Truck accidents can be devastating due to the sheer mass and force of a moving truck hitting a standard-sized vehicle. More often than not, the truck’s occupants are unharmed while the other vehicle’s driver and passengers sustain catastrophic injuries, resulting in massive financial, physical, and emotional burdens.
If you or a family member are the victims of an accident you have the right to seek compensation for the damages caused by a negligent commercial truck driver, a trucking company, or a truck manufacturer.
To move forward with a lawsuit against a trucking company it is imperative that you seek legal guidance from a firm with extensive experience handling truck accident cases. There are some key differences between handling the legal aspects of a truck accident as compared to a standard-sized car crash:
Trucks are generally 20-30 times the size of a standard passenger vehicle, reaching 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. Traveling at highway speeds, the velocity of a vehicle this size can inflict massive damage on impact. The larger a truck and the faster it moves, the longer it will take for the truck to stop. For example, a semi-truck traveling at 55 miles per hour will take roughly six seconds to come to a complete stop, over which it will have traveled an additional 512 feet.
One of the biggest factors in a truck accident case is taking on the trucking company. When a lawsuit is brought against a commercial truck driver, the case nearly always involves a large organization with unlimited resources, legal teams, and aggressive insurance agents who aim to avoid paying a large settlement to a crash victim. It is important to have a knowledgeable and experienced truck accident attorney on your side who has the resources to fight on your behalf.
Although common factors like distracted driving and speeding do play a role in truck accidents, there tends to be a different set of circumstances that surround commercial truck accidents:
- Driver fatigue is one of the most prevalent and yet preventable causes of trucking accidents. Due to the long hours spent behind the wheel, drivers can experience extreme exhaustion. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates breaks and periods of non-driving time for truck drivers. In Florida, truck drivers must take a 30-minute consecutive break for every eight hours of cumulative drive time. Drivers who break this law are liable for negligence.
- Inadequate Training plays a significant role in a driver’s ability to adeptly operate a large truck. Hours of training and special licensures contribute to gaining specific expertise and an understanding of potential roadway hazards, but it is the responsibility of a trucking company to hire and train appropriately licensed and experienced drivers to represent their company. Fault in a truck accident can potentially fall on the trucking company if the evidence demonstrates a lack of training or proper licensure.
- Truck Maintenance is a regular responsibility that truck operators face in order to minimize mechanical failures or issues. For example, the braking system on a large truck is very sensitive and requires specific air pressure based on the truck’s load in order to function properly. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure all mechanical features of the truck are in proper working order and do not present a threat to anyone on the road.
While car accidents have their own challenges, truck accidents are notoriously more complex. Large trucks cause more damage, resulting in catastrophic injuries. Navigating greater economic, non-economic, and punitive damages can be challenging, especially if multiple victims or vehicles are involved.
Shared liability between drivers, truck companies, brokers, and manufacturers also contributes to lawsuit complications, requiring the plaintiff’s attorney to conduct extensive investigations, research, and witness interviews to determine where liability should fall.
How We Can Help
If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious truck accident at the fault of another person or company it is important to contact an experienced attorney immediately. Each truck accident is unique and requires a detailed analysis of the events leading up to the crash, an evaluation of damages, and communications with aggressive insurance companies.
Reaching out to an attorney is your first step toward financial recovery. Ted Babbitt is an experienced West Palm Beach, Florida truck accident attorney with decades of success assisting clients through challenging lawsuits against large trucking companies. If you or a family member has been injured in a truck accident in Florida, do not hesitate to contact Ted by filling out this online form or calling (561) 375-2841 to learn more about how his team can help you through the next stages of your case.