Stuart Trucking Accident Lawyer
Compassionate Treasure Coast semi-truck crash attorneys
If you've been injured in a crash involving a large truck, commercial or otherwise, you're not alone. Florida has multiple ports of entry and is a hub of national trade and export. This means that there are thousands of large trucks on Florida's roads at any given time. When the drivers of these trucks fail to maintain proper safety practices behind the wheel, other drivers may find themselves in real danger. Big trucks can cause devastating injuries. If you've been in an accident involving a large Semi-truck or any other truck in Martin County, Florida, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Our dedicated and Truck accident lawyers in Stuart are here to protect your rights and will fight to help you get what you need to recover from an accident involving a truck.
Most common truck-related accidents in Florida
Truck accidents come in many different forms. The severity of your injuries and damages can vary depending on the type of truck accident:
Commercial truck drivers are usually trained to know the risks and dangers of operating large vehicles at high speeds. However, just because they've been trained doesn't mean that they will always apply their safety training in real-life situations. Truck drivers may be excessively tired, distracted, under the influence of illicit substances, or speeding. Negligent driving causes more accidents annually in Florida than in almost any other state. Commercial truck drivers who have been careless on the road must be held liable for the damages that they cause, and the Stuart truck accident attorneys at Leanne L. Ohle, P.A. can help you do just that.
Tractor trailers and have significant blind spots. When a truck driver fails to maintain proper lookout before turning or merging, accidents can happen. Small vehicles may be pushed off the road or flipped after being impacted by a Semi-truck. This can be deadly for the drivers and passengers inside of the smaller vehicle.
When a truck driver loses control of a vehicle, the weight of the truck can cause it to go speeding down the highway, decimating anything in its path. This can happen on roads that slope or on even ground if the truck is already moving at high speeds. Runaway truck accidents can be catastrophic causing severe injuries and in many cases, death.
Tractor trailer trucks have coupling attachments. When couplings malfunction or become unbalanced, the trailer can swing out from the tractor and may collide with other vehicles. This jackknifing motion can cause the trailer or the tractor to directly impact other vehicles head-on. This can cause all kinds of injuries and damages to other Stuart drivers.
Losses sustained in truck collisions
With truck accidents, the losses and injuries are often far greater than they would be when other, smaller motor vehicles, are involved. It's easy to see why. Massive 18-wheelers weigh more than smaller cars, trucks, and SUVs. Even pickup trucks can cause significant damage to smaller vehicles. These losses can truly be overwhelming. If you have been in a truck accident, we will review your case and tally up your losses so that you can be sure that you'll receive adequate compensation for damages and suffering.
When structuring your lawsuit, our truck accident attorneys will factor in your medical expenses, estimated future medical costs, lost wages, future lost earnings, pain and suffering, and disability or disfigurement. Since losses can be extensive, there may be quite a lot at stake in your personal injury claims case. Our attorneys are well aware of this and will apply their skills, experience, knowledge, and legal training to help ensure that your case has the best possible outcome in court.
How to proceed if you've been hurt in a truck accident
If you've been injured in an accident involving a truck, there are a few things that you can do to help ensure your case will have a better resolution. If you've been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, it's important to remember that you may face resistance as you file your claim. Trucking and construction companies have been known to try and protect their own. The company who employs the truck driver behind the wheel of the truck that hit you will probably do what they can to try to minimize your claims. Insurance companies can also be difficult. Since Florida is a no-fault state, your insurance company and the insurance company of the offending driver may try to pay you less than you deserve. That's why it's so critical to handle things correctly from the earliest stages of your case.
We strongly urge you to contact a personal injury attorney before speaking to anyone from your insurance company. Our lawyers can meet you at your home or in the hospital if need be. Your attorney will be able to advise you as you speak with insurance representatives. At Leanne L. Ohle, P.A., an experienced Stuart truck accident attorney will work to protect your best interests from the earliest stages of your truck accident case.
Avoid sharing the details of your accident or any personal information on social media after being injured. The attorney fighting against you may use your social media posts to say that you aren't as injured as you claim to be. Talking about your case in any public format can cause you problems as your lawsuit progresses. Your lawyer will be able to tell you what's safe to share and what you should probably keep to yourself until your lawsuit has reached a conclusion.
Log everything you remember
As soon as you can, it's a good idea to objectively write down everything that you can remember from your accident. This can help your attorney track down witnesses and gather evidence to support your case. Knowing the facts of your case can also be helpful if you have to testify in court.
Leanne L. Ohle has a team of caring and dedicated lawyers and legal experts who are ready to help you get through the rough times you may be in. We understand that the ramifications of a truck-related accident can be severe. Our lawyers will fight to ensure that you will be compensated fully for your suffering. If you've been in a truck accident, there's a good chance you aren't at fault. The sooner you contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys in Stuart, the sooner we can help you start getting your life back.
Possible scenarios where the trucking company
could be found negligent in your accident
One of the first pieces of advice Florida drivers receive when learning to navigate the roads is to always be mindful of nearby vehicles. Drivers in other cars, trucks, and SUVs present enough of a hazard if they are driving unsafely. Road conditions become even more dangerous in cases in which commercial trucks are involved in risky behavior. Commercial truck drivers and their employers may be liable for an accident victim’s injuries if the driver or the trucking company failed to take reasonable steps to share the road safely. The attorneys at Ohle and Ohle can help Florida commercial truck accident victims recover compensation for their injuries.
Commercial trucks are inherently more dangerous than passenger vehicles for several reasons. Large trucks like box trucks, semi trucks, and flatbeds present greater risks on Florida roads due to their size. Hazardous or improperly-loaded cargo can potentially create additional problems in the event of an accident.
