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18-Wheelers, Tractor-Trailers, and Semi-Trucks

Tractor trailers and other types of commercial trucks on the road in Florida can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. The average car weighs less than 4,000 pounds. When a car collides with an 18-wheeler, tractor-trailer, or semi-truck, that truck may weigh 20 times as much. It does not take much imagination to envision the catastrophic injuries resulting from such a collision, especially at high speeds.

A Tallahassee truck accident lawyer knows that accidents involving 18-wheelers are some of the most horrific, often leading to death or lifetime disabilities. However, the drivers of tractor-trailers often work for companies with large, aggressive legal departments. Even when it seems clear that the trucking company should be held responsible for the losses in an accident, those legal teams will be prepared to fight to deny liability.

After an accident with a semi, victims and their families need experienced and dedicated legal teams of their own to have a chance of obtaining a fair recovery for their losses. At Searcy Denney, we understand how to defeat the tactics of commercial trucking companies and their insurers so that we can obtain the compensation our clients deserve after a devastating tractor-trailer accident.

What Makes 18-Wheelers So Dangerous

Numerous factors make accidents involving semi-trucks common and the results so deadly:

  • These long, heavy vehicles require more distance to stop than other vehicles.
  • The visibility afforded to the driver is severely impaired.  
  • The tractor-trailer mechanism makes the vehicle prone to jackknife accidents that can crush a vehicle
  • The instability of these oversized trucks makes them prone to flip over more easily, pinning other vehicles underneath or creating a large obstacle for other vehicles on the road
  • Drivers operating tractor-trailers are often encouraged to work long hours where they can be subject to fatigue or road hypnosis

In addition, a truck accident lawyer in Tallahassee understands that due to the shortage of long-haul truckers available, companies often send out drivers who lack proper experience and training in the handling of these dangerous vehicles.

Holding Companies Accountable for Tractor-Trailer Accidents

Sometimes, the legal team defending commercial trucking companies seems to appear at the same time as the ambulance. They may work to ensure that evidence is hard to find to demonstrate liability on the part of the truck driver, owner, or even those responsible for loading or maintaining the vehicle.

In the aftermath of a tractor-trailer accident, holding companies accountable can be a complex and demanding process. A skilled Tallahassee truck accident lawyer plays a pivotal role in ensuring that these companies are held responsible for their actions or negligence, thereby securing justice and compensation for the injured parties. Here’s how an attorney can help achieve this:

Investigating the Accident

One of the first steps an attorney takes is to conduct a thorough investigation of the accident. This involves visiting the accident scene, examining the vehicles involved, and reviewing police reports. Attorneys work with accident reconstruction experts to determine how the accident occurred and identify any violations of safety regulations. This detailed investigation helps establish liability and builds a strong foundation for the case.

Gathering and Preserving Evidence

Attorneys know how to collect and preserve crucial evidence that might otherwise be overlooked or lost. This includes securing traffic camera footage, obtaining truck maintenance records, and recovering data from the truck’s electronic logging device (ELD) or black box. These records can reveal critical information, such as the truck’s speed at the time of the accident, braking patterns, and hours of service compliance, which are essential for proving negligence or misconduct.

Identifying All Liable Parties

Tractor-trailer accidents often involve multiple parties, including the truck driver, the trucking company, maintenance providers, and manufacturers of truck parts. An experienced attorney can identify all parties that might share liability for the accident. For instance, if the accident was due to faulty brakes, the manufacturer or maintenance company might be held accountable alongside the trucking company. This comprehensive approach ensures that all responsible parties are included in the claim.

Navigating Complex Regulations

The trucking industry is regulated by a myriad of federal and state laws, such as those enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations cover aspects like hours of service, vehicle maintenance, and driver qualifications. An attorney with experience in these regulations can determine if any violations occurred and use this information to strengthen the case. For example, if the driver exceeded the legal driving hours, this could be a critical factor in establishing negligence.

Building a Strong Legal Strategy

Attorneys develop and execute a robust legal strategy tailored to the specifics of the case. This includes drafting and filing legal documents, representing the client in court, and negotiating with insurance companies. Attorneys leverage their legal knowledge and experience to anticipate the tactics of the defense and counteract them effectively. This strategic approach is vital for maximizing the chances of a favorable outcome.

Negotiating Settlements

Many tractor-trailer accident cases are resolved through settlements rather than going to trial. Attorneys play a key role in negotiating these settlements, ensuring that their clients receive fair compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Attorneys have the negotiation skills to deal with insurance companies that often attempt to minimize payouts. They can advocate for the full value of the client’s claim based on the evidence gathered and the damages sustained.

Litigating in Court

If a fair settlement cannot be reached, attorneys are prepared to take the case to court. They present the evidence, call on expert witnesses, and make compelling arguments to demonstrate the trucking company’s liability. Having an experienced trial attorney can significantly increase the likelihood of a successful verdict, as they understand courtroom procedures and can effectively communicate the client’s story to the jury.

Providing Emotional Support and Guidance

Beyond the legal aspects, attorneys provide their clients with crucial emotional support and guidance. Tractor-trailer accidents can be traumatic, and the legal process can be daunting. Attorneys offer reassurance, keep clients informed about the progress of their cases, and help them understand their rights and options. This support is invaluable in helping clients navigate a difficult time and make informed decisions about their case.

By performing these roles, attorneys not only help injured individuals seek justice and compensation but also hold trucking companies accountable for their actions, promoting safer practices within the industry.

Our Skilled Tallahassee Truck Accident Lawyer Is Ready to Stand Up to Trucking Companies

Trucking companies and their insurance companies fight hard to deny liability and diminish the value of claims. But we fight harder to demonstrate their liability and show why you deserve compensation to offset the full array of your losses now as well as the pain, suffering, and other impacts you will endure in the future. When you need a Tallahassee truck accident lawyer, you need Searcy Denney.

Contact our dedicated team today for a free consultation to learn how we can protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.  

Hear What Our Clients Have To Say

"Nick DeBellis obtained the maximum recovery of full insurance limits in the case we worked on. He is a true professional and recommend him to anyone in South Florida."
Posted By: Michael Geoffroy