The Dangers Associated with Over-sized Trucks
Oversized trucks, including semi-trucks, big rigs, and tractor trailers, use the highways and roadways around Clearwater, Florida on daily basis. These vehicles can be dangerous – most especially when their drivers speed and drive in a careless and reckless manner. Due to the sheer size, fast speeds, and heavy loads of these vehicles (many of which are oversized), from collisions.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident which was caused by the driver of an over-sized truck, such as a tractor-trailer or semi-truck, you may be eligible to recover monetary compensation. The Clearwater truck accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group can review the circumstances of your accident, as well as your injuries, and may be able to pursue monetary compensation on your behalf.
Federal Motor Carrier Regulations
establish various rules by which truckers and trucking companies must abide when operating their over-sized vehicles on Florida roadways. First and foremost, the rules prescribe load limits which truckers must follow. In the event a tractor-trailer is carrying an over-sized load, there must be warnings lights present, a flag or other device on the rear of the trailer, signage which warns of an over-sized load, and one or more escort vehicles in front of and trailing the tractor-trailer. These regulations are in place to warn other drivers of the presence of over-sized loads and to help prevent serious accidents. If one or more of these warnings devices is lacking and a serious accident occurs, the truck driver and/or the trucking company may be on the line for negligence.
When Truck Drivers Drive Large Trucks Negligently
Big rigs and tractor-trailers are very large and heavy vehicles. When their drivers ignore or violate Florida traffic laws and established , serious accidents can result. In many cases, trucking companies are also responsible for their drivers’ actions (and inaction) while on the job. Therefore, if a truck driver behaves in a negligent manner and causes an accident, the trucking company may also be deemed fully or partially responsible for the truck driver’s negligence.
Trucking companies sometimes even encourage their drivers to drive fast, in order to increase their own revenue. When truck drivers deliver their cargo to their destination sooner, everyone involved can reap huge financial benefits. Therefore, it is not uncommon for drivers of over-sized trucks to do the following:
- Make phone calls or text while driving
- Drive while under the influence of alcohol (DUI)
- Drive while under the influence of drugs (usually to stay awake for long periods)
- Ignore traffic control devices and signs (including red lights and stop signs)
- Cut off other vehicles or fail to yield the right-of-way to them
- Drive while fatigued
- Drive too fast for existing road and weather conditions
What Happens When Drivers of Over-sized Trucks Drive Negligently?
When the drivers of semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, big rigs, and other large vehicles drive negligently, they increase the chances of a serious accident. These vehicles are large, heavy, and move at high rates of speed. They are also far more difficult to slow down or stop than the average car. Consequently, when they side-swipe, rear end, or collide with a smaller vehicle, they are more likely to do a significant amount of damage to the other vehicle, as well as the occupants of the other vehicle.
When truckers engage in careless, negligent, or distracted driving, serious accidents with other motor vehicles can result. These accidents can include:
- Chain reaction collisions involving multiple vehicles or pileups
- Tractors and/or trailers overturning in the middle of the roadway or onto another vehicle
- Chemical or hazardous waste spills in the roadway, leading to fires or explosions
- Trailer cargo dislodging from the trailer and onto the roadway
- Trailer cargo dislodging from the trailer and onto (or into) another vehicle
Negligent Parties in Truck Accident Cases
Several individuals or entities can be deemed responsible for serious truck accidents. Truck drivers are held to the standard of care of a “reasonable truck driver” acting under the same or similar circumstances. If the truck driver breached this duty of care by violating a motor carrier regulation, speeding, or breaking some other law or regulation, then he or she may be deemed responsible for any accident that occurs.
Moreover, when an employment relationship exists between a trucking company and a truck driver, the trucking company could also be responsible for the truck driver’s negligent actions on the roadway. A trucking company may also be held responsible for negligently entrusting the driver to be on the roadway, for negligently supervising the truck driver, or for negligently hiring or retaining the truck driver. This is especially true in cases where the responsible truck driver is a repeat offender or has caused similar accidents in the past.
In addition to proving negligence on the part of the truck driver or trucking company, the accident victim must also be able to show that his or her injuries and damages directly resulted from the trucking accident – as opposed to some other source. If the accident victim can successfully prove damages, then he or she may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of use, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Call a Clearwater, Florida Truck Accident Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, Florida 33765