Florida Truck Accident Lawyer
We Help Accident Victims in Tallahassee, West Palm Beach and Across Florida
Accidents involving commercial trucks frequently result in severe traumatic injuries, and victims and their loved ones will often face long roads to recovery. From the physical effects to the long-term financial and emotional consequences, accident victims can experience substantial losses, and recovering just compensation for these losses requires the help of an experienced Florida truck accident lawyer.
Our truck injury lawyers have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for victims throughout Florida. We are well-known for our experience in truck accident cases, and we have a proven record of helping to maximize our clients’ financial recoveries. With a team of attorneys who have decades of experience in accident cases involving life-changing injuries and fatalities, we are trusted advocates for crash victims and their families, and we are available to take immediate action to protect your right to just compensation.
Your Legal Team for Florida Trucking Collisions
While all car accident cases present challenging issues, truck accident cases are unique. From the complexities of large commercial trucks to the trucking and insurance companies involved, in order to secure just compensation after an accident, you need to be able efficiently and effectively pursue your claim without letting mistakes jeopardize your legal rights. This requires extensive experience in truck wreck settlements and litigation, and the ability to convince defense attorneys and judges that you are entitled to a sizeable monetary award.
At Searcy Denney, our experience in Florida truck accident cases includes:
- Securing a $14 million arbitration award for the family of a woman who was tragically killed when a speeding fuel truck hit pinned another vehicle against a guard rail and caught fire.
- Securing a confidential eight-figure settlement for a client who suffered multiple life-altering injuries in a semi-trailer truck accident.
- Securing a $1.1 million settlement for a client who suffered multiple fractures in a head-on collision involving two semi-trailer trucks.
- Securing a $850,000 settlement on the eve of trial for a state trooper who was unable to return to work due to his injuries.
- Securing a $738,000 verdict for a client who suffered spinal injuries in a semi-trailer truck accident.
Top Factors Contributing to Truck Accidents in Florida
Commercial truck accidents can result from a wide variety of factors. While many of these factors are driver-related, issues with loading and maintenance, issues with the road, truck defects, and poor decisions by trucking companies all routinely cause and contribute to dangerous accidents as well. When you contact us about your case, we will conduct a thorough investigation in order to identify all of the parties responsible, and we will aggressively pursue all appropriate claims in order to maximize your financial recovery. Depending upon the facts involved, this could include claims for:
Alcohol or Drug-Impaired Driving
Alcohol and drug impairment are factors in a significant number of trucking collisions. Unfortunately, far too many truckers make the poor decision to get behind the wheel after drinking, using illegal drugs, or abusing over-the-counter medications.
From navigating and communicating with dispatch to texting with friends and watching movies while driving, truck drivers are susceptible to a variety of driving distractions. If the driver involved in your accident was distracted at the time of the crash, we can use this to help you recover just compensation.
Driving Errors Due to Inexperience or Other Factors
Inexperience, inattention, inadvertence and various other issues can lead to all types of driving errors. From approaching a turn too fast to braking too hard while carrying a heavy load, it only takes a split-second mistake to cause a lifetime of harm.
Despite federal regulations that limit the number of hours truckers can spend behind the wheel, truck driver fatigue still presents a major risk for Florida motorists. Fatigue can cause impairments similar to alcohol intoxication; and, when a fatigued driver is behind the wheel of a large commercial truck, slowed reaction time, impaired judgment and drowsiness can all have devastating consequences.
Even the safest truck drivers can find themselves helpless to avoid dangerous collisions when roadway defects leave them with no place to go. Potholes, sinkholes, inadequate signage and lane markings, inadequate lighting, obscured bends and other issues can all provide grounds for truck accident victims to seek financial compensation.
Speeding and Reckless Driving
Despite carrying loads weighing as much as 80,000 pounds, some truck drivers still choose to put other motorists at risk by speeding and engaging in other reckless driving behaviors. Following too closely, suddenly changing lanes, and other dangerous mistakes are frequently to blame for rollovers, jackknifes, rear-end collisions, multi-vehicle pileups and other commercial truck accidents.
