A trucking accident can be a life-changing event not only for those involved but also for their immediate family. Accidents with larger vehicles often result in serious, even fatal, injuries and can be a quite traumatic experience. If you have been in an accident with a negligent truck driver, the Winter Haven truck accident attorneys at Rivas Law Group are here to help you fight for compensation for your injuries and financial damages.
Although commercial truck drivers have to go through special training and are required to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), road safety statistics show the alarming rate of truck accidents. In 2013, just over 3,800 accidents with large trucks involved were reported in the State of Florida. Accidents can be caused for various reasons, including lack of experience and training, fatigue due to excessive working hours, drug and alcohol use, as well as stress and time pressure.
Common Reasons Why Truck Accidents Happen
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration categorizes the reasons for trucking accidents as follows:
- Recognition – The driver was distracted by texting or talking on the phone.
- Non-performance – The driver was unable to fulfill driving duties as a result of fatigue, seizures or other physical impairments.
- Decision-making skills – The driver did not drive with caution, exceeded the speed limit or followed too closely behind another vehicle.
- Performance – The driver panicked and was unable to maintain control over the vehicle.
Associated Factors for Trucking Accidents
Additional factors contributing to accidents involving large trucks as listed by the FMCSA include from the most to the least common:
- Inadequate awareness of surroundings
- Use of non-prescription drugs
- Violation of yielding regulations
- Uneven terrain in a construction zone
- Unfamiliarity with the roadway
- Underestimating unfavorable weather conditions
- Use of prescription drugs
- Traffic jams caused by congestion or previous accidents
- Brake issues
How to Avoid Accidents With Large Trucks
When sharing the road with large vehicles, both rigs and passenger trucks, Winter Haven Truck Accident Attorneys urge you to take the following precautions to prevent truck accidents if at all possible:
- Do not rush when merging into traffic.
- Make sure you leave the trucker’s blind spot as quickly as possible.
- Be careful and stay alert when changing lanes.
- Maintain a safe distance between vehicles when passing.
- Try not to drive between two trucks and do not follow them too closely.
- Be courteous and always on the look-out for potential road hazards.
- Follow common road safety procedures.
Answers to Your Truck Accident Frequently Asked Questions
Can Trucking Companies Be Held Liable for Truck Accidents in Florida?
Truckers are required to go through rigorous training, background checks, and drug tests to keep their jobs. Record of these steps are kept by their employers. But turnover for truckers is high, so many employers feel pressure to get new drivers on the road as quickly as possible, and unfortunately some do cut corners. If it is found that a trucker was in an accident and the company did not properly train or background check the employee, they could be in serious legal trouble.
Are Accidents Involving Hazardous Material Treated Differently in Florida Than Trucks Carrying Non-Hazardous Cargo?
Truckers who transport hazardous material- such as explosives, flammable liquid, or toxic materials- must have special training to deal with their cargo. This is because hazardous materials not only have the potential to cause serious injury and death to those in a truck accident, but they can also endanger the surrounding environment, shutting down roads and prompting evacuations.
If you are involved in an accident with a truck carrying hazardous material, Florida law allows you to seek compensation for pain, suffering, medical bills, and economic loss not only for the accident itself, but also for injury or illness caused by exposure to the hazardous materials.
Are Truck and Car Accidents Treated the Same by the Law in Florida?
Trucks are treated differently in Florida accidents, first and foremost because of their size. A minor accident between two cars can quickly turn into a disaster if an 80,000 pound truck is involved.
But there are also other factors in truck accidents that set them apart. One is that liability for an accident may not just lie with the driver of the truck. The driver’s employer, the owner of the truck, the loading and unloading facility, and even the mechanic who worked on the truck may share some of the liability.
Another factor is the increased rules and regulations that govern truckers and trucking companies. Making sure that the company is keeping track of training of the driver, the employee’s time spent on the road, and vehicle maintenance can all come into play in a truck accident lawsuit.
Get Help From an Experienced Winter Haven Truck Accident Attorney Today
Trucking companies and their insurance companies often times send crash response teams to the accident scene to start building their defense immediately as critical evidence can be captured at this time. Shouldn’t you have an advocate doing the same for you?
The Winter Haven personal injury attorneys at Rivas Law Group have dealt with a variety of truck accident cases and have represented numerous victims of negligent truckers. We are here to help you! Call us today at (863) 299-5539 and schedule an appointment for a free consultation with us today!