Truck Accidents

The Lawler Firm provides personal injury representation to victims harmed in truck accidents and other vehicle accidents involving negligence. My name is Stephen M. Lawler, and I am a knowledgeable personal injury attorney dedicated to protecting your rights and helping you get back on your feet. The Lawler Firm is located in Brandon and offers excellent legal service to clients throughout the Tampa Bay area.

Truck Accidents on the Rise in South Florida

Trucks and tractor-trailers are large transport vehicles that can weigh up to 10,000 pounds or more. When they collide with other cars or pedestrians, the impact can be fatal. The Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates that 50,000 truck accidents occur each year, 5,000 of which result in death. In fact, one in every eight traffic fatalities involves a truck. Truck accidents are more likely to occur in rural areas, where drivers must traverse long stretches of road, often crossing state lines. Essential to interstate commerce, the use of large trucks is expected to double by 2015. The DOT predicts truck-related injuries and deaths to increase accordingly.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Truck accidents are usually caused by negligence. In traffic collisions, negligent driving refers to careless conduct that endangers the safety of others. Truck accidents are especially dangerous because of their weight and size. Trucks are also are more difficult to maneuver on narrow roads and turns. Examples of negligent driving behavior causing truck accidents include:

  • Intoxication
  • Inexperience
  • Unhitched trailer
  • Rollovers, jackknifes
  • Overloaded cargo, spills
  • Vehicle passing, blind spots
  • Entry into prohibited traffic zones
Negligent Truck Driving Violates Federal and State Law

The trucking industry is governed by a combination of federal and state laws. These laws generally refer to trucks as “commercial carriers” that require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate. A CDL differs from a normal license in several ways. Commercial drivers are subject to more restrictions and distinct rules governing truck operation. These include:

  • Extensive training
  • Additional certification
  • Daily log of total hours driven
  • Vehicle inspections, maintenance
  • Lower BAC level required for DUI
  • Drug tests, license suspension or revocation

In addition to CDL requirements, federal laws impose distinct duties on the companies and businesses employing commercial vehicles. Namely, they require all commercial carriers to obtain an insurance policy sufficient to cover a judgment of liability for bodily injury or death in the event of a crash. In other words, the truck employer is liable for the negligent acts of its drivers. Any victims injured in a truck accident are therefore entitled to damages from the individual driver, any entity using the truck, and their respective insurers.

What to Do if You Are in a Truck Accident

Always practice defensive driving around trucks. Do not try to pass a commercial vehicle while it is turning, backing up, or attempting to change lanes. Report any dangerous driving to the proper authorities. If you are involved in a truck accident, pull over to the side of the road. Do not try to exit the vehicle if you feel pain. Call 911 and wait for help. Even if you do not require emergency medical treatment, always get a checkup after the crash to test for latent injuries. At the scene of the accident, you may want to take pictures, get the CDL and vehicle plate number, truck company name, and insurance carrier. Keep copies of any police report, witness statement, medical bills, and lost time from work. Do not sign any waiver or talk to another party’s insurer without consulting an attorney first.

Contact a Florida Personal Injury Attorney for Help

If you were involved in a truck accident, seek legal advice from a Florida truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. I will quickly begin working on your case at no up-front cost to you. In fact, you pay nothing unless we recover compensation for you. In truck accidents, it is important to secure legal representation early so the lawyer can deal with the various drivers, commercial carriers, and insurers on your behalf. Call now. (813) 431-4470. Free Consultation.

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