Large truck accidents are some of the most dangerous events that can occur on the roads of America today, both for the truck drivers themselves and those driving passenger vehicles. In fact, across the entire United States, around 130,000 are injured in truck accidents on average each year. Injuries also have a higher likelihood to be severe, as trucks are heavier, more likely to inflict serious damage, harder to control, and stop slowly.
The good news for those who have received injuries from crashes involving large trucks is that they are likely to be able to achieve compensation for the injuries they received and any additional complications to their lifestyle as a result. To maximize this amount, the victim will need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney like those employed by The Law Place.
We offer all would-be clients a free consultation and case evaluation over the phone, at no obligation, and fully covered by the confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship. Our phone lines are always open, and you can call us on (941) 444-4444 to find out more!
How Common Are Truck Accidents in Florida?
Every year Florida contributes a significant amount to the nation’s truck accident statistics, with 2019 pulling in the following numbers:
- 31,838 crashes involving large trucks or medium trucks.
- 6,489 crashes involving light trucks.
- 1,303 large or medium trucks caused injuries of various severity.
- 9,04 light trucks caused injuries of various severity.
The fatal crash numbers are:
- 25 fatal crashes involving large or medium trucks.
- 8 fatal crashes involving light trucks.
This makes the number of large trucks accounted for in crashes higher than the national average. These numbers are pulled directly from the 2019 accident report by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV).
What Makes Large Truck Crashes a Particular Danger?
All trucks present a known crash risk on the roads, but especially those which exceed a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds and are therefore officially classified as large trucks.
This is because they are, on average, between twenty and thirty times larger than any regular passenger vehicle involved in a truck accident. This gives them a huge amount of potential to cause destruction, as well as an increased possibility of causing multiple vehicle crashes and rollover accidents. Furthermore, the undercarriage clearance of a large truck is large enough so that other passenger vehicles can become trapped underneath.
There are additional risks when we are discussing a tanker truck, cargo truck, or tractor-trailer truck. These can create wet and slippery roads, explosions, or cases where spilled cargo leads to two-vehicle accidents or more.
Breakdown of the Common Injuries Suffered When Accidents Happen With Large Trucks Involved
Of the total 2,207 injuries listed in 2019’s large truck accident statistics above, 157 of the victims received serious injuries severe enough to be classified as incapacitating.
Incapacitating injuries are defined by their ‘disabling’ quality, meaning that the person who suffered the injury would not be able to continue their day-to-day activities in the same manner as before their truck injury crashes occurred.
Examples of incapacitating injuries commonly resulting from truck and semi-truck accidents include:
- Broken or fragmented bones, leading to mobility impairment.
- Head or brain injuries, which can have devastating life-long cognitive, behavioral, and emotional consequences.
- Dismemberment, amputation, and disfigurement.
- Damage to the spinal cord.
Even those not involved in fatal crashes with large truck drivers can have their life changed forever, leaving them unable to pursue the path they were following before the accident occurred.
This leaves the remaining 2,050 injuries as non-debilitating, which can still include injuries across a range of severities, such as:
- Cuts, lacerations, and road rash.
- Burns and scalds.
- Internal injuries and bleeding.
- Blunt force trauma and soft tissue damage.
While full recovery is possible from these, this does not mean that the large truck crashes do not have the potential to change lives. Medical bills, lost wages due to recovery time, and psychological trauma can all mean that a truck accident makes normal life as before impossible.
What Percentage of Fatal Crashes Are Caused by Trucks?
On average, according to truck accident statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial vehicles and other large truck accidents are responsible for 12 percent of fatal crashes. Unfortunately, this risk is not mitigated by avoiding a career as a truck driver, as passenger vehicle occupant deaths are also included in these accident statistics.
Furthermore, Florida is one of the most high-risk states in which fatal truck accidents happen. All of the fatal truck accidents in Florida and just eight other states in America account for more than half of the total deaths in large truck accidents across the entirety of the United States.
What Role Do Trucking Companies Play in Increasing the Risk of Fatal Truck Crashes?
While large trucks, semi-trucks, and tractor-trailer trucks carry their own set of risks when they are involved in traffic crashes, due to their increased bulk and size, the trucking industry itself often plays a large part in the blame for fatal crashes.
This is because the trucking industry puts not only their own truck driver employees but also other passenger vehicle drivers sharing the road with them at high risk due to negligent hiring, poor upkeep, and unethical working practices.
The following sections will discuss these three separate contributing factors to fatal large truck crashes in detail and discuss how Florida law impacts the trucking company in terms of liability.
How Unethical Work Practices Cause Fatal Accidents Involving Trucks
Driving large trucks, semi-trucks, and tractor-trailers is not an easy job. It involves long stretches of time spent out on the roads of America, away from friends and family, and with the risk of causing devastation should anything go wrong.
Despite this, the usual way of paying truck drivers is based on pay-per-mile schemes. This means that truck drivers are only paid for the distance they cover, incentivizing them to cut corners and take unnecessary risks while punishing them for factors outside of their control, like bad traffic or fatigue.