To minimize the risks associated with commercial trucks, drivers and trucking companies are required to adhere to more stringent safety standards. These legal guidelines call for drivers to receive additional licensing and training. Commercial truck owners must also have their vehicles properly serviced to prevent mechanical hazards. Employers can only allow drivers to operate trucks for a limited number of hours without requiring drivers to take a mandatory rest break. Failure to follow legal guidelines and industry standards may result in a court ordering a truck driver or commercial truck company to compensate the victim in a Florida truck accident.
There are several ways in which companies in the commercial truck industry and truck drivers sometimes behave negligently. Listed below are a few examples.
Driving with excessive speed
Speeding can be dangerous when anyone does it. The risk of a serious accident occurring increases when commercial trucks travel faster than the speed limit. Larger vehicles require a greater stopping distance. Truck drivers are generally trained to remain a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of the truck. Speeding reduces the amount of time and space a driver has to come to a safe stop should the need suddenly arise.
Disregarding hazardous weather
A change in weather calls for a change in driving behavior. The law calls for all drivers to adjust their behavior accordingly. For truck drivers, this may mean slowing down and increasing their following distance even more when the pavement is slippery. If heavy rain, snow, or fog limits visibility, the driver may be required to adjust the truck’s light settings or even pull over and wait for conditions to improve.
Commercial truck drivers often operate on a tight schedule. Therefore, a driver may feel pressured to drive unsafely in hazardous conditions.
Driving while distracted
Drivers spend their entire workday on the road. Getting distracted can happen fairly easily. Distracted driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Therefore, truck drivers must take precautions to reduce distractions while on the road. Distractions may originate inside the vehicle or from the outside. Eating, texting, using a phone, and reading are common distractions that arise from inside the vehicle. Exterior distractions include objects along the road, other vehicles, and pedestrians. If a driver causes an accident while distracted, the driver will likely be liable for any resulting injuries to others on the road.
Driving while drowsy
Drowsy driving is often compared to driving while intoxicated. A drowsy driver is more likely to have a slower reaction time, compromised judgment, and more difficulty remaining in control of the vehicle. Truck drivers can easily become fatigued by the physical demands and intense mental focus their occupation requires of them. Although required rest breaks are standard in the industry, employers and drivers are sometimes inclined to push the limits to meet deadlines. To avoid drowsy driving accidents, employers should monitor and enforce rest break requirements. Drivers should get adequate sleep when off duty and pull over at the first sign of drowsiness when on the road. Getting exercise and proper nutrition can help drivers manage fatigue in the long-term.
Driving while intoxicated
Truck drivers receive random testing to detect drug and alcohol use. Even though there is the constant possibility of drug testing, some truck drivers still drive while under the influence. The commercial truck industry is not immune to common sociological problems like drug addiction and alcohol abuse. Addicts are generally unable to function without abusing their substance of choice or a substitute. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that a small percentage of drivers test positive for drugs or alcohol. Both the employer and the driver may be liable if an intoxicated driver causes injury in a truck accident.
Improperly maintaining a vehicle
Trucking companies are responsible for maintaining their trucks in safe, operable condition. If investigators determine a truck accident was caused by improper vehicle maintenance, the driver may not be at fault; however, the driver’s employer may be ordered to compensate victims injured in the accident. Brake failure, broken windshield left unrepaired, and badly worn tires are examples of improper or lacking maintenance.
Florida truck accidents caused by reckless driving
Florida courts usually apply the theory of negligence when deciding truck collision cases. However, sometimes a court may award damages to an accident victim if the driver or trucking company behaved recklessly. A defendant behaves reckless if it acts in a way that reflects willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others. If the behavior is especially egregious, judges sometimes award punitive damages to discourage similar behavior by the defendant and others. Although punitive damages are not designed to cover the plaintiff’s losses, courts order punitive damages to be paid to the plaintiff.
Contact Ohle and Ohle to learn more about Florida truck accident victims’ right to receive compensation. Our compassionate team will go over the facts of your case to determine the available legal remedies. Call us today to receive a free case evaluation.
TRUCK ACCIDENT FAQs
Who is liable for my truck accident?
The determination of liability depends on the facts of the accident. Truck accidents can muddy the picture of who is responsible due to the multiple parties who have ownership or other responsibilities for a truck and its operation. A truck driver who was reckless, distracted, drowsy or intoxicated could be at fault. The trucking company itself may be liable if it acted negligently, such as failing to perform necessary maintenance. Truck parts manufacturers will be subject to your personal injury claim should the cause of the accident lie with a defective part. At times, other third parties bear the blame. For example, a cargo loader may have made errors that resulted in a crash.
How do I get evidence about the cause of a truck accident?
When possible, a truck accident victim should get information about the trucker's insurance and hours of service log. Taking pictures of the accident always aids a case by presenting hard facts about the nature of the crash, such as placement of vehicles and extent of damage. A police officer responding to the accident may cite important details in a report about apparent speed of vehicles, weather conditions and whether a truck driver appeared intoxicated or admitted to being tired or distracted. A victim has a right to request this report from the responding agency. Getting contact information from witnesses may also lead to testimony that strengthens an accident claim. Unfortunately, a seriously injured person will not have the ability to collect evidence or ask for insurance information at the time of an accident. In that case, a relative, friend or lawyer could track down information.
How does an hours of service violation affect my truck accident case?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets hours of service rules for truckers that establish maximum amounts of time that they can be behind the wheel on any given day. These regulations are intended to combat the problem of truck driver fatigue, which causes drowsy driving and increases the chances of drivers making mistakes. An hours of service violation creates the possibility that you can sue the trucking company. The employer could then face liability for a driver's actions because the employer may have encouraged the driver to work longer than is allowed by law. The failure to comply with regulations makes proving negligence easier.