trucks that attach to the trailer with a coupling device.
If the device fails or the trailer becomes off-balance, the trailer may swing out in a perpendicular manner. It resembles a folding jackknife, which is how this type of collision got its name. When a trailer jackknifes, it can strike vehicles in adjacent lanes and cause a lot of damage.
Override or Underride
When you have a rear-end collision involving small vehicles, it may only result in minor injuries in some cases. When a commercial 18-wheeler rear-ends a vehicle, the truck may drive into the back of the vehicle. In some cases, it can even drive over the back seat, which usually results in a fatality if there was a passenger in the back.
An underride is when a small vehicle rear-ends a truck because it suddenly stops or changes lanes, causing the vehicle behind it to come to rest under the back of the truck. This can be fatal for the vehicle driver and any front-seat passenger. Some trucks have guards installed that prevent an underride, but collisions can still occur.
Because commercial trucks with trailers have a high center of gravity, they are prone to rolling over, especially if the driver takes a turn or curve too quickly.
Overcorrecting and high winds are two other situations where a rollover might occur. A truck rolling over can strike numerous vehicles and cause a traffic nightmare for other drivers on the same road or highway.
There are cases where a commercial truck did not make contact with a vehicle but still caused a collision. When cargo falls off a flatbed truck or tractor trailer, it may strike approaching vehicles, or cars that arrive shortly after may not be able to avoid the hazard in the road.
Types of Compensation Available in Florida Truck Accidents
If a victim survives a collision with a large truck, they typically have mounting financial losses to deal with because of the severe injuries.
Victims need to have an idea of what their claim is worth to ensure they pursue a claim for the maximum amount. When you retain a truck accident attorney in Florida, they will meet with you during your free case evaluation to review your legal options and determine how much you could potentially receive.
Recovery in a Florida commercial truck accident can include compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including an estimate of future treatment costs,
- Loss of earnings or lost income, including an estimate of future lost wages,
- Property damage to your vehicle,
- Pain and suffering, known as general damages,
- Permanent disfigurement or disability, and
- Wrongful death.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Truck Accident Case?
If you are injured in Florida, you have four years to file a truck accident case. This may seem like a lot of time. However, your case may need an in-depth investigation just to determine who is at fault. So don’t wait until the last minute. Call an experienced truck accident attorney right away to preserve your rights.
What if I Am Partly at Fault for the Truck Accident?
If you were partly at fault, you may still be able to recover compensation for your injuries. Florida is a pure comparative fault state. This means that you can recover even if you are mostly at fault, but your compensation is reduced in proportion to your percentage of fault. For example, if your compensatory damages are $100,000 and you are 60% at fault, you will be able to recover $40,000.
Are Truck Accident Settlements Taxable?
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), any compensation for personal injuries or sickness is not taxable. However, punitive damages are taxable. You should speak with a tax professional about your potential tax liability.
Contact a Florida Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one suffered injuries from a vehicle collision with a large truck, don’t attempt to handle the claim on your own.