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Truck Accidents

Florida Truck Accident Lawyer

The Florida Truck Accident Lawyer You Need for Top Compensation

If you or someone you care about has been involved in a serious accident with a large commercial vehicle, you already know how destructive big rigs can be. When a car, motorcycle, or other personal vehicle is in a collision with a 40-ton piece of rolling heavy machinery, the fight is anything but fair. And the consequences — injuries that are so catastrophic that the victim will never fully recover or even dies — are all too real. While the last thing that will be on your mind is hiring a Florida truck accident lawyer, the unfortunate truth is that you are going to need legal counsel right away. 

The minute a crash occurs the trucking company and its insurance provider are putting their wheels in motion to defend against liability. Their goal? To avoid taking responsibility for the devastation they have caused so they don’t have to pay you the money you and your family are owed. You need to manage your new normal of life with a serious and permanent disability or without a deceased loved one. You need an experienced Florida truck accident lawyer on your side. You need the Searcy Denney truck accident legal team to take immediate action to protect your right to just compensation. truck accident with SUV

Our Florida Truck Accident Law Firm Helps Accident Victims Recover Top Compensation

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 sizable monetary award.

Damages awarded in truck accidents include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Estimated future medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Future lost earnings ability
 

Types of Trucking Accidents on Florida Roadways 

There are 274,000 lane miles in Florida, ranking its roadway system the seventh largest in the country. Florida has approximately 1,500 total miles of interstate highways. If you have driven on the east coast’s north – south I-95, through the infamous I-4 corridor, crossed the state through the Florida Everglades on I-75’s Alligator Alley, or driven up or down the Florida Turnpike, you are already aware of the high number of big commercial vehicles commanding the roads, often traveling at breakneck speeds. 

More trucks and the vast expanse of roads for them to travel on means more crashes. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were close to 45,000 commercial vehicle crashes in Florida in 2018 alone. By the end of January of 2019, more than 3,000 big trucks had already been in accidents in Florida. Some of the most common — and dangerous — types of commercial vehicles on Florida roadways are:

  • Tractor-trailers, often referred to as 18-wheelers, semi trucks, or big rigs 
  • Heavy haulers that require an escort because they transport loads too large for roads
  • Flatbed trucks, often used for transporting lumber
  • Tankers, such as oil trucks, have a long tube on the back instead of a trailer to carry liquid cargo
  • Cement mixers, the trucks with large cylinders that mix cement as they rotate
  • Refrigerator trucks, used to transport perishable items that require refrigeration
  • Garbage trucks found in every neighborhood and commercial area 
  • Dump trucks, often seen traveling to and from construction sites carrying heavy loads of dirt, rock and soil

Reasons for Trucking Accidents in Florida

One of the jobs of a Florida truck accident lawyer is to determine why the accident happened, whether it was the result of driver negligence; the trucking company’s negligence; a failure on the part of the truck or parts manufacturers; or a combination of all of these. 

Truck Driver Negligence

Truck driver negligence typically plays at least some part in causing truck accidents. For instance, many big rig wrecks result from: 

  • Truck driver speeding. Because 18-wheeler drivers’ jobs often depend on reaching their destinations at a certain time, it is not surprising that speeding is a common occurrence. Unfortunately, when truck drivers exceed the speed limit or drive too fast for conditions, serious truck wrecks can happen.  
  • Distracted driving. Mobile phones, tablets and GPS equipment help truck drivers alleviate their loneliness during long stretches on the road, stay in touch with dispatchers, and find best routes. But when a trucker uses technology while driving they are putting everyone in danger. 
  • Driving in a reckless manner. Erratic driving — tailgating and switching lanes too quickly, for example — puts everyone at risk. A Florida truck accident lawyer will help you hold a reckless truck driver responsible for your accident.  
  • Driver sleep deprivation. Federal laws restrict how many hours a truck driver can be on the road, but that doesn’t prevent many from driving too long, too far, and when they are drowsy. Many truck drivers suffer from sleep apnea or other sleep disorders making the problem of sleep deprivation even worse. 
  • Truck driver DUI. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is always a recipe for disaster, but even more so when the driver is operating a giant vehicle capable of causing unimaginable injury to other drivers and their passengers. While consuming alcohol and illegal narcotics is certainly a problem, many truckers who take prescription and OTC medicines can also become dangerously impaired. 

Trucking Company Negligence

Trucking companies have a responsibility to ensure that they create a safe environment for everyone on the road when their trucks are in operation. If a trucking company fails to meet this responsibility, your Florida truck accident lawyer can hold it legally liable for any accidents and injuries that occur. Common ways that trucking company negligence contributes to accidents include: 

  • Negligent hiring practices. It is the responsibility of the trucking company to put its trucks in the hands of competent and healthy drivers who have the appropriate licenses to operate big rigs on the road. If the trucking company bypasses proper hiring procedures or takes shortcuts — something that typically happens in times of driver shortages — then it is liable for the actions of its employees and/or contractors. 
  • Driver training failures. It is also up to the trucking companies to ensure that its drivers are properly trained in operating the vehicle in question. Failure to do so constitutes negligence. 
  • Hours of service violations. Federal law restricts how many hours a driver can operate a vehicle in any 24-hour period. Requiring drivers to meet schedules that necessitate a violation of these restrictions can result in accidents.
  • Vehicle maintenance issues. It is up to the trucking company to make sure that its fleet is properly maintained and that all of its rigs are in good working order. Meticulous maintenance records are required to be kept by all commercial vehicle owners. 

