Tractor-Trailers, Otherwise Known as Big Rigs or 18-wheelers, Can Weigh up to 100,000 pounds.
It is no wonder, then, that they are inherently hazardous when in transit on Florida roads and highways. The size of the vehicle, the security of cargo inside the trailer, weather conditions, traffic conditions, and the driver’s skill are all factors that can contribute to safe handling of these large trucks — or to accidents.
A trailer coming loose while a truck is in motion is a rare but potentially deadly type of accident. Other types of tractor-trailer accidents include intersection T-bone crashes and rear-end collisions with cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles. Whether tractor-trailer tips over while making a quick turn, hits a guardrail on an interstate highway overpass, rolls over while going around a curve or crashes into a line of cars stopped by fog, a tractor-trailer accident puts anyone involved at risk of severe injury or death:
- The driver of the tractor-trailer
- Occupants of cars that a tractor-trailer collides with
- Other individuals in traffic: motorcycle riders, bicycle riders and pedestrians
Whatever the type of accident and whoever has been injured, the aftermath of a tractor-trailer accident will necessarily include investigation and recovery. The sooner an in-depth investigation gets underway, the more opportunities there will be to recover maximum available compensation.
A review of the driver’s log, the tire treads, tire marks on the pavement, a wrecked car and eyewitness accounts very often gives a clear picture as to how a tractor-trailer accident occurred. This knowledge offers the greatest chance at a successful injury claim or lawsuit to recover:
- Reimbursement for medical expenses
- Replacement of lost wages
- Compensation for pain and suffering
If you were injured or if a family member was killed in a tractor-trailer accident, the outcome of your case may depend on how soon you have a knowledgeable truck accident attorney assisting you.
Utility Truck Injuries
You may have been injured as a passerby, as a driver or passenger in another vehicle or as an operator of a utility service truck such as a:
- Forestry truck
- Citrus truck hauler
- Fertilizer spreader truck
- Chemical sprayer truck
- Digger derrick
- Bucket truck
- Dump truck
- Grapple truck
- Refrigerated van
- Tow truck
- Garbage truck
- Tanker truck
Whatever type of utility truck was involved, it is important to understand that liability and insurance matters can be complex after such an accident. There may be multiple layers of responsibility such as the driver, the owner of the truck, the dispatch company and the property owner if the accident occurred on private property. It is wise to work closely with a personal injury lawyer who has tried cases before juries and understands the degree of detailed evidence that needs to be documented to produce the most favorable outcome.
Naturally, your primary concern if you have been injured or if a family member has suffered a serious or catastrophic injury is health and recovery. In the case of a fatal truck accident, the well-being of dependent family members such as a spouse and children is of great concern. Typically, a family is in a state of crisis after a serious injury or an accidental death. An experienced personal injury attorney can take charge of the legwork while you work on recovering a normal rhythm of life after a serious accident. This may make all the difference in your case. You are likely to need compensation for:
- Medical bills, including expenses for therapy, rehabilitation and medical equipment
- Disability accommodations, if applicable — such as remodeling of doorways in the home to allow for wheelchair access, or purchase of a wheelchair transport van
- Funeral and burial costs, if applicable
- Replacement of lost wages if the person who was injured was a breadwinner or if family members were forced to take time off work to care for him or her
- Pain, suffering, loss of companionship and other intangible, but very real, losses that the injured person and family members will endure
Fatal Truck Accidents
Empathetic Guidance Through The Wrongful Death Process
According to a study conducted by the Center for National Truck and Bus Statistics, an average of 5,061 trucks are involved in fatal traffic accidents each year. Florida ranked as one of the top three states in the U.S. for the greatest number of truck accidents over a four-year period. The majority of these fatal crashes involved tractor-trailers or semi-trucks.
Why do such tragic accidents occur on such a regular basis? One frequent reason is truck driver negligence. In the study mentioned above, the following driver errors were identified as contributing to a certain percentage of fatal accidents:
- Failing to stay in the correct lane (10.9 percent)
- Inattentive or distracted driving (6.1 percent)
- Driving too fast for the road conditions (4.8 percent)
- Failing to yield (4 percent)
- Drinking while driving (3.1 percent)
- Talking or texting on cellphones (0.3 percent)
Gainesville Truck Driver Fatigue
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that truck driver fatigue is a contributing factor in as many as 30 to 40 percents of all heavy truck crashes.
“Sleep deprivation and operator fatigue are critical safety issues that cut across all modes in the transportation industry,” adds the Federal Highway Administration. “Fatigue affects physical and mental alertness, decreasing an individual’s ability to operate a vehicle safely and increasing the risk of human error that could lead to fatalities and injuries. As with drugs and alcohol, sleepiness slows reaction time, decreases awareness, and impairs judgment. Long hours at the wheel make truck drivers particularly prone to drowsy-driving crashes.”
