Florida is one of the worst states in the nation for truck accidents. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Florida joins just nine other states in accounting for half of all fatal U.S. truck crashes.

Truck accidents are a national problem, too. There were almost 450,000 heavy truck crashes across the country in a recent year. Commercial motor vehicles account for 12 percent of all traffic fatalities. The occupants of the other vehicles — not the truck driver — comprise the vast majority of those losses.

Have you been hurt in a Florida truck accident? Many victims of these types of crashes suffer severe and catastrophic injuries. Compensation is often possible to help with the financial and personal hardships that you have endured. But truck accident claims are complex, involving both state and federal laws. Working with a skilled truck accident attorney can be your best option to obtain maximum compensation.

Turn to Brooks Law Group for help. Our law firm includes seasoned truck accident lawyers ready to fight for your rights. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-Law-300, or contact us online.

How Common Are Truck Accidents in Florida?

Florida consistently has one of the highest averages of fatal truck accidents in the country. Unsurprisingly, Floridians suffer significant injuries in these crashes. Data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles found that in a single year, 27 people died and 126 others suffered incapacitating injuries in truck collisions. Another 372 sustained non-incapactitating injuries and 682 people were reported with possible injuries during that same period.

Additional Florida truck accident statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that:

  • 1,345 people died in truck accidents over a recent five-year period.
  • 81 of those fatalities were in Hillsborough County.
  • 61 percent of fatal Florida truck accidents happened in rural areas.

Nationally, the statistics are just as dismal:

  • There was a 13 percent increase in the number of people injured in U.S. truck accidents between 1997 and 2017. That percentage continues to climb.
  • Of the 450,000 truck crashes reported to FMCSA in 2017, 4,237 were fatal accidents and 344,000 were injury collisions.
  • 63 percent of fatal large truck accidents in 2017 involved two vehicles.
  • Nearly 30 percent of fatal truck crashes occur on interstates.
  • Speeding, distraction/inattention, and impairment (e.g., fatigue, substance abuse) were recently listed as the most common contributing factors in commercial motor vehicle wrecks.

People injured in tractor-trailer accidents are entitled to compensation when the crash was the result of someone else’s negligence. Brooks Law Group is staffed by a team of legal professionals who know how to investigate these complex cases. Contact us now for a free consultation.

Common Causes of Florida Truck Accidents

There are a variety of factors that can contribute to truck accidents on Florida roads. Some of them are out of our control, such as poor weather conditions. But the truth is that most truck accidents are entirely preventable.

Common causes of truck accidents include:

  • Distracted driving: Even truck drivers aren’t immune to the lure of the cell phone out on the open road. Checking maps, looking for directions, phone calls, and texting can all distract a driver from the road long enough to cause a major accident. Eating on the road to save time can also divert a driver’s attention. Not only are these actions dangerous, they are also violations of strict FMCSA regulations governing a truck driver’s duties.
  • Driving under the influence: Around three percent of truck drivers involved in fatal truck accidents were intoxicated, according to the most recent NHTSA data. Accidents involving impaired drivers are often devastating, but even more so when the collision involves an 80,000-pound commercial truck.
  • Driver fatigue: Truckers feeling the pressure to deliver their goods on time may push the limits of the human body. Drivers who continue to drive when they are tired will have slower reflexes, trouble concentrating, slower reaction times, and may fall asleep behind the wheel. FMCSA has enacted hours-of-service regulations that include mandatory rest periods in an effort to reduce drowsy driving crashes. Drivers who break these rules may be held liable for their negligence if a crash occurs on Florida roadways.
  • Speeding: NHTSA data indicates that more than 21 percent of truck drivers involved in fatal crashes have at least one previous speeding conviction. Speeding is dangerous no matter the type of vehicle. But a fully loaded tractor-trailer needs 525 feet to stop when driving at 65 miles per hour in ideal conditions — roughly the length of two football fields. By contrast, passenger cars driving under the same conditions need just 316 feet to stop.
  • Poor maintenance: Large trucks are complicated machines that require regular maintenance and safety inspections. Brake failures, tire blow-outs, and mechanical problems are frequently the result of negligent maintenance.
  • Inadequate training/hiring: Truck companies are required to hire drivers with proper licensure and training for the type of vehicle they will be operating. If they fail to ensure that their employees have the right experience, they could be held liable if their inexperience causes a truck accident.
  • Faulty auto parts: You may have a claim against an automaker or parts manufacturer if a defect results in a truck collision.
  • Other drivers: The reckless actions of other motorists can lead to multi-vehicle crashes involving large trucks, which can lead to multiple injuries.

