Florida truck accidents are responsible for countless deaths every year. Even when victims survive, they usually must contend with astronomical medical bills, weeks or months out of work, and much pain and suffering. If you or a loved one was involved in a truck accident, you may be able to recover compensation. A truck accident lawyer in Plantation at Coffey Trial Law can help: 954-541-3194.
Common Types of Truck Accidents
Not all truck accidents are the same, but just about all of them can cause serious damage. Some of the most common types of truck accidents are:
- Override: This occurs when a truck runs over a smaller vehicle in a rear-end collision
- Underride: Smaller vehicles may rear-end the truck in front of them and get stuck underneath the truck’s trailer.
- Jackknife: If a truck driver suddenly steps on his brakes, the truck may jackknife, causing the trailer to skid outward and come to rest at an angle with the truck’s cab.
- Rollover: A truck can roll over if the driver did not pack or secure cargo correctly or if he or she takes a turn too quickly.
- Squeeze Play: This type of accident occurs when a passenger car driver, mistaking a truck driver’s intentions, assumes the truck is changing lanes and tries to overtake the truck on the right. When the truck driver begins a right turn, the passenger car is squeezed between the truck and the shoulder or curb.
What causes a truck accident?
Truck accidents occur for a number of reasons, such as:
- Distracted driving: Cell phone use (e.g., texting, surfing the internet, etc.), eating, reading, changing radio stations, etc. Regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) forbid truck drivers from hand-held cell phone use.
- Impaired driving: Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can negatively impact vision, reaction times, and decision-making. Under FMCSA regulations, truck drivers cannot operate a truck with a blood alcohol content of .04 or higher.
- Reckless driving: Speeding, following too closely, driving erratically, or passing illegally are all forms of reckless driving. Performing these actions behind the wheel of a large truck can be especially dangerous because a truck is much harder to maneuver.
- Driver fatigue: Trucking companies often have strict schedules requiring their drivers to make deliveries within a limited amount of time. Federal regulations limit how many consecutive hours a truck driver can drive.
- Inadequate training: Trucking companies must ensure their drivers have received proper training. A lack of training could mean negligence on the part of the trucking company as well as the truck driver.
Truck Accident Injuries
Truck accidents can cause more serious injuries than car accidents do due to the size and weight of the trucks. Truck accident victims can suffer from:
- Neck and spinal injuries, e.g., whiplash, dislocated discs, paralysis, etc.
- Brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Burns and lacerations
Who is liable for a truck accident?
While this question might seem straightforward, it rarely is. Even if the truck driver is 100 percent responsible for your accident, he or she is likely not the liable party in your accident.
Vicarious liability laws allow victims to hold employers liable for any actions their employees take within the scope of their employment. This means that you will likely hold the trucking company, rather than the driver, liable for your accident.
Note: Even if the driver was not using the truck within the scope of his or her employment, the trucking company may be liable for negligent hiring or retention of the driver. For example, if the truck driver was on a break and went to the local bar and had a few too many, the trucking company would likely not be liable. However, if the trucking company knew the driver had a drinking problem and kept him or her on, it may be liable for accidents caused by the driver’s intoxication.
How do I prove the truck driver was responsible?
In order to file a successful suit against the truck driver involved in your accident, you will need to establish that the driver was at fault for the accident that caused your injuries. You can support your case by presenting the following types of evidence:
- Your medical records
- Expert testimony
- Witness testimony
- Surveillance footage
- The truck itself
- Driver personnel records
- Hours of service records
- Inspection records
- Data from the truck’s onboard data recorder
- Logs kept by truck driver
- Other records in possession of the trucking company
Most of this evidence is in the hands of the trucking company. This is problematic as federal laws allow the company to destroy records after a certain period of time.
However, you can stop this destruction by sending a letter of spoliation. This letter lets the company know that it is part of a civil action and that it holds certain evidence that it must preserve.
Writing these letters can be difficult as you must write and draft them in a certain way. Our attorneys have years of experience writing a proper spoliation letter. We will ensure the trucking company preserves the necessary evidence and use this evidence to build the strongest case possible.
What can I recover?
If your lawsuit is successful, you may recover damages to cover the expenses you incurred as a result of the accident. You may recover compensation for:
- Lost wages: Lost wages cover the amount you would have earned on-the-job between the date of your accident and the date you went back to work.
- Loss of future earning capacity: Many truck accident victims suffer long-term or permanent injuries, which may affect their ability to earn income in the future.
- Medical expenses: Compensation can cover physical therapy, surgery costs, hospital bills, and other medical expenses.
- Pain and suffering: An accident victim can recover damages for the pain caused by crash-related injuries. Your attorney will base the value of these damages on the severity of the crash and how the injuries affect your daily life.
- Loss of consortium: An uninjured spouse of an accident victim can recover damages for a loss of affection or companionship resulting from the victim’s injuries.
The attorneys at Coffey Law Firm have extensive experience representing the victims of trucking accidents.
We will build a successful case against the truck driver and trucking company involved in your accident by analyzing the facts of the case, gathering evidence, and taking witness statements.
To find out more about how we can help you recover damages, contact us for a free consultation at 954-541-3194.