Commercial trucks race along Florida’s freeways every day, transporting goods in and out of the state. These trucks play a vital role in the national economy, but their size, weight, and speed pose a threat to any vehicle that gets in their way. At Sibley Dolman, we represent injured motorists who have suffered serious injuries after collisions with commercial trucks. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, we are here to help.
Causes of Truck Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration collects statistics about commercial vehicles involved in collisions. Based on their analysis, the leading causes of truck accidents include:
- Brake problems (29%)
- Truck drivers going too fast for the conditions (23%)
- Driver’s lack of familiarity with the road (22%)
- Problems with the road (20%)
- Truckers using over-the-counter drugs (17%)
- Insufficient surveillance from the driver (14%)
- Driver fatigue (13%)
- Illegal maneuver from the driver (9%)
Because accidents can have multiple causes, these statistics total more than 100%. It is important to note, however, that the statistics show that drivers contribute to a large percentage of accidents, either by driving too fast for conditions, making illegal maneuvers, using drugs, or driver fatigue. Trucking companies may also often be responsible for failure to perform adequate brake maintenance, insufficient driver training, or simply pushing drivers to exceed maximum hours and meet stringent deadlines.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Because of their size, commercial trucks can cause devastating injuries, especially to pedestrians, motorcyclists, and the occupants of passenger vehicles. Among the catastrophic injuries we commonly see are:
- Crushed arms and legs
- Internal organ damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Fractured vertebrae in the neck or back
- Spinal cord injuries
These injuries can have long-lasting consequences. For example, spinal cord injuries typically cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat. Victims will need surgery to stabilize their spinal cord and rehabilitation to relearn simple, every-day tasks. Over a lifetime, someone with incomplete motor function due to a spinal cord injury can require extensive assistive and rehabilitative care. More serious spinal cord injuries—such as paraplegia—can cost several million dollars to treat.
Even relatively minor injuries such as concussions, cuts, lacerations, strains, and sprains can be costly to treat. These injuries can worsen if you do not receive adequate medical treatment, so seek immediate medical attention in you are involved in a truck accident.
Negligence That Causes Semi-Truck Accidents
To receive compensation for your injuries, you need to show that someone else is to blame for the accident. In many accidents, injured victims show that someone’s negligence caused their injuries. In other words, they must show that the truck driver did not exercise reasonable care while driving.
Truck drivers can be negligent in many ways, including:
- Distracted driving
- Failing to yield
- Following a vehicle too closely
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving while tired
- Improperly securing the cargo in the trailer
- Overloading the truck
- Failing to inspect the vehicle properly before driving
You might also be able to sue the trucking company for negligent hiring. For example, a trucking company might not have performed necessary background checks before hiring a driver, or they might have inadequately trained their employees.
Defective Trucks Cause Severe Accidents
Sometimes, neither truck drivers nor trucking companies are responsible for a collision. Instead, some part of the vehicle was defective, and the driver lost control of the vehicle when the part malfunctioned. In these situations, you can often sue the manufacturer of the defective part along with the vehicle manufacturer. To prevail, you must show that the part was unreasonably dangerous because of a defect in how the product was designed or manufactured.
You might also be able to sue other people who moved the truck in the stream of commerce, including:
Identifying who to sue is confusing, but don’t worry. Your truck accident lawyer can review the facts surrounding the collision and identify the company or person responsible for the accident.
Compensation for Physical Truck Accident Injuries
Physical injuries not only hurt but can cost you tens of thousands of dollars—or more—to treat. Fortunately, you can recover compensation for a variety of economic and non-economic harms if someone else is liable for your accident. Recoverable damages typically include:
- Lost wages
- Lost future wages, if your injuries prevent you from returning to your job
- Medical bills
- Future medical care, if your injuries require ongoing treatment
- Property damage to your vehicle
To establish how much these economic losses cost you, you should keep all medical bills, receipts, and proof of lost income (like pay stubs or tax returns). Your lawyer will use this information as evidence to prove the amount of damages you are entitled to recover. You can also receive compensation for non-economic injuries, such as pain and suffering.
Compensation for Emotional Harms
Not all injuries are physical. After a devastating crash, you might face an avalanche of negative emotions that dramatically decrease your quality of life. Helpfully, Florida law allows injured victims to receive compensation for emotional distress, including:
For example, after suffering burns or disfiguring scars on your face, you might avoid being seen in public and withdraw from family and friends, leading to depression and anger. It is difficult to put a price tag on these emotional injuries. Unlike economic losses, you don’t have a bill or receipt that shows how much they cost. Nevertheless, you can still recover compensation for them, especially if you have a skilled personal injury attorney to assist you.
To help prove emotional distress, you can submit evidence including:
- Your own testimony about how the accident has changed you emotionally.
- Testimony from people who know you—friends, family, colleagues—who can testify about how your emotional state has changed since the accident.
- Testimony from a mental health counselor or therapist.
- Proof of prescription medications necessary to treat anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
Who is Liable for My Truck Accident Injuries?
With many truck accidents, the party that will be clearly at-fault will be the driver of the semi-truck. After they are the ones that are directly in control of the vehicle and there are a number of ways that their negligence can result in a dangerous collision. What many people may not realize is that there could possibly be other parties that can be held liable for their semi-truck accident injuries. In fact, there may be several parties that contributed negligence to a single accident and all be held liable in a semi-truck accident injury claim. Common parties found liable for semi-truck accidents include:
- The Trucking Company
- A Semi-Truck Part Manufacturer
- Semi-Truck Maintenance Provider
- Party in Charge of Maintaining the Road the Truck Crashed on
- The Loaders of the Semi-Truck
Speak With a Truck Accident Lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale
If you have been involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer or other commercial truck, help is available.
At Sibley Dolman, our truck accident attorneys have assisted numerous accident victims recover legal compensation from the parties at fault so that victims can begin repairing their lives. But Florida law imposes deadlines on the amount of time you have to bring suit after an accident, so don’t delay. Contact us today for a free consultation or call 754-208-1130.
100 SE 3rd Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394
What Our Clients Have to Say:
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