Truck Accident

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Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers In Bradenton & Sarasota

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What You Should Know About Truck Accidents

Because of their size and additional weight, trucks take much longer to slow down and speed up. This is especially the case with tractor-trailers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a loaded tractor-trailer takes 20-40% more distance to stop than the average car. This means that a driver mistake that may not have mattered much in a car could end up causing a severe crash in a truck.

Plus, federal law allows drivers to drive 11 hours at a time, so the chance of a truck driver being drowsy or inattentive may be much higher than that of the average car driver. Studies show that many truckers and trucking companies regularly violate these regulations, which only adds to the chance of an accident occurring.

Truck Stopping Distance
Personal-Injury-Attorney-FAQs

Truck Accident FAQs

If you’ve been seriously hurt in a car accident, the first thing to do is to call 9-1-1. Immediately after, call an experienced accident attorney.

An experienced attorney will tell you exactly what you should and should not say to law enforcement after an accident. This includes:

  • Don’t Admit Fault: Even though Florida is a no-fault state, admitting fault or making certain statements could severely limit your ability to obtain financial compensation in the future.
  • Don’t Agree to a Settlement: In addition, make sure to avoid agreeing to any settlements or payments from the other individual or individuals involved in the accident, as well as your insurance company.
  • Be Careful With Your Insurer: Remember, in an accident situation, the insurance company is not your friend. Instead, they are focused on one thing; paying out as little money as possible on your policy so they can remain profitable.

In addition to being careful in your communications with law enforcement, your insurance company, and the other driver, your lawyer may want you to document the scene of the accident. This may include taking photos or videos or even getting a witness statement from a bystander.

At Gallagher and Hagopian, our team of experienced personal injury attorneys will vigorously fight on behalf of victims and their families who are injured in vehicle accidents.

Truck accidents are not as common as passenger car accidents, but they are often a lot more severe. Approximately 38,000 Americans die in car accidents per year, compared to the around 4,000 deaths that result from truck accidents each year. 67% of truck accident deaths were from individuals driving or riding in cars, motorcycles, and trucks, 15% were from bicyclists and pedestrians, and 16% were individuals inside cars.

In addition, when compared to car accidents, truck accidents typically cause increased property damage and are more likely to involve very serious physical injuries. There are also specific rules and regulations that only apply to trucks and truck drivers. As we’ll go into later on this page, trucking companies also typically utilize specific insurers, who have detailed knowledge about trucking law, which can be used against you in the settlement or jury trial process.

For all of these reasons, it is extremely important that truck accident victims use a dedicated truck accident lawyer to help them with their legal case after an accident.

The damages in a car accident case are still most often physical injuries and property damage. However, because the accident involves a large vehicle, the damages in these situations are more likely to be severe. A semi-truck can easily crush a passenger vehicle, especially if it is fully loaded and traveling at a high rate of speed.

In most passenger car accident cases, you and the other driver (and their insurance company) are part of the case. In a truck accident, you may have to deal with several other parties as well, including:

  • The trucking company (and their insurance company)
  • The person or company that owns the truck’s load
  • Any third party that loaded the truck
  • Any third party that maintained the truck

Truck Accidents Typically Involve More Parties
The more people involved, the more complicated the case will be. It is especially important to involve a truck accident lawyer if more than one opposing party is involved.

Both state and federal laws have strict regulations that affect truck drivers. For instance, as we previously mentioned, federal regulations limit a driver’s shift to 11 hours. However, survey data suggests that many truckers and companies regularly violate this limit, leading many drivers to take on shifts of 12-16 hours or more.

If a driver or a trucking company violates federal or state regulations, proving your personal injury case may be significantly easier. Experienced truck accident lawyers understand these lesser-known laws very well and will be able to use that knowledge and information to your advantage.

Many truckers and trucking companies use insurance companies that specialize in insuring trucks. The insurance adjusters that service these customers have unique, concentrated knowledge of all things that affect truckers. That knowledge can put truck accident victims at a severe disadvantage in negotiation and even accident investigation.

Having an experienced truck accident lawyer work with the insurance company on your behalf levels the playing field. It also ensures that the insurance company does not take advantage of you by paying you far less than what your case is worth.

The most common reason that truck accidents occur is due to driver error. However, the truck driver is also least likely to be harmed in a truck accident because of the significant size difference between a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that the most common reasons that truck accidents happen are because of:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Inadequate surveillance
  • Failing to stop for a traffic control device or crosswalk
  • Prescription drug use
  • Unfamiliarity with the roadway
  • Brake problems
  • Traffic flow (congestion)
  • Traveling too fast for the conditions

Trucking accidents can lead to a wide scope of injuries, each of which could lead to an accident victim receiving compensation. These include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries: The impact of a collision with a truck can often lead to a head injury or concussion, which could lead to a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Unfortunately, traumatic brain injuries can lead to a variety of symptoms and conditions, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, headaches, cognitive deficits, and changes in personality.
  • Broken Bones: In addition to traumatic brain injuries, broken bones are a common result of a truck crash. A broken arm or leg may prevent an accident victim from effectively working for weeks or months. In addition, some bone breaks and fractures can lead to disfigurement, chronic pain, or even paralysis. Plus, even the most mild fractures can lead to accident victims racking up serious medical bills. Research suggests that broken bone treatments can easily cost between $4,000 and $39,000, though health insurance will generally cover most of these costs.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal injuries are among the most serious types of injuries experienced by truck accident victims. Unfortunately, the vast majority of spinal cord injuries involve some form of paralysis, with a significant number of patients experiencing full or partial quadriplegia, or a loss of motor function in all four limbs. Paralysis, as well as other spinal cord injury symptoms can have a drastic impact on someone’s life. This can lead to a variety of other issues, such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, loss of income, or even loss of consortium (challenges in marriages, partnerships, or intimate relationships).
  • Cuts, Scrapes, and Soft-Tissue Injuries: In addition to the more serious types of injuries listed above, truck accident victims commonly sustain a variety of minor injuries, such as scrapes, cuts, and soft-tissue injuries, such as bruises. While these injuries may seem minor, they could be outward signs of a more serious condition, such as an internal organ injury or a TBI.

Report the crash to law enforcement as quickly as possible. Then, call an experienced attorney. After that, call your insurance company. Avoid agreeing to any settlements with your insurance company or the other driver. If you end up going to a hospital, ask your attorney’s advice before signing any medical forms. At this point, anything you say or do could significantly impact the amount of financial compensation you may receive in the future.

Florida is a no-fault state, which means that both parties involved in an accident (regardless of fault) are required to seek compensation from their insurance company first. This law applies to both the drivers of the vehicles and any passengers that may have been injured in the crash.

If you own or operate a vehicle with a Florida license plate, you need to have insurance. According to Florida’s Financial Responsibility Law and Florida’s No-Fault Law, all drivers in Florida must prove they can take financial responsibility for the operation of their vehicle, including if it crashes. These laws review the minimum amount of coverage you need, though you may seek to get additional coverage for more protection.

Whether you plan to drive it or not, if you own a vehicle with a state license plate you must cover it with the minimum liability insurance requirements. Returning your license plate to a driver license or tax collector’s office is the only way to legally cancel your insurance.

Even though it is extremely frustrating to you as the accident was not your fault, the other driver’s insurance company will do a liability investigation. If someone causes a truck crash in Florida, state law mandates that they have a minimum amount of liability insurance. Minimum required coverage under the Florida Financial Responsibility Law includes:

  • $10,000 per person of bodily injury coverage
  • $10,000 property damage liability per crash
  • $20,000 of general coverage per crash
  • $10,000 of personal injury protection per person per crash