Injuries and property damage sustained during semi-truck accidents can be severe. Unfortunately, pursuing compensation for damages after these types of accidents can be complicated. For instance, there may be multiple parties who can be held liable for the accident, such as the driver or employer. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a truck accident, it is advised you speak with an attorney who is experienced in Florida law as soon as possible.
Following a truck accident, the trucking company and insurance company usually begin an investigation to determine fault. This can include an investigation of the vehicles involved and the scene of the accident, as well as a review of on-board recording equipment. Make no mistake, these investigations are often performed in an attempt to minimize the damages and deflect fault from the trucking company. For this reason, it is imperative to seek the help of a dedicated truck accident attorney to establish negligence for your case.
Examples of Negligence
- Failure to obey traffic laws
- Avoidance of weigh station
- Driving without mandatory breaks (Hours of Service violations)
- Operating the truck in areas too small for proper navigation
- Failure to notice other vehicles due to blind spots
- Lack of driver experience
- Establishing Negligence
As the trucking company and their insurance company launch their investigation, so will your attorney. This can include, but is not limited to:
- Thorough review of any street camera footage and/or on-board recording device data
- Eyewitness interviews
- Review of police and accident reports
- Thorough review of injuries and medical reports
- Consult with experts in an effort to reconstruct the events leading up to the accident as accurately as possible
In any event, your lawyer can help you secure compensation for property damage, bodily harm, future medical care, lost wages and emotional distress. For more information, please contact the law offices of DDB Law. Their dedicated and knowledgeable staff is available to answer any questions you may have regarding filing a personal injury lawsuit after an accident.
Due to the sheer size difference between vehicles, accidents with tractor-trailers or semis are almost always serious. Even if the driver avoids injury, it’s highly probable that the smaller vehicle will incur significant property damage. Because so many parties are indirectly involved, determining fault in a commercial truck accident can be fairly complex. In order to identify the liable party, you need to identify the cause.
So, who’s responsible for your Accident?
– If investigators find the cause to be driver error, driver fatigue or driving under the influence (all of which typically coincide with Compliance, Safety and Accountability, or CSA, violations), the truck driver is negligent. In most accidents, the drivers of both vehicles are the first to be considered for fault.
Carrier or Owner-operator
– Under the Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, trucking companies must follow a bevy of federal laws (like CSA regulations) that govern safe operation, equipment upkeep and accident prevention. If a carrier or owner-operator (individual truck owner) is found to be in violation of any of these laws at the time of the accident, then the motor carrier can be sued for negligence.
– If the accident was caused by a mechanical defect, the truck manufacturer (or in some cases, the maker of a replacement part) could be liable. Common equipment failures can include faulty brakes, defective tires and flawed trailer hitches. When equipment fails, assigning blame is particularly complicated. For instance, if a truck’s brakes fail because of an equipment defect, then the manufacturer is at fault. But if the truck’s brakes fail because a carrier is not performing the regulated number of maintenance checks on its fleet, then the trucking company is to blame.
– In some instances, the shipping company or cargo loader may also be at fault. If the truck’s cargo is loaded improperly or over capacity, the stability of the truck could be compromised.
It’s also important to remember that each party has a different insurance company working to deflect blame, which makes assigning responsibility even more difficult. If you are involved in a truck accident, seek representation immediately. A qualified attorney will pinpoint who is negligent and help secure the compensation you deserve.
With so many trucks on the road, it’s inevitable that accidents will occur from time to time. The United States Department of Transportation reports that more than half a million trucking accidents happen each year. While most truck drivers follow the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), instances of carelessness and negligence do occur. Although the same can be said of any driver, the unfortunate reality is the immense size difference between car and truck can turn these simple mistakes into severe accidents.
The root cause of most accidents falls into one of four categories:
The FMCSA reports that driver error is the number one cause of trucking accidents. Driver fatigue, substances abuse, distraction and improper training all fall under this umbrella. Anyone who’s driven for a long stretch of time knows that your concentration and attention begin to wane after a certain point. In an attempt to minimize road weariness, new CSA guidelines released in July limit truck drivers from spending more than 70 hours per week on the road. In the event of an accident, checking the “Hours of Service” logbook is usually one of the first steps that an attorney will take.
The FMCSA has outlined strict pre-trip inspection procedures that truckers and carriers are required to follow. However, equipment failure is still the second leading cause of trucking accidents. While many instances of equipment failure can be attributed to defective parts, some are the result of sloppy inspections and improper maintenance, especially regarding worn brakes and tires. If an otherwise preventable accident occurs because a routine inspection was overlooked, the trucking company is liable.
An Improperly-Loaded Trailer
It goes without saying that trucks are heavy, and the majority of that weight is in the trailer. If freight is loaded incorrectly, the trailer’s weight distribution (and in turn, the truck’s) will be off. Not only will this affect how well the truck can maneuver and handle, but the imbalance in weight can also cause the truck to tip. The most common instance of improper loading occurs when freight isn’t properly secured and falls off of the truck and into the road. With cargo like fruit, this doesn’t seem like a big deal. A loose 2×4, on the other hand, could cause serious damage.
Poor Weather Conditions
Bad weather makes roads more dangerous for all vehicles, but trucks are especially vulnerable. Their heavy weight means they have more momentum, which in turn means that drivers need to account for an even greater braking distance on slippery roads. Steering and handling, which are more difficult for trucks to begin with, are also negatively affected. Truck drivers that prioritize speed over safety when bad weather rolls in can put everyone at risk.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, please contact an experienced attorney. Determining the cause of an accident can be difficult, especially when a commercial vehicle is involved. Our attorneys have experience with truck accident claims and know how to work together with experts to gather evidence and determine responsibility.