Accidents involving large commercial trucks account for an inordinate number of serious injuries and fatalities on our roads and highways. Consider this: trucking accidents represent 7 percent of all miles driven in the United States, yet account for 12 percent of traffic fatalities. As you would imagine, drivers and passengers in cars suffer the vast majority of injuries when they collide with large trucks-98 percent of the people killed in such accidents were in the car, not the truck.
Some of the most common causes of accidents involving trucks include:
Of course, knowing the cause of a trucking accident is not enough. An attorney must be able to prove that negligence was involved. Beyond that, the Florida trucking accident attorney must be able to overcome the trucking companies’ strategies to prevent access to key evidence. You should know that trucking companies make it very difficult to obtain maintenance records, log books, driver experience, driver training, drug and alcohol tests, and more. In addition, they usually take immediate action after a crash to protect their interests. For example, a claims investigator hired by defense attorneys is often sent to the scene within an hour or less to search for evidence favorable to the defense. And, perhaps, make evidence indicative of negligence simply disappear. This is easier than you think, given the chaos that surrounds catastrophic accidents involving large trucks.
Then there are the attorneys who represent the trucking companies and their insurers. A quick settlement is often offered in trucking accidents, and the settlement might seem to be enticing. After all, damages to the driver of the car, the occupants of the car, and the car itself are likely quite severe. Why wouldn’t they offer an apparently large sum? Unfortunately, the amount they offer is almost invariably far less than what the victims would receive if the true nature of the accident and the negligence of the trucking company were investigated and proven.
What all of this means is that when trying to deal with an accident involving a large truck, you need an attorney with experience in this area of the law; an attorney who understands the lengths trucking companies and their legions of lawyers and other representatives will go to protect their interests; an attorney who is willing to fight tooth and nail on your behalf. In short, you need Florida trucking accident attorney David Benenfeld.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident involving a large commercial truck, contact our office immediately for a free consultation to discuss your case. The trucking company responsible isn’t wasting any time protecting its interests. Neither should you.
Does anyone monitor large truck safety in Florida? If so, who?
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the state both oversee trucking safety in Florida. There are two DOT agencies involved. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sets standards for new truck equipment. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversees the safety of commercial vehicles in interstate commerce. FMCSA regulations cover equipment, hours of service, licensing, vehicle inspections, and maintenance. The state of Florida is primarily responsible for enforcing licensing, maintenance and hours of service, as well as regulating intrastate trucking.
I have heard that truckers can only drive a certain number of hours a day. Is this true?
While regulations exist for the number of hours a trucker can drive per day or per week, studies have shown these regulations are commonly violated. Driver fatigue is often associated with truck crashes, and drivers cited for hours-of-operation violations are more likely to have fallen asleep behind the wheel.
Is there a correlation between the age of the trucker and a higher rate of accidents?
Yes. According to studies carried out in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, truckers in their mid-twenties have a higher rate of fatal and nonfatal crashes than older, more experienced drivers.
Is the use of drugs a large problem in the trucking industry?
A 1995 study in four states found that almost 5 percent of truck drivers tested positive for illicit drug use (as opposed to over-the-counter stimulants). Other studies have found that over-the-counter stimulants were present in 12 percent of truck drivers tested. While Federal regulations require carriers to test all commercial drivers for drugs before employment, after crashes, and on a random basis, a 1999 study found that almost 3 percent of large truck drivers tested positive for illicit drugs after a non-fatal crash.
Is equipment failure a common cause of truck accidents?
Yes. In fact, studies have shown that trucks with defective equipment were twice as likely to crash as properly maintained trucks. The most common equipment failures involve brakes and steering systems.
If a representative of the trucking company wants to speak with me, what should I do?
It is entirely possible that someone representing the trucking company will arrive at the scene of the crash while you are still there. If not, you will likely hear from their representative in a matter of days. Do not discuss the situation with them. They are not your friends, they do not have your best interests at heart, and their goal is to protect the interests of their client, the trucking company. If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident with a large commercial truck, you should contact our office as soon as possible for a free consultation.