Were you injured in an accident involving a commercial truck? Was the truck driver or trucking company responsible for the crash? If so, you might be entitled to compensation. The Florida personal injury lawyers of Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. could provide the legal representation you need to hold the at-fault party liable and seek the money you’re owed for the losses you suffered.
Collisions with commercial trucks are much different than collisions between two passenger vehicles. Trucks are large, heavy, and contain cargo that can quickly become dangerous debris during a crash. The force exerted on someone’s body during an accident with a large truck is typically violent and leads to severe injuries. Many victims require emergency medical care and ongoing treatment to heal.
The expenses associated with truck accidents are often significant. Hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, and other types of bills can become an economic burden and push a person into debt. If you can’t afford these costs, it’s a stressful experience, and you may wonder if you will ever recover from your injuries, both financial and physical. If the truck driver or another party were entirely at fault for the crash, they should be financially responsible for all the expenses you incurred.
Learn more about how Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. can help you after a truck accident by calling 561.689.8180 for a free consultation with one of our Florida truck accident attorneys.
Common Types of Truck Accidents
At Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A., we have decades of experience taking on various accident cases involving commercial trucks. The most common types include:
- Rollover accidents – Vehicles with a high center of gravity, such as commercial trucks, can roll over in various scenarios. Improper braking, uneven cargo load, sharp turns, and other hazardous factors can cause the truck to roll over.
- Jackknife accidents – A truck jackknifes when the tractor and trailer swing towards each other to form an angle. This often results from the driver losing control of the vehicle due to steering overcorrection, swerving to avoid a pothole, and other sudden maneuvers.
- Rear-end collisions – The smaller vehicle occupants typically suffer more harm than the trucker when a commercial truck collides with the back of a car. It jolts the driver and passengers forward then backward quickly, causing serious injuries.
- T-bone accidents – The front end of the truck strikes the side of another vehicle during a T-bone accident. This type of collision commonly happens when the truck driver runs a red light or stop sign and crashes into a car already in the middle of the intersection.
- Underride accidents – An underride accident involves a car crashing into the back or side of a truck and sliding under the trailer. This type of accident places the smaller vehicle occupants at significant risk of debilitating injuries and death.
- Head-on collisions – Two passenger cars crashing into each other head-on is violent. When one of those vehicles is a commercial truck, it can be fatal. In 2019, 618 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in head-on accidents with large trucks. It was the most deadly type of truck accident that year in the United States.
- Wide-turn accidents – When approaching a turn, the truck driver must prepare by checking all four of their blind spots, swinging the truck out wide, and completing the turn without crashing into other vehicles, jumping the curb, or ending up in oncoming traffic.
Any of these truck accident types can lead to injuries, property damage, and fatalities. If you were involved in a collision with a commercial truck, it’s imperative to contact Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. immediately. You will need an experienced legal team to help you hold the negligent party liable.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
One or multiple parties could be at fault for a truck accident. It isn’t just the driver that must keep the people around them safe. Trucking companies are responsible for hiring qualified drivers, providing adequate training, and maintaining all the vehicles in their fleet. Other individuals and companies also play a part in preventing dangerous situations that can lead to accidents.
The most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Drunk driving – Everyone knows the effects of alcohol on a person’s driving abilities. Operating an 80,000-pound vehicle is more challenging when the truck driver can’t make good decisions or react quickly to hazards and emergencies.
- Speeding – Accidents involving large trucks at any speed are dangerous. However, if the truck driver exceeds the speed limit, the results can be catastrophic. The impact of both vehicles colliding shakes the occupants of the small car violently forward and backward or side to side, causing whiplash, bone fractures, and other debilitating injuries.
- Driver fatigue – Federal regulations prohibit truck drivers from spending more than the maximum allowed hours on the road during a single shift. Driving beyond the limit can cause fatigue and prevent the trucker from operating the vehicle at full-functioning capacity.
- Failure to check blind spots – Commercial trucks have massive blind spots on all four sides. Changing lanes, turning, and merging requires the driver to check every blind spot thoroughly before making a move.
