Truck Cases Should be Treated Differently than Car Accident Cases
Trucks, tractor trailers, and big rigs can cause terrible accidents on Florida roadways, leading to severe – and sometimes catastrophic – personal injuries and damages for innocent accident victims. If you have been injured in a truck accident that occurred on a Florida roadway or highway, you need experienced legal representation. The truck accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group can evaluate your case and may be able to help you obtain compensation for your injuries and damages.
Trucks are Larger Vehicles than Cars
Unlike small cars and sedans, tractor-trailers, big rigs, and other large trucks weigh many, many tons. When those large vehicles collide with smaller vehicles at highway speeds, catastrophic accidents and serious personal injuries can result.
When large trucks and tractor trailers travel at speeds of 70 miles per hour or greater on a highway and collide with a smaller vehicle, the smaller vehicle does not stand a chance. The collision may spin the smaller vehicle around, run it off the road, push it into an object or another vehicle, or cause it to flip over and eject the vehicle driver and any passengers.
The Injuries in Truck Accident Cases Tend to be More Severe than those Sustained in Car Accident Cases
While smaller-scale car accident collisions, such as rear-enders at intersections, tend to bring about soft tissue injuries, trucking accidents have the potential to cause more severe injuries and damages to accident victims. These serious injuries usually involve more invasive and complex medical treatment, such as injections, surgeries, and other complicated medical procedures.
Some examples of serious injuries sustained in a truck and big rig accidents include the following:
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
- Internal tears
- Rib fractures
- Broken bones
- Abrasions and scarring
- Paralysis and spinal cord injuries
- Permanent impairment
Insurance Companies Oftentimes Deny Permanent Impairment Damages in Truck Accident Cases
Whenever an accident victim seeks compensation for permanent impairment, the insurance company will look for every excuse in the book to deny or limit liability for those injuries and damages. The insurance company will oftentimes look for other possible causes of the claimed permanent impairment, including prior surgeries and medical procedures, degenerative changes on MRI’s and other imaging studies, prior injuries to the affected body part(s), pre-existing medical conditions, prior motor vehicle accidents, and prior work-related injuries and accidents.
A special set of lawyering skills is necessary to prove permanent injuries and damages in a truck accident case, and a qualified medical expert will need to testify that the plaintiff’s injuries are permanent in nature.
Truck Drivers May Have an ‘Incentive’ to Drive Negligently
Car drivers must always be on the lookout for large trucks because, on highways, truck drivers often drive like they are the ‘kings of the road.’ Examples of negligent truck driving include switching travel lanes, exceeding the posted speed limit, and attempting to quickly maneuver around slower vehicles, with the goal of arriving at their destinations sooner.
There is a strong financial incentive for both trucking companies and their drivers when drivers arrive at their destinations ahead of schedule. Many truck drivers will receive large bonuses for driving fast and delivering their cargo to its destination quickly.
However, truck drivers still have a duty to follow the Florida rules of the road and to drive reasonably and carefully when they operate their vehicles on Florida roadways. When they fail to do so and cause a motor vehicle accident, they can be held liable for the injuries and damages they cause to injured accident victims. These damages may include compensating an injured plaintiff for medical and physical therapy bills, lost wages, conscious pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, permanent impairment, and loss of spousal support.
Several Defendants May be Partially (or fully) Responsible for a Trucking Accident
In a car accident case, the injured plaintiff normally sues only the defendant driver and sometimes the vehicle owner. In a truck accident case, however, trucking companies may be held secondarily liable for a trucking accident under a vicarious liability theory of recovery. Depending upon the circumstances, the trucking company could also be on the line for negligent hiring, retention, or supervision of a negligent employee truck driver – especially in cases where the truck driver has caused similar accidents in the past.
It is important to note that trucking companies are not only responsible for dispatching competent, careful, and safe truck drivers, but they are also responsible for ensuring that these drivers (as well as the companies themselves) comply with all applicable state and federal trucking regulations.
All too often, however, trucking companies prioritize profits over safety, thereby endangering the lives of all other drivers on the roadway. Trucking companies may be held responsible for an employee truck driver’s negligence in the following instances:
- The trucking company fails to appropriately and thoroughly train drivers regarding proper driving techniques, safety concerns, emergency procedures, and defensive driving skills and tactics.
- The trucking company fails to thoroughly screen driver applicants by researching their driving histories (including their criminal histories of drunk driving or other alcohol-related driving offenses and reckless/negligent driving convictions).
- The trucking company creates unrealistic driving schedules and expectations, encouraging truck drivers to drive in a hurried, careless, or reckless manner.
- The trucking company fails to equip trucks with the newest safety equipment, including blinking lights, reflective lights, undercarriage lights – or to timely make proper repairs.
- The trucking company fails to adequately supervise employee drivers, monitor their driving performances, and ensure that they fulfill all CDL renewal requirements.
- The trucking company fails to terminate truck drivers who sustain one or more careless, reckless, or drunk driving convictions over the course of their employment with the trucking company.
In truck accident cases, the plaintiff’s lawyer will typically name both the defendant truck driver, as well as the trucking company, as defendants in any personal injury lawsuit that is filed in the Florida court system.
Contact a Florida Truck Accident Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
If you or someone you love has sustained severe injuries in a truck, tractor trailer, or big rig accident, the truck accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group are ready and willing to assist you with your case.