Tampa truck accident lawyer Dennis Hernandez says negligence is one of the leading factors of personal injury in a collision with a truck. To prove negligence, the injured person must show that the defendant breached a duty of due care to the victim, and that the breach was the foreseeable cause of the injury. If the truck driver (or trucking company) is found to be negligent, then the injured person may seek compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, physical impairment, property damages and more. Where there is evidence of defendant’s outrageous conduct (such as alcohol or drug use), the injured person may also be entitled to punitive damages.
Tampa Truck Accident Negligence
- Driver exhaustion – state law limits the number of hours that truck drivers can drive in a day
- Truck cargo overload
- Drug or alcohol use by truck driver
- Improperly loaded trailers, loads, containers
- Speeding, negligent driving
However, the percentage of fault of each party will determine the damages you are entitled to, if any.
The Unique Hazards of Truck Accidents
Accidents involving commercial trucks, commonly known as semi-trucks, tractor trailers, or 18-wheelers create some of the most serious injuries. Due to their large size and heavy weight, commercial trucks present special hazards to other drivers and pedestrians on the road. As a result, commercial trucks are subject to numerous federal and state regulations. These laws are stricter than the regulations applied to regular automobiles.
Federal regulations imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration, a subset of the U.S Department of Transportation, cover various concerns including, but not limited to the number of consecutive hours of driving permitted, inspection, repair, and maintenance, controlled substances and alcohol use and testing, parts and accessories necessary for safe operation. Florida has adopted these regulations and has enacted additional laws concerning commercial motor vehicles. Truck accidents often occur as a result of the failure of either the individual truck driver or the truck company itself to follow the laws that were specifically enacted to help ensure the safety of on the road.
Another common cause of a truck accidents are often the result of some sort of error on the part of the driver. Often this will include traffic violations. Truck drivers that speed, tailgate, change lanes improperly and engage in general reckless driving pose a higher than usual risk of injury to others on the road. The large size and heavy weight of the trucks mean that the trucks do not have the same reaction time of those as regular vehicles. A truck driver that slams on the brakes will not have the same reaction time as driver of a regular automobile who does the same.
Other driver errors also cause accidents. These focus personally on the state of the driver. Due to long consecutive hours, drivers often suffer from fatigue, drowsiness and inattention resulting in reckless driving. Drivers may also be under the influence of alcohol and drugs. These conditions create extreme hazards to other drivers and pedestrians on the road.
Malfunctioning parts on a truck is another common cause of trucking accidents. Common malfunctioning parts include brakes, wheel hitches, lighting equipment, steering mechanisms, tires and fuel lines. Again worn out brake pads or a flat tire on a commercial truck is substantially more dangerous than old brake pads or a flat tire on a typical road vehicle.
Truck Accident Attorney
If you suffer from injuries as a result of an accident, seek professional legal help from an attorney experienced in commercial truck accidents. Personal injury attorneys specifically experienced in accidents involving commercial trucks are familiar with the complex and extensive body of state and federal regulations. Often, a truck accident is caused from more than one issue. If, for example, it is discovered that the brakes on the truck malfunctioned, the company may not have been keeping up with inspection and brake safety regulations imposed by the state and federal government. If the driver fell asleep at the wheel, in addition to driving recklessly, the company may have violated the regulations covering the amount of consecutive hours of driving permitted. Personal injury attorneys experienced in truck accidents know how to access important records and investigate all possible causes of an accident including any violations of state and federal regulations specific to trucks, driver error and general negligence.