Truck Defects and Maintenance Issues
Similar to roadway defects, defects in the design and manufacture of commercial trucks, truck components, trailers, and cargo containers can cause accidents in the absence of driver negligence. The same holds true for maintenance issues as well, including faulty brake jobs, failure to replace worn tires, and failure to conduct regularly-scheduled inspections.
Violations of Safety Regulations
In addition to restricting drivers’ hours, truck safety regulations impose various other restrictions that are designed to protect the safety everyone on the road. When trucking companies prioritize profits over safety – or when they simply fail to meet their legal obligations – the consequences can be devastating for innocent drivers, passengers and their families.
10 Most-Common Types of Accidents Involving Commercial Trucks
Commercial trucking accidents occur in many different ways and as a result of a broad range of different factors. In most cases, these accidents are the product of truck driver and trucking company negligence, although manufacturing defects and other issues play a role in a significant percentage of commercial truck accidents as well.
While all accidents are unique, in our experience, most commercial truck accidents will fall into one of several different categories. If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in any of the following types of commercial truck accidents, we encourage you to contact our truck accident lawyers in Florida promptly for a free consultation:
- Head On Collisions
- Accidents Involving Driver Negligence
- Accidents Involving Maintenance Issues or Defects
- Jackknife Accidents
- Loose Cargo and Liquid Cargo Spills
- Rear End Collisions
- Rollover Accidents
- Semi-Truck Accidents
- Side Impact Collisions
- Underride Accidents
- Unsafe Lane Changes
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), head-on collisions are the most-common cause of truck-related fatalities. Data from IIHS and the Florida Integrated Report Exchange System (FIRES) also indicate that:
- Accidents where a commercial truck impacts the side of a passenger vehicle head-on (commonly referred to as “T-bone” accidents) account for 25 percent of all truck accident fatalities.
- Underride accidents and other crashes in which passenger vehicles collide with the rear of commercial trucks account for 20 percent of truck accident fatalities.
- Nearly two thirds (62 percent) of all truck accident fatalities involve collisions in which the front of the truck makes impact with another vehicle.
- More than one in 20 fatal truck accidents involves a rear-end collision with another vehicle, often as a result of following too closely, late braking, brake failures and other similar factors.
- In Florida alone, there are more than 40,000 accidents involving 18-wheelers, semi-trailers and other commercial vehicles every single year.
When you contact us, we will arrange for you to meet with one of our truck accident attorneys in a free and confidential consultation. Your attorney will take the time to understand what happened, and he or she will explain everything you need to know about filing a claim for just compensation. If you decide to move forward, we will vigorously pursue your case on your behalf, and we will make sure you know exactly what your case is worth before you accept a settlement offer or decide to take your case to trial.
Truck Accident Investigations
A tractor-trailer accident is almost always a catastrophic event. The immense size and heavy weight of a truck make survival without severe injuries unlikely for the occupants of a much smaller, lighter car.
The trucking company and their insurance carrier have every incentive to offer you a lowball settlement. Their job is to minimize the costs of their driver’s mistakes. And yet, the corporation is usually culpable for the driver’s errors — for example, hiring an unqualified driver, pressuring the driver to speed or text, failing to maintain the truck or encouraging false hours of service log entries.
We have substantial resources and special knowledge to investigate complex truck accident cases. You face many challenges in the weeks, months and years after your 18-wheeler wreck, but our law firm will handle every aspect associated with recovering and examining the evidence surrounding your accident to help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.
Collecting Evidence at the Scene
The companies responsible for the tractor-trailer and driver typically have a legal team ready to converge on the scene of the accident. Their quick response allows corporations to mitigate damages and begin strategizing their defense.
