Before your accident, you may not have thought about the differences between a car crash and a collision with a commercial truck. Of course, the injuries in trucking accidents are often more severe due to the increased size and weight of the big rig—but that’s just the beginning.
You may be unable to work permanently as a result of your injuries, and you will likely have to fight tooth and nail with the trucking company’s insurance provider in order to get compensation for your injuries. Many victims are so overwhelmed after a truck accident that they accept a settlement offer as quickly as possible, leaving them to pay lifelong medical costs out of their own pockets.
Talk to an Attorney Who Has Seen All Kinds of Florida Truck Accidents
Overloaded semis, tired truckers, and poorly-maintained vehicles pose a constant threat to other drivers on the road. As a former Florida State Trooper, attorney Coy H. Browning has investigated hundreds of truck accidents throughout Florida. Mr. Browning has extensive experience in accident reconstruction, examining physical evidence (including road hazards and vehicle damage), interviewing witnesses, and collecting documentation of the accident (such as police reports, medical data, and truck driver logs). If you were struck by a delivery truck, 18-wheeler, or commercial vehicle, call the number on this page to discuss your legal rights to compensation.
There are many different causes of truck accidents that can lead to significant or permanent injuries, including:
- Driver behavior. Truck drivers spend hours behind the wheel, and may attempt to do dangerous non-driving tasks to avoid pulling over. Eating, drinking, talking on a cellphone, texting, and even fiddling with radios and GPS devices have all caused distracted driving accidents, while drug or alcohol use have led to crashes with much greater impacts. If a driver does not take his mandatory rest breaks, he can also suffer from fatigue that places drivers at risk, making him liable for hours-of-service violations.
- Trucking company negligence. Companies can be held liable for nearly any of their driver’s actions, as well as negligent company policies. For example, companies can be sued for failing to perform background checks, failing to obtain proper driver qualifications, offering improper driver training courses, ignoring hours-of-service compliance requirements, improper loading of cargo and pre-trip inspections, and failure to perform drug and alcohol tests on drivers.
- Maintenance failure. Many trucking companies will use old or broken rigs and containers in an attempt to save money. Trucks that are not fit for road use are more likely to malfunction during transit, putting all road users at risk. Companies can be held liable for skipping safety inspections, using incompatible or defective truck parts in repairs, and failing to comply with state and federal safety standards.
- Defective parts. Some accidents are not caused by drivers or trucking companies, but result from defective mechanical parts installed in semis. While tires and brakes are the most common defective components, any element of a semi has the potential to cause an accident, including gas tanks, electrical systems, lights, mirrors, latches, airbags, and other third-party products.
- Dangerous cargo. Some truckers haul loads that are inherently dangerous—and if that cargo is not properly secured, it can become a hazard to everyone else on the road. But even “safe” cargo can spill over the roadway or fling a truck out of its lane if a loading company failed to balance merchandise in a truck or fasten it down to prevent shifting in transit.
We Even the Playing Field Against an Insurer or Trucking Company
Truck accident victims typically accept settlements from insurance companies before really knowing how much their case is worth. Once you take an insurance settlement, you will relinquish your right to receive any further payment, even if your injuries last for the rest of your life.
Trucking companies have their own attorneys who will fight to deny you fair payment, so you need someone on your side to provide experienced legal counsel. The Browning Law Firm has reached multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for accident victims throughout Florida, and we do not charge any legal fees unless we win your case. Call us today to discuss your legal options and total accident costs before you deal with the trucking company.