In any accident case involving a semi-truck or tractor-trailer, it is important to engage the help of a lawyer who thoroughly understands the Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations governing truck drivers and limiting the number of hours they can drive without rest.
We Have The Heart To Care And The Resources To Fight
Our motor vehicle accident attorneys will be aggressive with the other side in handling your case. However, we maintain a high level of compassion for you and your family when you are injured in a truck accident or another calamity caused by truck driver fatigue or another type of negligence.
Hiring accident reconstruction experts and other experts to investigate the crash can be expensive, so you also need a law firm with the financial resources necessary to gather evidence and potentially take the case to court. We have the resources to fight for you all the way.
Commercial Vehicle Negligence
Commercial Vehicle Crashes Caused By Employees Of Various Corporations
If an employee caused or contributed to your accident while driving a company vehicle, that company may be at least partly liable for damages. These cases are complex, however, and require a lawyer skilled in ascertaining insurance coverage, conducting asset checks and preparing for litigation. Many times, the attorney must take multiple parties to court, including the truck driver, the truck owner, the interstate trucking company and others.
- Tractor-trailers or semi-trucks
- Garbage trucks
- UPS, FedEx or DHL trucks
- Company buses or vans
- Dump trucks
- Construction vehicles
- Tow trucks
- Food delivery trucks
- Utility maintenance vehicles
- Other company vehicles
Acting Quickly And Decisively To Gather Critical Evidence
Our law firm knows the importance of obtaining evidence before it disappears from the accident scene. For instance, an entire case can depend upon matching a specific truck tire to the tread marks found on the side of the road. In such cases, our firm’s relatively small size makes us nimble enough to act swiftly.
Results-Oriented Representation For Truck Accident Victims
An overloaded truck can become unstable at higher speeds or when it turns a corner. The excess weight can also increase the distance needed to slow or stop the vehicle after the driver has applied the brakes. The conclusion to be drawn from these facts is inescapable: Overloaded trucks can cause accidents.
Jackknife Truck Accident
A jackknife truck accident involving multiple vehicles and truck driver error can set off a flurry of legal activity, as the various parties scramble for a limited pool of insurance compensation. If you do not have legal representation or you are slow to retain a lawyer, you may get shortchanged.
Experienced In Complex Cases Involving Multiple Vehicles
A jackknife truck accident often involves multiple vehicles. These types of accidents present complex issues of causation, liability and insurance coverage. You should entrust your case to a law firm with the capabilities needed to handle these challenging cases.
Negligent Hiring by Trucking Companies in Florida
But choosing to overlook the flaws in truck driver candidates and lowering hiring standards can have tragic consequences. Drivers who abuse alcohol, take artificial stimulants or engage in other dangerous behavior can cause serious or deadly truck accidents.
Helping Accident Victims Obtain Medical Care And Compensation
Many trucking companies have difficulty finding reliable drivers. With freight to haul and customers to serve, they often relax their hiring standards and accept drivers they might otherwise reject. They may also overlook rule infractions by their drivers and disciplinary problems, knowing that qualified replacements are hard to come by.
Holding Negligent Trucking Companies Responsible
Trucking companies try to make full use of their vehicles, often operating them 24 hours a day. In the effort to keep their trucks on the road, they may take shortcuts when performing maintenance tasks. The result can be mechanical failure and a catastrophic accident.
In a truck accident case, time is of the essence. Our law firm will act quickly to preserve vital evidence and begin the legal effort. We will have a professional accident reconstruction specialist on the scene soon after the collision, investigating the cause of the accident and collecting other information. This will include a thorough review of the maintenance records for the truck in question and other data. If necessary, our investigation will extend to all responsible parties, including any independent truck repair facilities that worked on the vehicle. Having identified the negligent party or parties, Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., will calculate the full value of your losses and vigorously represent you in settlement negotiations or at trial.
We aggressively represent victims of truck accidents caused by inadequate maintenance and other violations of federal trucking regulations. Our attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience representing victims of negligence in Florida, and we want to help you get the compensation you deserve.
We represent truck accident victims on a contingency fee basis. This means you will owe us attorney’s fees only if — and when — we recover money for you. We will gladly consult with you at your earliest convenience to explain how we can help.
While our law firm cannot turn back the clock, we can help you obtain compensation and justice for the wrongs done to your family. Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., will be there for you in your time of need. We are a team of attorneys dedicated to helping accident victims rebuild their lives. We provide vigorous, results-oriented representation designed to help our clients obtain full compensation for all losses incurred after a truck accident.
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In 1980, Jack J. Fine founded the law firm now known as Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A. With more than 100 years of combined legal experience, they are a well-respected personal injury law firm providing individualized service to people and families across Gainesville who have been harmed due to the negligence of others.