Our law firm matches their determination, skills and experience. From the moment we are retained, we jump into action. Our investigators are immediately at the scene to collect evidence and begin building your claim. Before the accident scene is cleared and witnesses disappear, our attorneys:
- Talk to witnesses to the event and gather contact information
- Photograph the wreckage, debris, guardrails and other objects of relevance
- Measure skid marks, debris scatter and distances of signs and posts from the road
- Observe the driver’s demeanor for signs of intoxication, exhaustion or agitation
- Take note of the surroundings, weather, malfunctioning traffic lights or other factors that may be of importance
The Black Box
The event data recorder, often referred to as the black box or EDR, is an indestructible device that records important data about the truck’s operations. Our trucking accident attorneys analyze the black box data during our investigation of your claim. This information helps us piece together what happened in the moments before and during the accident. We extract such detailed evidence from the black box as:
- Speed the tractor-trailer was traveling
- Changes in forward speed just before the crash
- Sideways, forward or rear acceleration
- Whether the brakes were applied
- Steering by driver leading up to and during the crash
- Whether the driver was wearing a seat belt
- Whether a passenger was in the tractor
- Passenger seat belt use
- Seat positions of driver and passenger
- Size of driver and passenger
- Deployment of front and side airbags
- Engagement of the electronic stability control system
- Engagement of antilock brakes
- The exact time each crash event took place
Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Florida Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one were injured in a collision with a commercial truck in Florida, you may be entitled to compensation. Searcy Denney is ready to protect your rights. For a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced truck accident attorney in Florida, please call (800) 780-8607 or inquire online today.
If a negligent truck driver caused my accident, can I sue the trucking company for my injuries?
If the driver who caused your accident was employed by a trucking company, the company may be liable for your injuries under the theory of “vicarious liability.” Vicarious liability makes employers liable for their employees’ mistakes made within the scope of employment – even if the employer was not actively responsible.
When we investigate your case, we will assess not only whether a trucking company is vicariously liable for your injuries, but whether the company may be directly liable as well. From hiring inexperienced drivers to forcing drivers to log too many hours, trucking companies routinely make mistakes that entitle accident victims to significant compensation.
Am I entitled to the truck’s black box data during the investigation of my accident?
Commercial trucks are equipped with event data recorders (also known as “black boxes”) that collect voluminous data about drivers’ driving practices and the trucks’ mechanical operation. During our investigation of your accident, we will demand that the trucking company produce the black box data so that we can use it to prove your entitlement to a financial recovery.
What can truck drivers do to avoid causing dangerous collisions?
Due to the extreme risk for serious or fatal injuries in the event of an accident, there are several steps that truck drivers can (and should) take to avoid causing collisions with other vehicles. These include:
- Slowing down in bad weather or when faced with hazardous road conditions
- Maintaining adequate stopping distance between themselves and the vehicles in front of them
- Complying with the limitations on driving hours, getting plenty of rest, and taking breaks when necessary
- Knowing how to spot the initial symptoms of fatigue
- Observing all traffic laws, including speed limits
- Checking blind spots before merging or changing lanes, and avoiding sudden lane changes
- Inspecting lights, tires, cargo straps and other components before driving
What should I do after being injured in an accident involving a commercial truck?
After any accident involving a semi-truck or other commercial vehicle, there are some important steps you should try to take as soon as possible. These steps are important not only for your health and safety, but also for your claim for financial compensation:
- Call 911 and seek immediate medical attention
- Take photos at the scene of the accident (if possible)
- Take photos of your injuries and the damage to your vehicle
- Write down everything you can remember about the accident
- Follow your doctor’s advice, and avoid any activities that could exacerbate your injuries or prolong your recovery
- Avoid discussing the accident with the insurance companies or on social media
- Seek legal advice from a lawyer with extensive experience in Florida truck accident cases
What are my rights if a family member was killed in an accident involving a commercial truck?
If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, we offer our deepest condolences. We are here to assist you in any way we can, and we are happy to meet with you to help you understand your situation. Under Florida law, the deceased’s personal representative must file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the eligible beneficiaries. We have worked with personal representatives and surviving family members on numerous auto accident claims, and we can hold the responsible parties accountable for your loved one’s untimely death.