Nowadays, many more trucks are entering our roadways, sharing the same space we use in our everyday life. Product demand has significantly increased, and so does the congestion of commercial trucking. Unfortunately, with the increased numbers of trucks entering service they bring with them an ever-increasing number of accidents and resulting injuries.
A central question in most truck accident cases is whether the trucker’s actions violated their duty of care. Some trucking accidents make this question abundantly clear: if a police officer cites a trucker for speeding, failing to yield, or carrying too much weight, the law assumes that the trucker is at fault for any ensuing accident. However, in other cases, a more in-depth investigation is required to prove trucker fault, for which a South Florida truck accident attorney can provide significant assistance in collecting evidence.
Trucking Accident Common Factors
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Ensuring that a vehicle is maintained correctly is essential for every driver, and it’s vital to the safety of commercial truck drivers. Commercial vehicles experience more wear and tear than ordinary cars as trucks are driven for hundreds of miles every day. If routine maintenance is skipped, it could lead to mechanical problems or equipment failure that could lead to an accident. Something as simple as a worn brake pad could be the difference between stopping in time and causing a multi-car pileup. Victims of a commercial trucking accident should have the company’s maintenance records checked to see if repair negligence contributed to the collision.
Incentivize Programs that Promote Unsafe Truck Driving
While it’s easy to blame the driver involved in the accident, looking at the underlying issues may solve the root problem. Shippers and logistics firms may inadvertently create dangerous driving conditions by the way they pay drivers. For example, some compensation programs encourage faster vehicle speeds or more hours of continuous vehicle operation than would usually be unadvisable. Giving drivers unrealistic schedules encourage drivers to hurry, despite the safety risks involved.
Improper Cargo Loading
Commercial trucks carry so much cargo that weight imbalances can significantly affect the safety of the vehicle. Cargo that has been loaded incorrectly can cause accidents in several ways.
The shipment could fall off and become a hazard to other drivers, and the cargo itself could affect the vehicle’s steering. To prevent these issues, truckers and cargo loading teams have to abide by industry-specific rules when it comes to loading the bed of a commercial truck.
These rules determine limits for weight, size, length, width, and load height. The rules also specify special methods of securing cargo for transportation.
South Florida Truck Accident Laws
Truck drivers have the same responsibilities under Florida law to drive their vehicles in a safe manner as all other motorists. This includes a duty to protect all other people they may encounter while behind the wheel. This extends to:
- Other drivers
- Passengers in other vehicles
If a truck driver fails in this responsibility, and someone is injured, that person can file a lawsuit alleging that the driver’s negligence caused their injuries. Unfortunately, even the clearest example of truck driver negligence may fail to bring compensation if a plaintiff does not act in time.
According to Florida Statute §95.11, plaintiffs must file a case within four years of the date of the accident if they hope to collect compensation. Insurance companies may break off all settlement negotiations if this time has passed. This makes it important to act quickly when considering a claim.
Common Injuries related to South Florida Truck Accidents
Even truck accidents that occur at low speeds place great strain on the bodies of the occupants of smaller vehicles. Even if their bodies do not come into direct contact with the truck, their car may be subjected to significant force or perhaps even crushed.
This can result in life-threatening injuries. It is not uncommon for the victims in these accidents to suffer:
- Broken bones
- Separated joints
- Severe cuts
Any form of physical injury is enough to make a claim. A complete claim should also demand compensation for lost wages and mental anguish. A truck accident law firm in South Florida can work with clients to understand the full impact of the accident on their lives and receive the compensation they deserve.
Far too often injury attorneys treat trucking accident cases like car accidents. One can easily understand the force from a 60,000 pound truck striking a family vehicle are significantly higher than the force from a 7,500 pound pickup truck or 3,500 sedan traveling the same speed. This difference in force often results in much more serious injuries, even death.
Attorneys specialized in trucking accidents know that car accidents and trucking accidents are not the same. Beyond the federal regulations that apply to commercial trucking, drivers must also undergo extensive training. 18-wheelers simply do not operate the same as family-size passenger vehicles. They are harder to maneuver and some operations that can be done in family passenger vehicles are strictly prohibited by 18-wheel operators.
After any type of traffic accident, you should run over a checklist of information to get from other drivers or passengers who were involved: insurance information, injuries, names and contact information of witnesses, etc.
Hopefully, knowing this information and practicing safer driving will help you reduce the chances of getting into a truck accident. But if you or someone you love is injured in a crash with a truck due to another’s negligence, you should know what to do next. The first and most important thing to do is check to see if you or anyone around you is injured and, if so, instantly seek medical attention.
The next step you take should be contacting a skilled Florida accident attorney who will look into the incident. Your lawyer will likely have to ask you a lot of questions, so it’s helpful to prepare yourself ahead of time.
Researching and slogging through legal meetings may be the last thing you’re interested in doing after getting hurt in an accident, but it’s worth it. Medical bills can pile up fast, and that’s not even dealing with money you lose due to not being able to work and other expenses. These are things that can seriously derail your life, and if someone else is responsible, you shouldn’t have to pay for their mistake.