Tampa Truck Accident Lawyers Ready to Fight for You
When you are involved in an auto accident with a commercial truck, the trucking company will spring into action immediately. They will send injury attorneys to the scene right away.
These attorneys are there to protect the trucking company‘s bottom line. Evidence may disappear. Evidence that is vital to show when a truck driver breaks trucking rules.
Tractor trailer accidents are complex and require swift action. The experienced Tampa truck accident attorneys at Denmon Pearlman have the resources and knowledge to bring justice to these claims.
- Top Ten Truck Accident Factors
- Deadlines in Truck Accident Cases (Why We File Suit Quickly)
- How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
- Causes of Truck Accidents
- Laws Involved in Truck Crashes
- Injuries in Truck Crashes
- Who Is Liable For a Semi -Crash
- Insurance and Truck Accident Claim
- Damages in Truck Accident Claims
- Settlement Examples
- Types of Truck Accidents We Handle
- Contact a Tampa Truck Accident Attorney Now
Top Ten Truck Accident Factors
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) cites the following top ten truck accident factors:
- Brake Issues
- Congestion, backed-up traffic, or other traffic flow interruptions.
- Prescription drug use
- Unfamiliarity with the roadway
- Roadway problems
- Crosswalks or other requirements to stop before the crash
- OTC drug abuse or use
- Inadequate surveillance
Deadlines In A Truck Accident Case (Why We File Suit Quickly)
When filing a lawsuit against a trucking company, it needs to be done very quickly.
Truck Log Deadlines
A trucking company is expected to keep logbooks for six months. The truck driver, however, only has to keep theirs for seven days. This means that a delay in filing a suit could lead to incriminating evidence being lost forever.
Statute of Limitations
You must file a lawsuit for a trucking claim brought in Tampa, Florida within four (4) years of the date of the accident. If an uninsured motorist claims, the deadline is extended to five years. However, if it is a claim against a municipality or other government entity, the statute of limitations is only two (2) years.
How A Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You After Your Accident
Identify All Lines of Insurance Coverage
Truck accident cases typically deal with multiple insurance coverages. A truck accident lawyer will ferret out the applicable insurances and obtain the policy documents. In certain interstate trucking cases, case law allows us to “impute” additional coverage that was not purchased!
In many legal compensation cases, settlements are influenced by the amount the guilty party is able to pay. The good news is the truck owner must legally carry a minimum of $750,000 in insurance.
Hire Accident Reconstruction and Other Experts
The right expert can build a Truck Accident Case. Accident Reconstructionists are helpful in cases where the Trucking company is denying some or all liability for the accident. Also, accident reconstructionists can also give opinions as to the speed and “delta-V” of the vehicles, which can then be turned over to biomechanical engineers to develop opinions on causation and injuries.
Go On Fact-Finding Mission
The facts are the key to a truck case! Every trucking accident lawyer needs to get the FACTS on:
- Ownership of the tractor and trailer
- Speed of the vehicles
- Property damage
- Prior accident record
- Client Injuries
- The roadway
“Follow The Trail” To Hold Everyone Accountable
Trucking cases are unique in the number of players involved who may have contributed to the collision. Potential parties may include:
- The trucking company that owns the tractor
- The driver of the tractor
- The supervisor of the driver of the tractor
- The shipping broker
- The owner of the trailer
- The owner of the “Box” on the trailer
Coordinate Medical Treatment
Always seek medical treatment after an accident, especially one involving a commercial vehicle. This does multiple things:
- Helps heal injuries so the client can increase the chances of getting better!
- Manages pain
- Creates a historical record of the client’s pain and trauma
- Defines past medical bills
- Outlines future treatment plans for pain management
The truck accident attorney is a liaison with the medical doctor’s office. He or she tracks medical treatment and learns about the client’s injuries from the treating doctors.
Settle Case or Take To Trial
Most importantly, the semi-tractor attorney will resolve the claim for the client. We call this civil justice: securing money to represent the value of what was taken from the injured client!
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Types of trucking lawsuits include:
Truck drivers are responsible for the majority of accidents involving trucks in the United States. Although regulations are strict, they are not always followed. Truckers might sometimes violate laws regarding safety, leading to accidents. Examples include aggressive driving, not performing inspections, and breaking road traffic laws. A common cause is driver fatigue.
Trucking Company Error
Trucking companies are usually out to make as much money as they can. Sometimes this can encourage them to cut corners and act negligently. This can include failing to maintain the fleet, failing to monitor their drivers, and even hiring drivers who are not sufficiently qualified. Some might even actively encourage unsafe driving among the drivers they employ.
Cargo Loader Error
It is important that a truck is correctly loaded for it to be safe. Accidents can occur if cargo is not properly secured. Overloading is another safety hazard, while under-loading liquids can also be dangerous in tanker trailers. Cargoes are sometimes loaded by a third party instead of a trucking company employee, which can also cause errors.
Semi Driver Fatigue
The most common negligence we see a driver commit is driver fatigue. Driver fatigue contributes to thousands of truck driving accidents a year. The problem is so serious that Federal regulations govern:
- How long a driver can be on the road in a given stretch
- How much time the driver must take off in between shifts, and
- How many hours the driver can log in a given week.
Injuries in Truck Crashes
Just like a car accident, a person injured in a car crash through no fault of their own is entitled to recover money damages. These money damages are the best we can do to restore the victim back to their original “condition”.
Truck accident victims can seek money damages for the following:
- Medical bills and future medical care
- Lost wages
- Surgery and other medical treatment
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental and Emotional Anguish
- Disfigurement and permanent scarring
- Loss of enjoyment of life
A victim can seek money damages for both the past and into the future.