Manufacturer Liability

When a truck accident is found to be caused by a defective part — such as malfunctioning brakes or faulty tires — the truck’s manufacturer and/or the parts manufacturer may be held liable for the resulting damages. Proving manufacturer liability in a trucking accident is a complex process, requiring truck manufacturing industry knowledge, as well as experience analyzing manufacturing and maintenance records. It takes the skills of an accomplished Florida truck accident lawyer to establish a strong case for manufacturer liability.

The differences between car and truck accidents.

How is Fault Determined in Truck Accidents?

Before the judge or jury awards you damages. it is necessary to prove who or what caused the collision. While truck driver negligence is the primary factor in most cases, other causes of liability need to be examined. Uncovering fault is complicated because there could be several parties who share in the blame. A commercial truck driver who owns and operates the truck, could be liable for negligence if they operated the truck under unsafe conditions or if they failed to maintain the vehicle properly. Trucking companies, truck part manufacturers, and cargo loading companies are also potential defendants in your lawsuit. Your Florida truck accident lawyer will examine all possible parties for blame in order to maximize damages. 

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.

If a negligent truck driver caused my accident, will my Florida truck accident lawyer help me 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 a Florida truck accident lawyer investigates 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 semi-truck drivers to forcing drivers to log too many hours, trucking companies routinely make mistakes that entitle accident victims to significant compensation.

What Can I Do to Avoid an Accident with a Truck or Tractor Trailer?

  • Remember that trucks are not the same as cars – they’re bigger and heavier and take much longer to stop.
  • Trucks have dangerous blind spots on both sides – so stay out of them. If you can’t see a truck’s side mirrors, the truck driver can’t see you either.
  • Don’t cut in front of a truck in order to make your turn or exit. Forcing the driver to slam on the brakes can spin the truck out of control or cause it to hit you, neither of which is a good choice.
  • Don’t pass a truck while it is turning right, because a turning truck takes a wide swing.
  • When passing a truck on the highway, accelerate slightly and maintain a constant speed. When you see the entire cab in your rear-view mirror, it is safe to signal and begin pulling back in front of it.
  • Be especially wary of trucks in bad weather, when it may take them several seconds more to stop than in dry conditions.
  • If you see a truck driver driving erratically or unsafely, call the authorities. And keep your distance so there is no chance of endangering you or your passengers.

Steps to Take After a Truck Accident in Florida

As soon as you retain Searcy Denney, our legal team jumps into action, meeting and often exceeding the efforts and skills of our trucking company adversaries. Before the accident scene is cleared and witnesses and important evidence disappear, your Florida truck accident lawyer will dispatch experts to:

  • Talk to witnesses and gather preliminary statements and contact information
  • Examine and photograph physical evidence, including skid marks, guardrails, 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

We also take immediate steps to ensure all evidence is preserved, including the entire rig, its cargo, the driver’s cell phone, and any other electronics or items that will help us piece together how the crash occurred. We have experts on hand to review and analyze the contents of the big truck’s event data recorder (EDR) — often referred to as the black box — that contains some of the most important details required to make our case. This indestructible instrument will tell us important facts such as the speed the semi truck was traveling, whether brakes were applied, details about the driver’s steering, and the exact events leading up to and time of the crash.

Why You Need a Florida Truck Accident Lawyer 

Because semi truck accidents happen so frequently, trucking companies and their insurers maintain an at-the-ready defense team whose sole purpose is to try to eliminate — or at least mitigate — the driver and/or company’s responsibility for the accident that has caused you so much suffering. To succeed against their well-oiled defense machine, you need a strong and aggressive legal team of your own. It is important that this team is headed up by a Florida truck accident lawyer whose law firm has a track record of fighting the trucking and insurance companies and succeeding. 

Not every personal injury lawyer or car accident law firm has the knowledge, resources, experience, and reputation needed to successfully represent a client in a catastrophic truck accident case. Because truck accident cases are taken on a contingency basis — which means you don’t pay anything for expenses or fees unless and until you recover damages — hiring a firm that lacks financial depth can lead to premature and low settlements. The bottom line is you need a firm like Searcy Denney that not only has experienced truck accident attorneys, but that can also absorb all the expenses until you win your court case or reach a settlement you are happy with.

Fatal Truck Collisions 

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. Our truck accident lawyers 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.

Our Florida Truck Accident Lawyer Case Results

As a top personal injury firm with a 40-year history of securing large verdicts and negotiating  multi-million dollar settlements for our clients, every time a Searcy Denney lawyer takes on a Florida truck wreck case, the opposing side knows that our client means business. This is evident with our track record of success in pursuing negligence claims in commercial vehicle accident cases. We are fierce negotiators and we are not afraid to battle it out in the courtroom, a fact that is not lost on our adversaries who want to avoid the expense of a lengthy trial. Included among our Florida truck accident lawyer case results are:

Call a Florida Truck Accident Lawyer for Help Today

As soon as you or a loved one are in an accident with a large commercial vehicle, it is critical to your case for financial compensation and recovery that you contact an experienced Florida truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment with a Searcy Denney truck wreck attorney please fill in our Contact Form or call us at 1-855-413-5906 to arrange for your free, confidential consultation at our West Palm Beach or Tallahassee office. No recovery, no fee.

What Our Clients Have To Say

" Every question that I had was answered in mere minutes and the follow through that the staff, secretaries and attorneys had was superior. I have dealt with many, many firms that have all disappointed me and Searcy Denney was by far the most thorough - I highly recommend them! "