- Tailgating – A truck that follows a small car too closely places the occupants in danger and increases the risk of a collision. The truck driver can’t stop in time to avoid a crash if the vehicle ahead suddenly slows down or stops.
- Poorly maintained truck – The trucker is supposed to perform a thorough inspection of their vehicle at the end of every driving shift. The trucking company should also perform routine maintenance and promptly repair damage and defects. If the vehicle doesn’t function correctly, the driver could lose control and crash.
- Improper or sudden braking – Truck drivers must prepare far in advance if they need to bring their vehicle to a complete stop. Slamming on the brakes can cause them to lose control and veer off the road into another vehicle or the cargo to shift and throw the truck off-balance.
- Distracted driving – Behaviors that take a person’s focus and attention off the task of driving are risky. Texting is a common type of distraction that prevents a trucker from noticing what’s happening in front of them.
- Failure to yield – Every motorist should yield to others in specific situations, such as at an intersection. If a truck driver blows through a stop sign, they can barrel into a small car already passing through.
Since multiple parties could be involved in the operation and function of a commercial truck, determining who is at fault can be difficult. Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. is familiar with accident investigations like these. We can review all contributing factors, obtain the available evidence, and prove who caused the accident.
Injuries Often Associated with Truck Accidents
An empty tractor-trailer weighs around 35,000 pounds. However, a truck with a full cargo load can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. During a collision, the smaller vehicle occupants end up with more severe injuries than the truck driver. Death is common in accidents involving high speeds.
The most common injuries caused by truck accidents include:
- Concussion, traumatic brain injury, and other head injuries
- Loss of limb
- Psychological damage
- Spinal cord and back injuries
- Broken bones
- Permanent disfigurement or scarring
- Cuts, burns, and bruises
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Neck injuries
Unfortunately, some accident victims become disabled. They can’t recover from their extensive injuries and end up in a wheelchair or require ongoing treatment to manage pain and other lingering issues. An accident and its resulting disabilities are disruptive to a person’s life and create various obstacles.
Possible Compensation You Can Recover in Florida
The no-fault system in Florida requires injured accident victims to turn to their car insurance company for compensation before going after the at-fault driver. Personal injury protection (PIP) is a requirement for all motorists. The minimum limit you must carry is $10,000, and it covers medical treatment and other financial losses regardless of who caused the crash.
However, $10,000 usually isn’t enough to compensate for someone’s total losses, especially if the accident involves a commercial truck. You could file a claim with the truck driver’s insurance carrier, but your injury must meet the serious injury threshold. That means you must suffer one of the following:
- Permanent and significant loss of a vital bodily function;
- Permanent and significant disfigurement or scarring;
- Permanent injury other than disfigurement or scarring; or
Federal regulations require trucking companies to purchase liability coverage for their truck drivers based on the weight of the truck being operated and the type of cargo it contains. When you file a liability claim, you could seek compensation for a range of losses, such as:
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Physical impairment or disfigurement
- Vehicle rental costs
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
You could also file a lawsuit as long as your injury fits the requirements of the serious injury threshold. You must follow a strict deadline if you want to sue the truck driver, trucking company, or another at-fault party for your losses. Florida has a four-year statute of limitations, meaning you have four years from the date of the crash to file your lawsuit.
At Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A., we have over 40 years of experience fighting for our clients. We will advocate for your rights and aggressively pursue the maximum compensation you deserve. You should not walk away from this experience without the money you’re owed for your injuries.
Brevard County, Broward County, Coral Springs, Davie, Dearfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Margate, Miramar, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Sunrise, Weston, Collier County, Naples, Duval County, Jacksonville, Lee County, Fort Myers, Leon County, Tallahassee, Manatee County, Bradenton, Marion County, Ocala, Martin County, Indiantown, Stuart, Miami-Dade County, Aventura, Parkland, Greenacres, Royal Palm Beach, Tamarac, Wellington, Jupiter, and Miami.