Florida Truck Accident Lawyer
The Florida Truck Accident Lawyer You Need for Top Compensation
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. The Searcy Denney truck accident legal team takes immediate action to protect your right to just compensation.
Our Florida Truck Accident Attorneys Help 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
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Wrongful death
How Much Can a Florida Truck Accident Lawyer Help Me Recover?
The amount you can recover after a truck accident depends on the costs you incur as a result of your injuries or your loved one’s death. Every case is truly unique, as the details of the victim’s life are crucial factors for determining how much compensation will be awarded. Medical expenses, other out-of-pocket costs, annual income, and pain and suffering are just a small sampling of the factors that go into calculating just compensation for a serious or fatal truck accident.
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 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 Explained
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 in Florida Truck Accidents
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.
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.
Our Florida Truck Accident Lawyer Outlines Common Examples of Negligent Truck Driving
Behind the wheel of a large commercial truck, even minor mistakes can lead to loss of control. But, many truck drivers make mistakes that are not minor—speeding recklessly, looking at their phones and even falling asleep in the driver’s seat. Regardless of the specific issue involved, poor driving is justification for holding truck drivers and their employers accountable.
Our truck accident lawyers help accident victims and families seek just compensation for truck driving mistakes such as:
Distracted Truck Driving
Distracted driving is a leading cause of all motor vehicle collisions—truck accidents included. While truck drivers need to be paying attention to the road at all times, studies have shown that distracted driving is extremely common. This includes forms of distraction such as:
- Talking on the phone
- Using social media
- Reading a map or setting GPS directions
- Communicating with dispatch
- Eating and drinking
- Reading the news and watching videos
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a common factor in commercial truck accidents as well. In Florida, the “legal limit” for truck drivers is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 instead of the standard 0.08 BAC for non-commercial drivers—and there is a very good reason why. Behind the wheel of a large commercial truck, even the slightest impairment can prevent drivers from making smart decisions and safe maneuvers that avoid serious and fatal collisions.
In addition to alcohol impairment, drug impairment is a concern in truck accident cases as well. This includes impairment caused by illegal drugs, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.
Fatigued Truck Driving
Truck drivers often spend their entire day behind the wheel, and many drive late into the night. As a result, fatigue is to be expected. But, when truck drivers get fatigued, they need to stop. Federal regulations not only limit the number of consecutive hours truckers can drive, but they also establish minimum rest periods between stints behind the wheel. Unfortunately, many truck drivers ignore these restrictions (or get pushed to violate them by their employers), which means that fatigue plays a role in many large truck accidents.
For long hauls, two drivers will often share driving responsibility. In most cases, the driver behind the wheel will be responsible when an accident occurs, but there are circumstances in which a co-driver can be liable. If you were injured in a truck accident involving co-driver negligence, our truck accident lawyers can help you seek just compensation.
Failure to Control Oversized Trucks
Oversized and overloaded trucks present particular driving challenges, and they present certain risks for the occupants of other vehicles. Swerving, waiting too long to break, turning too sharply and other mistakes can easily cause oversized truck drivers to lose control.
Failure to Control Trucks in Bad Weather
Heavy downpours and high winds can make Florida’s roads dangerous for all motorists. But, for truck drivers, the dangers are often exceptionally high. A wet road can significantly increase a large truck’s stopping distance, and high winds can push tractor-trailers out of their lanes. Truck drivers are (or should be) trained to avoid these risks, but not all of them are equipped to do so.
Failure to Prevent a Jackknife
Jackknifing tractor-trailers present extreme risks on Florida’s highways and other roadways. Truck drivers can avoid these accidents by driving safely, leaving plenty of buffer, and gradually slowing down. As a result, when truck drivers fail to avoid these accidents, they (and their employers) can usually be held legally responsible.
Speeding, Tailgating and Other Forms of Aggressive Driving
Just like other drivers, large commercial truck drivers need to obey all of the rules of the road. Among other things, this means observing the speed limit, following at a safe distance and only passing when it is safe to do so. Yet, many truckers choose to drive aggressively—and when they do, they often end up making mistakes that lead to catastrophic accidents.
Tractor-trailers and other large commercial trucks need to make wide turns to avoid running over sidewalks and hitting signposts and street lights. However, when making wide turns, they must be careful not to go too wide and hit approaching vehicles. Wide turns (and failure to make wide turns) are common causes of commercial truck accidents—and they are common causes that can (and should) be avoided with proper driving.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident caused by poor driving, our lawyers can help. We handle commercial truck accident cases throughout Florida, and we have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our truck accident clients. Our truck accident law firm can thoroughly investigate the accident to prove that the trucker’s poor driving was to blame, and we can seek full compensation for the financial and non-financial costs of the collision
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 law firm 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 tractor trailer 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.
Our Accident 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:
- $17.5 Million Settlement for Family in Horrific Crash Caused by Tired Truck Driver
- $13+ Million Awarded for Death Caused by Fuel Truck Collision
- $10 Million Judgment Against Big Trucking Company for Motorcyclist’s Injuries
- $6.9 Million for Serious Injuries Caused by a Garbage Truck Accident
- $2 Million Settlement for Fatal Crash Caused by Inattentive and Irresponsible Truck Driver
- $1.1 Million Settlement For Truck Driver with Devastating Injuries in Crash Gets
- $1 Million Settlement for a High School Student Who Suffered a Brain Injury in Truck-Auto Crash
Florida Truck Accident FAQs
How Do You Prove that the Trucking Company is Liable After a Truck Accident?
Proving that a trucking company (or any other company) is liable for a truck accident requires a comprehensive investigation. This includes, but is not limited to, investigating at the scene of the crash. As a result, it is important that you hire a Florida truck accident lawyer as soon as possible, as your lawyer will need to gather crucial evidence before it disappears.
In addition to forensic evidence from the scene of the accident, various other forms of evidence can be used to prove liability after a truck accident as well. Driver logs, employment records and phone records are just a few examples. When we investigate your case, we will seek to gather all relevant evidence from all available sources to prove your right to a financial recovery.
What if I was Speeding or Texting When My Truck Accident Happened?
If you were speeding, texting, or otherwise violating Florida’s traffic laws when your accident happened, this might have an impact on your financial recovery. But, it also might not. Just because you were doing something that perhaps you shouldn’t have, this does not necessarily mean that you played a role in causing the collision. If the accident would have happened regardless, then you can still seek full compensation for your accident-related losses.
What if you were partially at fault? If this is the case, then this may reduce the amount you are entitled to recover. However, you may still have a claim for significant compensation, and you will still want to speak with a Florida truck accident law firm about your legal rights.
How Do I Know if I Should Hire a Lawyer to Represent Me After a Truck Crash?
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, you should hire a Florida truck accident lawyer. It’s that simple. You have nothing to lose, and you have everything to gain. At Searcy Denney, we will thoroughly investigate your (or your loved one’s) truck accident to determine if you have a claim, and if you do, we will use our experience to fight relentlessly for the compensation you deserve.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Florida Truck Accident Lawyer?
When you choose Searcy Denney, it costs you nothing out of pocket to hire a Florida truck accident lawyer. We handle all truck accident claims on a contingency fee basis. Your initial consultation is completely free; and, if you choose our lawyers to represent you, we will not charge any fees or costs unless we help you win just compensation.
Call Searcy Denney 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 attorney 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 800-780-8607 to arrange for your free, confidential consultation at our Tampa, West Palm Beach or Tallahassee office. No recovery, no fee.