Large commercial trucks, known as tractor-trailers, semis, semi-trailers, flatbeds, 18-wheelers, big rigs and other nicknames, represent a vital part of Florida’s economy as well as a hazard on our state’s highways. The simple fact is that when a passenger vehicle is hit at highway speed by a large truck, which may weigh up to 88,000 pounds in Florida, the passenger vehicle and those in it are likely to be injured or killed. The Florida truck accident lawyers at the Disparti Law Group, P.A., fight for the rights of people injured by negligent truckers and trucking companies.
In 2010, there were 3,329 crashes involving heavy trucks in Florida, including 1,821 resulting in personal injury (or 54.7 percent) and 58 that were fatal (1.74 percent), according to the most recent statistics from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Commercial trucks operate under federal and state regulations pertaining to their safe operation. When regulations are violated and a crash causes injury or death, that’s an act of recklessness on the part of the trucker or perhaps the trucking company. They should be held accountable for the harm they cause.
If you or someone you love was injured in a Florida truck accident, the experienced attorneys at the Disparti Law Group, P.A., can help. Our law firm has successfully represented Florida truck accident victims for more than 30 years. We work hard so that victims can get compensation to help with doctor’s bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Our personal injury attorneys work on a contingency-fee basis, which means that you don’t owe us anything unless you recover money in your case. For a free consultation, contact our Florida truck accident attorneys at 866-695-0035 or fill out our online contact form. We serve clients in Tampa, Holiday, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Port Charlotte, Fort Myers, Naples, Bonita Springs and all across Florida.
Don’t fight the insurance companies alone. Let us put our decades of experience and knowledge to work for you.
Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents in Florida
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) administers a variety of laws and regulations directing the operation of 18-wheelers and other commercial trucks on U.S. highways. FMCSA regulations refer to driver qualifications and licensing; the hours drivers may spend behind the wheel, including strict rules for recordkeeping; vehicle size and weight; maintenance requirements; rules for transporting hazardous materials (known as “hazmat regulations”); rules for cargo weight; and more.
A November 2011 report from the FMCSA said there were 286,000 large truck wrecks in the United States in 2009. These accidents killed 3,380 people and injured 74,000 more.
A large truck – defined by the FMCSA as a truck with gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds – traveling at 70 mph has twice the energy of a passenger vehicle going 50 mph. Automobile safety standards are designed for collisions with like-sized vehicles, not 80,000-pound trucks. Collisions between 18-wheelers and passenger cars are made worse by the lack of rear and side bumpers on trucks. Even the high front bumpers on trucks tend to break through into cars’ passenger compartments upon impact.
The FMCSA identifies a variety of preventable truck accidents in a handbook for drivers titled “A Motor Carrier’s Guide to Improving Highway Safety.” Among them are:
- Accidents at intersections in which the driver fails to control speed or fails to check cross-traffic and wait for it to clear. These accidents also include ones where a truck collides with a person, vehicle or object while making a right or left turn or collides with a vehicle making a turn in front of the truck.
- Striking another vehicle in the rear because the truck driver fails to maintain a safe distance and/or following speed.
- Being struck in the rear by another vehicle because the truck driver is passing slower traffic near an intersection and has to make a sudden stop, or stops suddenly to park, load or unload. Rear-end accidents also occur where the 18-wheeler is improperly parked or the driver rolls back into a vehicle behind it while starting on a grade.
- Sideswipe and head-on collisions because the driver is not entirely in the proper lane of travel or does not pull to the right and slow down or stop for another vehicle encroaching on his or her lane of travel.
- Squeeze plays and shutouts in which the driver fails to yield right-of-way when necessary to avoid the accident.
- Mechanical defect accidents in which the defect is a type the driver should have detected in making the pre-trip or en-route inspection of the truck and/or cargo, or during the normal operation of the truck. These accidents can also be caused by a driver’s abusive handling of the vehicle. Defects may be known to the driver, but ignored. In other cases, the driver was instructed to operate with a known defect.
- Other types of accidents in which the driver does not operate at a speed suitable for the existing conditions of road, weather and traffic or fails to control speed so that he or she can stop within assured clear distance. Other causes include situations where a truck driver misjudges available clearance or fails to accurately observe existing conditions. Truck accidents also happen where the driver is in violation of company operating rules or special instructions, the regulations of federal or state regulatory agencies, or applicable traffic laws or ordinances.
What Happens After a Florida Commercial Truck Crash?
Trucks are often owned by corporations that employ drivers, so a wreck involving a tractor-trailer can quickly become more complicated than a collision with a passenger vehicle. Once the trucking company’s lawyers get involved, the injured driver can count on problems.
A trucking firm’s lawyers and insurance company will work to protect their clients’ interests after an accident. This why it is important that you get experienced legal advice from a Florida truck accident attorney after you have been in a collision with a heavy truck. Before you agree to or sign anything offered or suggested by a trucking company’s insurance company or lawyer, talk to the Disparti Law Group. Otherwise, you may be giving up your rights to compensation that you deserve.
Contact Our Florida Truck Accident Lawyers Today
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Florida, contact the Disparti Law Group, P.A., toll free at 866-695-0035 or through our online form for a free consultation. Our Florida personal injury attorneys are committed to providing quality legal representation so that you can get the money you need to rebuild your life.