Accidents involving large commercial trucks can be terrifying due to the truck’s size and weight. Those in passenger cars who collide with trucks typically suffer severe or fatal injuries.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2012 alone, there were:
- 333,000 large trucks involved in accidents
- 3,921 people killed in those accidents (194 in Florida)
- 104,000 people injured.
Among those killed in truck crashes, 73 percent were occupants of other vehicles, while only 18 percent were occupants of the trucks, the NHTSA reports. In many of these crashes, the negligence of a truck driver, trucking company or other party is to blame.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident in Orlando, Winter Park, or elsewhere in Florida, Orlando truck accident lawyer Frank M. Eidson can help you. He knows how to handle complex truck crash investigations, take on trucking companies and their insurance companies and navigate state and federal trucking regulations. Contact us today. We can provide a free, immediate case review.
Why Do Truck Accidents Occur?
It is crucial to begin an immediate investigation after any crash involving a commercial truck – also called tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers and semi-trucks. The accident should be focused on determining the cause of the crash.
It starts by examining whether driver error played a role. Based on data from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Large Truck Crash Causation Study, this is often the case. In fact, drivers are 10 times more likely to cause a truck crash than other factors such as poor weather conditions, the study found.
Truck drivers can cause crashes due to:
- Speeding – Going faster than the posted speed limit, driving too fast in rainy, foggy or icy weather or taking a curve too fast given the tractor-trailer’s size, height and weight, leading to rollovers.
- Aggressive or illegal maneuvers – A trucker may tailgate, make an illegal pass, fail to yield or commit other dangerous acts.
- Jackknifing – When a truck’s drive wheels lock, and the trailer keeps rolling, slides out to the side and prevents the driver from being able to steer. These crashes often result from driving too fast or too close to other cars.
- Distraction – Federal rules prohibit truckers from texting or using hand-held cell phones while driving. A trucker must pay careful attention to the road and the many instruments involved with safely operating a truck. Even the slightest distraction can have catastrophic consequences.
- Fatigue – Federal regulations also limit the hours that truckers can spend on the road. Due to pressure to meet delivery deadlines, truck drivers may break these rules, drive while drowsy and cause crashes.
- Drug or alcohol impairment – A small percentage of crashes are caused by drivers who drive after drinking, consuming illegal drugs or taking prescription/over-the-counter medications that impair their faculties.
- Failure to inspect – Truckers have a duty to do their own inspections of a truck and its equipment – including safety equipment – before driving.
Trucking companies, or carriers, may allow crashes to occur as well due to:
- Hiring dangerous drivers – Companies may hire drivers who lack proper licensing and training or have a history of accidents, traffic violations or criminal offenses.
- Failing to train and supervise drivers – Truck companies should also make sure their drivers are trained and closely supervised. Unfortunately, some companies fail to monitor their drivers’ performance and whether they are complying with state and federal safety regulations.
- Failing to inspect and maintain their fleet – A dangerous truck may be allowed to get on the road due to a carrier’s failure to inspect and make necessary repairs to their vehicles before and after trips.
- Improperly loading cargo – A truck carrier bears responsibility for allowing trucks to get on the road that have unsecured cargo or excessive weight.
- Encouraging dangerous practices – Carriers may put profits before safety and encourage drivers to break rules that restrict how much time they can spend on the road or how much cargo they can transport. They may also allow records and logbooks to be neglected or, in the worst cases, falsified.
A manufacturer of trucks and their parts may also bear responsibility for causing a crash. For instance, an investigation may reveal that a crash was caused by:
- Tire blowouts or wheel roll-offs
- Defective couplings or kingpins
- Faulty brakes or clutches
- Axles that fail to bear weight.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for the Truck Crash?
As you can see, several parties may bear responsibility for a truck crash, including:
- The truck driver – For his or her own careless or reckless actions
- The trucking company – For the negligence of its driver and / or its own negligent conduct
- The truck manufacturer – For allowing a defectively designed or manufactured product to get onto the roads.
However, a truck accident investigation may reveal other parties who should be held liable in a personal injury or wrongful death claim arising from a tractor-trailer crash, including:
- Owners of the truck or trailer involved in the crash
- Mechanics who failed to make proper repairs
- Warehouse owners who hired the truck driver or trucking company
- Government agencies who allowed dangerous road conditions to exist.
A truck accident case frequently involves tracking down parties who are based outside of Florida in another state or country. It also requires an investigation of all insurance policies that may apply in your case.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help You?
At Frank M. Eidson, P.A., we can put our skill, experience and resources to work for you right away and make a difference in your case and in your life. We can:
- Investigate the accident – This investigation should start right away and include interviewing witnesses, analyzing the accident scene, examining all vehicles (including their event data recorders, or “black boxes”) and reviewing a trucking company’s logbooks and other records (including inspection and maintenance records).
- Consult with experts – Accident reconstruction specialists, engineers and others can help us to determine the cause of a crash. Medical experts, life-care planners, vocational rehabilitation experts and others can help us to assess the crash’s impact on your health and your future.
- Deal with insurance companies – We can seek a timely, full and fair settlement in your case that covers your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and more. Settlement negotiations may involve a number of different parties and their insurance companies.
- Take your case to court (if needed) – If one or more parties refuse to provide a reasonable settlement offer, we can prepare a thorough and persuasive case for trial on your behalf.
Attorney Frank M. Eidson also helps his clients to resolve any claims that health insurers or others may have to a recovery. He works with clients to ensure they receive other services they may need as they move forward in life.
Contact an Orlando Truck Accident Lawyer Today
As soon as you are ready to take action after a truck accident, you should contact an attorney. You need to take immediate steps to protect your rights and seek compensation you deserve. Call Frank M. Eidson, P.A., today or reach us online. We serve clients in Orlando and throughout Florida. Our case reviews are always free and aimed at helping you to understand your rights and options.
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