You can call them tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, or simply “semis” — the name doesn’t matter. What does matter is that these vehicles represent up to 80,000 pounds of accidents waiting to happen at speeds upwards of 70 m.p.h. When driven negligently, there is nothing on the road more dangerous.
According to truckinfo.net, two million semis operate in the U.S. and are involved in 2.4% of all car accidents. One person is injured or killed in a semi accident every 16 minutes. Florida is among five states with the highest number of semi accidents, with the others being California, Texas, Georgia and Pennsylvania.
Considering that hundreds of these vehicles are driven throughout Florida daily, it raises the question of who is at fault in a trucking accident. If you have been involved in an accident involving a semi or any other commercial vehicle, let a Florida truck accident lawyer at Searcy Denney help.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Florida
In Florida, the amount of traffic surrounding densely-populated areas, such as Miami or Orlando, certainly contributes more than average numbers of trucking accidents, as does inclement weather, of which Florida has more than its share. Other common causes for trucking accidents include:
- Fatigued driving
- Impaired driving
- Maintenance failures, such as brakes and tires
- Failure to use traffic signals
- Failure to halt at traffic lights or signs
- Improper passing
- Inexperienced drivers
- Carrying loads beyond legal limits
- Larger blind spots
Who Is At Fault in Truck Accidents?
In other words, who is liable? In Florida, the maximum weight carried by semis cannot exceed 80,000 lbs. Having a load beyond 80,000 lbs. is a cause for negligence that can be used as evidence in a personal injury claim.
A primary reason why personal injury cases involving large semis are so complicated is that multiple layers of liability exist for just one semi. Filing a claim against the at-fault driver in a trucking accident is vastly different than other personal injury cases. To compare, let’s first examine where typical personal injury liability would fall in the case of an auto accident.
Personal Injury Liability for Passenger Car Accidents
Filing an accident claim against another passenger car is most likely the type of personal injury claim you are familiar with. If the other driver were deemed at-fault in an accident, you would seek compensation for the injuries sustained due to their negligence. In other words, the at-fault driver would be responsible or “liable” for your injuries.
Types of Liability in Truck Accidents
Unlike accidents with other passenger cars, both the semi driver and the company employing the semi driver are potentially liable for your injuries. Additionally, other parties that could be liable for your damages also include:
- The owner of the truck
- The company that leased the truck
- The shipper or loader of the truck’s cargo
- The manufacturer of the vehicle
- The manufacturer of the vehicle’s parts
This means that up to seven parties may be liable for your injuries, compared to the standard maximum of two. The good news is that insurance coverage for semis is typically much higher than that of passenger cars, often upwards of a million dollars. The bad news is that gathering evidence of liability is much more difficult and time-consuming.
A Florida Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You After an Accident
It is imperative that you seek the advice of a skilled Florida truck accident lawyer to help you if you have been involved in an accident with a semi. We provide free consultations, work on a contingency fee basis, and we are ready to help you recover the maximum compensation for your injuries. If you need our assistance, contact us online today.