Road construction, shifts in traffic patterns, blind spots, and wide turns can also make it more difficult for truckers to navigate safely. An experienced attorney with Brooks Law Group can conduct a thorough investigation of your case to identify what went wrong and ensure that every responsible party is held accountable for his or her negligence.

Types of Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents

According to federal government statistics, 72 percent of people killed in large truck crashes were occupants of other vehicles. That means that the odds of escaping a truck accident without injury are not in your favor.

Truck accident injuries can be catastrophic. Common injuries include:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Burns
  • Loss of limbs
  • Paralysis

Injuries caused by truck collisions can take months and even years to heal. For some accident victims, a full recovery is never possible. The physical, financial, and emotional toll that these losses can take is substantial. You should seek the advice of a skilled truck accident attorney to help you demand the justice that you and your family are owed.

Liability in Florida Truck Accident Claims

Numerous parties may be held liable in a truck accident claim. Potential defendants include:

  • Truck driver
  • Trucking company
  • Truck owner
  • Shipper or cargo loader
  • Mechanics
  • Auto parts manufacturers
  • Drivers and other involved third parties

Determining liability will only come from a detailed investigation by a competent truck accident attorney. Truck companies are protected by powerful insurers. Their claims adjusters may arrive at the scene of the accident to begin gathering information that could limit your right to a full and fair recovery. You need someone who will be able to counter their claims with a strong, evidence-based case that outlines why you deserve maximum compensation.

Look no further than the Florida injury attorneys at Brooks Law Group. Our truck accident lawyers know the tactics that insurance companies use in order to deny or minimize victims’ claims to compensation. We won’t let you be shortchanged.

Compensation for Truck Accident Victims

There are several types of compensation possible for Florida truck accident victims. Generally, they are separated into two basic categories.

Economic damages are intended to compensate victims for their actual financial losses. These are the damages that can easily calculated, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Funeral/burial costs

Noneconomic damages are not so easily quantified. These account for more subjective losses, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress

Because noneconomic damages are not easily defined, there are several factors that can be examined when determining a fair value for these losses. These include:

  • The severity of the injury
  • How much medical treatment was necessary
  • How long the recovery will be
  • If there will be permanent consequences

In very rare cases, Florida courts may award punitive damages to accident victims. This money is intended to “punish” the at-fault party for particularly reckless conduct.

No lawyer can guarantee how much you will ultimately collect in damages. However, an experienced truck accident lawyer should be able to look at the facts of your case and determine an estimate of what your case is worth. To learn more, schedule a free consultation with Brooks Law Group today.

How Can Brooks Law Group Help Me?

At Brooks Law Group, we understand how a truck accident can jeopardize both your heath and wellbeing. You shouldn’t have to suffer because of someone else’s poor choices. You deserve to be fully compensation for your injuries and losses. Our committed attorneys will stand up for you.

We will:

  • Provide you with a free case evaluation, with no strings attached
  • Explain all of your legal options and answer your questions
  • Investigate your truck accident case thoroughly to identify all liable parties
  • Collect evidence, eyewitness statements, and expert opinions to craft a strong claim for compensation
  • Handle all communications with the insurance companies for you
  • Represent you during all settlement negotiations and at trial (if needed)
  • Charge no fees unless we recover compensation for you

It’s important to act quickly after a truck accident. Important evidence can be lost or erased. There have even been cases in which trucking companies altered their logbooks in an effort to reduce their liability. With a lawyer involved, it will be more difficult for at-fault parties to get away with these types of tricks.