The freight industry is important in Florida, a state experiencing flourishing economic growth, including in the trucking industry. But a boom in the shipping and freight business has also led to congested roadways filled with large, unwieldy trucks. When an up to 80,000-pound, fully loaded 18-wheeler truck has an accident with an average 4,000-pound car, the driver and passengers in the car are likely to experience serious or even catastrophic injuries. Sadly, Florida is one of the country’s top three states for commercial truck accidents.
The scene of a truck accident is terrifying due to a truck’s large size and weight, which can cause massive destruction in a crash. While not every accident is avoidable, knowing the common causes of Florida truck accidents can help both truck drivers and others on the roads in Florida to avoid them.
Truck driver errors are the most common cause of all truck accidents, including in Florida. When a truck driver’s negligent actions cause an accident, the damages can be devastating to victims. Many types of driver errors lead to catastrophic truck accidents.
Despite regulations limiting the number of hours truck drivers can spend on the road, many truck drivers exceed their limits or fail to keep accurate logs of their hours. Some trucking companies make unfair demands on their drivers, set unrealistic schedules, or fail to enforce limits. Even when drivers adhere to the driving limits, the monotony of hours of driving combined with difficulty sleeping while on the road can lead to fatigued driving. Drowsy driving results in serious accidents like head-on collisions on two-lane roads and side-swipe accidents on multi-lane highways. These accidents are devastating to other vehicles on the road and occur when a dozing driver drifts out of their lane.
Many truck accidents in Florida occur due to distracted drivers. Not only do truck drivers commonly use GPS devices while on the road to find their routes, but long hours of driving may tempt drivers to use other device apps while behind the wheel. Bored truck drivers sometimes spend time selecting playlists and podcasts, texting, or scrolling through social media while driving. At 55 mph, a truck travels the length of a football field in only the five seconds it takes a driver to read the average text message. Because trucks require longer stopping distances, distracted driving is especially dangerous for truckers.
Large commercial trucks have extended blind spots. When truck drivers make lane changes without exercising proper precautions, they can cause devastating accidents for drivers of standard passenger cars traveling in parallel lanes.
The extended length of tractor-trailer trucks often requires drivers to make wide turns. For example, swinging widely to the left to make a right turn. If a truck driver fails to check their blind spot they may swing into the path of other vehicles while making a turn.
Not all truck accidents result from driver error. Large commercial trucks come with some inherent risks that result in accidents, often involving other vehicles sharing the roadway. Common causes of truck accidents in Florida include the following:
Truck accidents in Florida and elsewhere are often caused by negligent actions on the part of the driver, trucking company, or other business entities associated with the freight industry, but sometimes accidents occur even when truck industry negligence isn’t a factor. For instance, during inclement weather conditions such as Florida storms, or due to negligent actions on the part of other drivers on the road. Some truck accidents have occurred in Florida due to animals entering the roadway.
After a truck accident in Florida, it takes a diligent investigation into all aspects of the accident to discover the cause and identify the liable party.
Florida’s no-fault insurance laws require drivers to file claims against their own insurance policies to cover their damages after an accident. However, exceptions to this law often apply to truck accidents. When a Florida driver’s damages like medical expenses, lost income, and accident-related disability far exceed the minimum $10,000 PIP insurance coverage, an injured motorist may file a lawsuit against a negligent party in a truck accident.
A truck accident attorney for an injured victim in Florida must perform an in-depth investigation to determine the correct liable party in a truck accident. Liability could lie with any of the following:
Once an attorney identifies the liable party in a Florida truck accident, they must document evidence of liability. This includes demonstrating that the at-fault party owed a duty of care to take reasonable measures to prevent causing harm to others on the road, that they breached this duty through negligent actions, that their negligence caused injuries, and that the injury victim suffered economic damages from the accident like medical expenses and lost wages.
When filing a lawsuit against a negligent truck driver or trucking company for accident damages, the victim isn’t limited to only tangible economic damages like medical expenses, lost income, and lowered earning capacity due to disability. They may also file claims for intangible non-economic damages like compensation for pain and suffering. Often other non-economic damages apply in catastrophic Florida truck accidents like compensation for disfigurement, traumatic limb loss, emotional trauma, or loss of enjoyment of life due to disability.
A truck accident attorney in Sarasota and Bradenton from Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann can carefully calculate the injury victim’s damages in a Florida truck accident claim to ensure that they claim the maximum amount of damages available to them. Call (941) 954-4000 now for a free case evaluation!