Motor vehicle crashes are dangerous situations, but those involving large trucks can be particularly worrisome. Large shipping trucks (commonly referred to as tractor-trailers or big rigs) have the potential to seriously injure other motorists and cause extreme property damage. If you were injured in a trucking accident, it’s important to know your rights and options for legal recourse.
Trucking Industry Standards
Truck drivers face one of the most challenging jobs today. They drive large, oversized vehicles for extended periods of time, are forced to minimize wasted minutes, and must meet tight deadlines for pickups and deliveries. Their vehicles must also withstand long driving sessions and constant use. Some of the most commonly cited reasons for truck accidents include:
- Driver fatigue. Shipping companies must ensure that their drivers don’t exceed acceptable shift times and receive adequate rest between shifts. Sometimes drivers push themselves to meet deadlines and drive their vehicles while tired. Driving without adequate rest is almost as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. A sleepy driver suffers impaired judgment, slower reaction time, and limited situational awareness.
- Driving under the influence. Driving while intoxicated is never a wise or safe decision for any motorist, and this is particularly true when truck drivers operate their vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Poor truck maintenance. Shipping companies must ensure their vehicles are safe. Poor or incomplete maintenance of a large truck endangers the truck driver and everyone else on the road.
- Improperly stowed cargo. A truck’s cargo must be properly secured while in transit. Some types of cargo require special equipment to ensure a balanced load, and other types of cargo, such as timber, concrete pipe sections, spools of industrial wires, framing studs, passenger vehicles, and construction equipment or vehicles, may require a special trailer. An imbalanced load can cause the truck to swerve from normal maneuvers, creating a driving hazard to nearby motorists.
Trucks are much larger than other motor vehicles, so the potential for damage resulting from an accident is much higher. When a truck driver loses control, the tractor-trailer may jackknife, the trailer swinging out to the side of the truck, often into other lanes of traffic. Trucks are also taller and heavier than other vehicles resulting in higher centers of gravity. This makes trucks particularly vulnerable to rollovers.
If you were injured in a truck accident, some of the damages you may be able to pursue include:
- Medical expenses. This includes the cost of emergency services at the scene of the incident, the cost of initial medical bills, any necessary surgeries, and the cost of any prescribed long-term treatments.
- Property damage. You can sue for damage to your vehicle and any possessions that were broken or destroyed in the accident.
- Pain and suffering. For particularly serious injuries, you can claim compensation for the physical and mental anguish that you experienced as a direct result of the incident.
- Wrongful death. If a loved one is killed in a truck accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
Your truck accident case may be a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent truck driver, a product liability claim against a defective truck part manufacturer, or a lawsuit against the shipping company for unsafe practices. Whatever the case may be, contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options and rights as a victim.
For victims of truck accidents in Florida, contact SteinLaw today for a free consultation. Our top priority for every case is to maximize our client’s recovery. We will review the details of your incident and explore every possible avenue for compensation on your behalf.