Trucks on Florida’s highways can be dangerous, and when an 18 wheeler, a big rig, or a semi tractor trailer collides with cars on a highway, such as I-4 or I-75, they can cause devastating injuries. When semi tractor trailers are fully-loaded, they sometimes weigh 80,000 pounds or even more. When a vehicle this large collides with a smaller passenger car, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian, the result is often catastrophic injury or death. Because of the potential for very large trucks to do such great damage, federal regulations dictate that they must carry substantial liability insurance policies. A person who has been injured or the survivors of a person who has been killed in a wreck due to the negligence of an 18 wheeler truck driver may make a claim to recover damages that occurred as a result of the accident. In these types of cases, it’s best to call an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Types of Florida Truck Accidents
Semi trucks, big rigs and 18 wheelers, because of their large size, tend to have different types of accidents than ordinary passenger vehicles. These are some examples of the types of serious truck accidents that can cause catastrophic injuries:
These happen when the tractor’s drive axle brakes lock up, causing the trailer to skid and stop at a right angle with the tractor. When a truck jackknifes it frequently causes the big rig truck to roll over.
These often happen when going up or down steep hills. The semi truck may rollover if the wheels hit a curb or some other object when taking a curve too fast or when the driver tries to return the truck to the road after a tire runs off the pavement.
Tire Blowout Accidents
Tires often blow out or lose treads (“road alligators,”) causing the driver to lose control of the truck.
Underride accidents happen when an 18 wheeler truck stops suddenly in traffic and a smaller vehicle behind it continues moving forward, going underneath the truck’s trailer because of how high they sit above the ground.
Hazardous Material Releases
Oil spills or toxic gases or other poisonous materials can cause injury or death. Inflammable materials can cause fires.
How Truck Accidents Happen
- A truck accident is often the consequence of driver error, or other unsafe equipment. These are some of the reasons a truck accident could happen when they shouldn’t:
- Drivers do not have the required training and qualifications.
- Drivers are held to unrealistically tight schedules and deadlines.
- Truck drivers may become fatigued from driving for long hours without rest.
- Some truck drivers use drugs to help stay on the road longer without sleep; others may driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Loads are not secured properly.
- Trucks are loaded in excess of their maximum legal capacity.
- Large tankers with liquid loads of less than three quarters maximum capacity, causing the liquid to shift around in the weight in the tank, making the truck hard to control.
- Required safety inspections have not been performed.
- Broken or defective brakes or other equipment.
- Drivers are distracted often because they are multi-tasking due to tight deadlines.
- Reckless driving can also be an issue because they are trying to meet their deadlines.
Most Common Injuries Sustained from Truck Crashes
- Broken bones
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries and concussions
- Spinal cord injuries
- Burn injuries
Steps to Take if You’ve Been Injured in a Florida Truck Wreck
- Call the police
- Gather any evidence you can from the scene of the truck wreck (photographs, truck driver’s information and insurance, witness statements)
- Seek medical treatment
- Contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible
- Follow the advice of your doctor(s) and attorney
How a Truck Accident Law Firm Can Help with Your Claim
A law firm that has experience in Florida trucking laws can help injured victims recover the medical and economic damages they deserve. A thorough and prompt investigation of the scene is extremely important to these types of cases. Your attorney will have a team of trucking industry experts and investigators visit the accident scene to take photos and gather and document the evidence. This may include recording any eyewitness accounts and taking photos of skid marks, oil, gas or other types of fluids on the road. They will also obtain the police reports, motor carrier records and the truck safety logs. Your attorney will also have other experts working on your case including accident recinstructionists, engineers, economists, medical professionals and caregivers.
Truck accident cases are different and more complex than other vehicle crash cases. A wreck involving a large truck will often result in medical bills, future medical treatment costs, lost income from missed work, pain and suffering, and in the worst cases, death. This is why it is important to find a law firm that has handled cases that involve semi trucks or tractor trailers.
Talk To A Florida Truck Accident Lawyer Today
When you’ve been hurt in a truck accident, it is important to consult an experienced truck accident lawyer who is familiar with federal and state trucking regulations. Your attorney will need to initiate the investigation quickly to preserve evidence and engage the services of experts to reconstruct the accident to demonstrate that the trucking company or the driver was at fault. This will include determining if the trucking company failed to comply with safety regulations, if the driver was impaired, and if the truck was properly maintained. The truck accident lawyer will investigate whether the driver’s hours on the road exceeded what is allowed by federal law and if the driver has a record of DUI or drug charges.