Who Is Liable For Semi-Truck Accidents
At the core of a personal injury claim is determining fault.
Or more appropriately, determining who is responsible for the truck accident? Who is responsible for the injuries caused to the victim?
- The Tractor Owner: Florida‘s “dangerous instrumentality” doctrine holds the owner of vehicles responsible for damage caused by a permissive user. That means the owner of the tractor will be held responsible for the negligence of the truck driver.
- The At-Fault Driver: Naturally, a negligent driver is responsible for any injuries caused by his or her negligence. Common negligent actions by the bad driver include speeding, rear-ending, jackknifing, making dangerous U-turns, making improper left turns, falling asleep at the wheel, driving tired, and more.
- The Company: Under the doctrine of Respondent Superior, a company is held responsible for the negligent actions of its employees when the employees are operating on the job. We call this operating under the “course and scope” of employment.
- The Broker-Shipper: Sometimes we see trucks with too much (unsafe) cargo carried in the box. This can cause issues with the performance of the truck such as slow stopping speeds. The broker shipper can be held liable for contributing to a truck accident in this manner.
- The Trailer Owner: Trailer owners must be responsible to make sure the placards and stickers on the side of the trailer are visible and able to reflect light. That way, other drivers on the road can see the trailer and break when needed. These placards and reflective tape are governed by Federal Statute.
A Tampa truck accident lawyer will spend significant time at the onset of the case to make sure all of the responsible players are involved. The more players, the more insurance companies involved. The more insurance policies, the more coverage that can possibly be used to pay money damages to an injured motorist.
Insurance and Truck Accident Claims
The insurance industry is the backbone of our tort system. Motor vehicle drivers use insurance to pool the risk just in case a driver is negligent and causes injury to another.
Trucking cases are no different.
Semi-truck injury lawyers want to find all of the insurances that might be used to get justice for your claim. Of course, the insurance company is never generous enough to disclose insurance. The attorney needs to use tools in Florida Statues to compel the insurance companies to provide full and fair disclosure.
Luckily, Federal Law mandates that interstate trucks carry a minimum of $750,000.00 in insurance. In certain scenarios, insurance can be “imputed” on trucking carriers to create additional coverage.
Damages in Truck Accident Claims
The losses that you have incurred from an accident will fall into three main categories:
Economic damages are calculated as the financial costs the accident has caused you. This will include items such as the wages that you will lose as a result of being unable to work. Medical bills are also taken into account when deciding on settlements. This part of the settlement is generally not to compensate the victim directly, but to compensate third parties such as any involved insurance company and medical providers. These will generally be paid directly to third parties.
Finally, in some trucking accident cases, you can collect punitive damages. This is when the other driver’s actions were willful, malicious, or intentional. For example, a truck driver who drives without the amount of sleep required by federal law according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Federal regulations are meant to keep you safe.
Any kind of motor vehicle accident is likely to be a physically and emotionally traumatic experience. The potential devastation caused by a truck accident can be very traumatic indeed. Non-economic settlements look to compensate the victim accidents for the pain and suffering they have experienced from the accident. Victims are also compensated for any loss of enjoyment in life. This will include no longer being able to take part in their favorite activities due to injuries and/or emotional trauma.
Your own liability in the accident will also need to be assessed. Often, both parties can be at fault for an accident to an extent. The degree to which each party is at fault will also influence any settlement. The evidence we and the other party gather will be used to determine fault.
Types Of Truck Accidents We Handle
Negligence: The most common cause or type of lawsuit in a trucking accident case is a negligence lawsuit. Simply, the allegation is that the driver had a duty of care to the injured party to drive reasonably on the roadways of Florida and the driver didn’t do that. For example driver fatigue.
Negligent Entrustment: Similarly, our truck accident lawyers bring negligent entrustment claims against the trucking company. These are cases where the driver may have a history of wrongdoing, driving without getting enough sleep, or even driving on a suspended license. Therefore, the trucking company that hired the driver should have known better and should not have entrusted such a dangerous commercial vehicle to the driver.
Wrongful Death: A special kind of trucking lawsuit and an unfortunate one is wrongful death. Florida has a unique and specific law when it comes to filing lawsuits after somebody has died as a result of someone else’s negligence. We call these wrongful death actions or lawsuits.
Product Liability: Defective products like blown-out tires can cause catastrophic injuries. We bring these actions against the product manufacturer as opposed to just bringing the action against the driver of the vehicle or the owner of the trucking company. We call these product liability claims.
Jackknifing: Articulated trucks consist of two main parts: the trailer and the vehicle in front that tows the trailer. In some instances, such as if the towing vehicle skids on the road surface, the trailer can push from behind. This pushing can cause the towing vehicle to spin, leaving it facing backward. This maneuver is known as a jackknife and is a common cause of accidents with trucks.
Rear-End Collisions: Trucks are very large and much harder to handle than cars and other smaller vehicles. They can also take a lot longer to stop than other vehicles because they are so heavy. Rear-end accidents happen when the truck drives into the back of another vehicle. They can be caused by erratic driving from the drivers in front of the truck. They can also be the truck driver’s fault.
Contact a Tampa Truck Accident Attorney Now
Christian Denmon, our lead trucking accident attorney, has settled trucking accident cases for 7 figures and has litigated against trucking companies from Wal-Mart (Swift) to CSX. A National Trial Lawyer “Top 40 Under 40” attorney and “Super Lawyer”, he leverages his know-how to make life-changing settlements happen for his client.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an 18-wheeler truck accident you may have a case. We can help you get the compensation you deserve. Get started with a free case evaluation. In 2021, we are fully digital and can handle the entire case with you using your iPhone. Call us at 813-553-3232 to get started today.