The roadways of Clearwater, Florida are heavily traversed by trucks and tractor-trailers and rear–end vehicle collisions caused by truckers happen regularly. If you or someone you love has been injured in a chain reaction motor vehicle accident caused by a truck, tractor-trailer, or big rig, you may be entitled to money damages under Florida law.
Our experienced Clearwater, Florida trucking accident lawyers can discuss the facts and circumstances of your case with you, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and/or litigate the case for you in the Florida court system.
Common Causes of Clearwater Chain Reaction Crashes Involving Trucks
Big rigs and tractor-trailers are very large and heavy vehicles. When these vehicles collide with the rear end of a smaller vehicle – particularly at a high rate of speed – a chain reaction collision can result. Trucks and tractor-trailers are so large that they have enough force to collide with a first vehicle, which in turn collides with several subsequent vehicles.
Collisions that are initiated by tractor-trailers and big rigs usually come about when a trucker is in a hurry. In order for truckers to log more hours on a trip, they must typically drive for long periods of time – often without much sleep. Truckers will sometimes even resort to drugs in order to help them stay awake for long periods of time on the road. Many truckers will try to log as many miles as possible on a given trip, making them eligible for monetary bonuses and raises. The trucking companies also reap financial benefits when a trucker arrives at a destination quickly.
Some of the main causes of Clearwater chain reaction collisions involving trucks include the following:
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Reckless, careless, or distracted driving (including calling or texting while driving)
- Operating a truck while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Disobeying traffic control devices (including running red lights, stop signs, or yield signs)
- Failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles
- Cutting curves too sharply
- Lack of sleep and fatigued driving
- Driving too fast for the existing road conditions
Florida Law Governing Clearwater Chain Reaction Collisions Caused by Trucks
In Clearwater chain reaction collision cases, there is generally a presumption that the driver of the vehicle in the rear (or the driver of the vehicle that is the furthest back in the chain) is the ultimate cause of the collision. This creates what is known in the law as a ‘rebuttable presumption’ and the burden of proof falls on the truck driver to show that someone or something else caused the collision (e.g., faulty brakes, one of the other drivers in the chain, etc.).
In most Clearwater rear-end chain reaction crashes where the truck or tractor-trailer is the last vehicle in the chain, the truck or tractor-trailer driver is automatically deemed negligent for causing the collision. In other words, it is presumed that the truck driver failed to act as a ‘reasonably prudent’ truck driver would have acted under the same or similar circumstances and that the truck driver breached the applicable standard of care, thereby causing the chain reaction collision.
The injured motor vehicle driver (who could be driving any of the other vehicles in the chain) must also show that the truck driver’s negligence was both the factual and legal cause of all injuries and damages.
In addition to the negligent truck driver, an injured motor vehicle driver may also have a legal cause of action against the trucking company under an agency theory of recovery. In other words, the truck driver’s negligence could be imputed to the trucking company. The trucking company might also be held jointly and severally liable1 for any monetary damages awarded to the injured motor vehicle driver under one or more of the following legal theories of recovery:
- Negligent entrustment
- Negligent supervision
- Negligent hiring or retention
In order for an injured motor vehicle driver to receive monetary compensation in a Clearwater trucking accident case, he or she must have ordinarily sustained physical injuries and damages as a result of the chain-reaction collision. Injured motor vehicle drivers may be able to recover some or all of the following types of damages:
- Payment of all related medical bills, including hospital bills, physical therapy bills, and future medical bills
- Compensation for lost wages for time missed from work (including time missed for attending medical or physical therapy appointments or time spent recovering from injuries or medical procedures)
- Past, present, and future physical pain and suffering
- Past, present, and future emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of earning capacity in cases of permanent injury or impairment
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship or spousal support
- Costs of lifetime care or treatment in a nursing home, convalescent center, or assisted living facility
Contact an Experienced Clearwater Trucking Accident Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
Big rig trucks and tractor-trailers, because of their heavy weight and large size, can cause a chain reaction of collisions, which can, in turn, result in serious personal injuries and damages. Our experienced Clearwater, Florida truck accident attorneys can discuss all of the facts and circumstances of your accident with you – including the manner in which the accident happened – and can help you to recover the monetary compensation you may be entitled to under the law.
Trucking accidents are sometimes difficult to prove, and expert testimony may be necessary. Expert testimony in these cases usually comes in the form of an accident reconstructionist who can shed light on how the accident happened or a medical professional who can attest to a permanent injury or impairment.
By and large, insurance companies are not interested in fully or fairly compensating you for the injuries you sustained in the accident. Our experienced Clearwater trucking accident lawyers will be able to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf or take your case to trial, if necessary.
You can contact the experienced Clearwater trucking accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group today by calling 727-451-6900, or contact us online.