Pay-per-mile schemes contribute to truck accidents in the following ways:
- They incentivize driving while fatigued, which may include minimizing sleep and skipping out on state-mandated rest periods.
- They encourage reckless driving and speeding, as getting caught in traffic will impact the trucker’s earnings.
- They impact route planning, encouraging risky shortcuts (such as using dangerous minor roads instead of safer major roads), or encouraging increased haste during the process.
- They encourage minimizing time spent on essential safety checks, which decreases the risk of truck crashes.
- They encourage truck drivers to load cargo hastily, increasing the risk of truck accidents where cargo is spilled onto the road.
- They encourage the use of illegal stimulants to overcome driver fatigue, which leads to intoxicated driving.
If your accident had large truck drivers involved who were encouraged not to follow proper regulations, it might be possible for your personal injury lawyer to find the trucking company themselves liable for the injuries and consequences you received.
Furthermore, if you were a truck driver who was on the receiving end of negligent practices from your trucking company and got into a truck accident as a result, we can also help you to unlock the compensation you may be entitled to.
How Negligent Hiring Processes Contribute to the Risk of Truck Accidents
Negligence by a trucking company can often happen before the truck driver in question even gets behind the wheel of their vehicle.
Trucking companies are required by law to properly screen their employees to check for previous national highway traffic safety violations, especially tell-tale signs such as a history of reckless driving or driving while intoxicated (DUI) charges.
When a truck accident occurs, and further investigation shows that the driver in question had a history of these things that should have been picked up by the employer, it will be easy to demonstrate that the trucking company has acted illegally, broken their duty of care and is therefore liable for the injuries, damages, and consequences the accident victim has received.
How Poor Upkeep Contributes to the Risk of Truck Accidents
Another thing that contributes to the risk of a truck accident occurring is poor maintenance of their large trucks, semi-trucks, or other vehicles. Large trucking companies often have huge fleets, and whether it is due to accidental oversight or cost-cutting practices, it is not uncommon for maintenance to be rushed or even skipped entirely.
This can easily lead to a truck accident as a result of an avoidable technical malfunction, often with devastating consequences and serious injury to both the driver and other passenger vehicle occupants around them.
It is possible to receive compensation as both a passenger car driver or a truck driver if the accident was the result of a technical malfunction that represents negligence on the part of the employer.
For more information about how The Law Place can help you, no matter where you stood in the truck accident, the best way to find out more is to book a free consultation at no obligation today.
What Damages Can an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Help to Win Following Involvement in a Truck Accident?
If you have been involved in a truck accident and injury to any degree, there is a good chance that you will be entitled to compensation for any injuries, damages, consequences, or complications that you received as a result.
Which types of compensation and the amount of money you are entitled to will vary on a case-by-case basis. Generally speaking, the more severe the consequences, the greater the amount of compensation that will be possible in your case.
The following are the main categories of compensation for those involved in truck accidents:
- Property damage – The force involved in a truck accident is easily enough to destroy your personal vehicle, as well as other valuables contained within it. Property damages claims seek to replace the value of this property with compensation.
- Medical bills – Medical expenses are a leading cause of bankruptcy across the United States of America today. If you were injured as a result of a truck accident, your personal injury lawyer would fight for you to be compensated for the cost of your medical care. Simply ensure you retain copies of all of your medical bills for use as evidence.
- Lost wages – The trauma involved in the average truck accident means that many people are forced to take time off from work, thus impacting their earnings. If you keep a copy of your correspondence with your employer detailing the time you spent off work, your lawyer can fight for you to be reimbursed by this amount.
- Pain and suffering – If you suffered a serious injury as a result of a truck accident, then pain and suffering damages can calculate an amount of compensation based on the length of your recovery process and the amount of pain involved. Additional considerations are made if you suffered any kind of long-term impact on your lifestyle, such as an impairment, disability, or disfigurement.
- Wrongful death – Fatal truck crashes occur at an unfortunate rate. If your loved one has lost their lives in this way, a wrongful death claim can help you deal with the overwhelming impact on your family life, as well as with the cost of burial and funerary care.
Contact The Law Place Today
Large truck, tractor-trailer, and semi-truck accident statistics are incredibly daunting. A combination of huge physical bulk and negligent practices by trucking companies means that the roads of America are an incredibly risky place. However, if you were injured in a truck accident in the past four years, you are not alone.
Here at The Law Place, our team of truck accident attorneys will stop at nothing to use their wisdom, knowledge, and experience to maximize your claim amount. All you need to do to get the process started is make a call to our Florida office and arrange a free consultation at no obligation. The whole process is completely confidential, no-win-no-fee, and you will be guided through the upcoming events in a professional, transparent and reassuring way.
We believe there should never be any risk involved in making a personal injury claim, so any fees will only be subtracted from your final settlement if you are successful. If you are unsuccessful for any reason, the process will cost you nothing at all.
For more information and to arrange a free consultation today, all you need to do is give us a call on (941) 444-4444!