Because of their sheer size and weight, an accident with a tractor-trailer or other large truck can have catastrophic consequences. Sometimes the accident occurs because the driver just does not have enough time or distance to slow down or stop the huge rig – the laws of physics mean the trucks cannot stop on a dime to avoid an accident.
Often, the driver of a truck involved in an accident is sleep deprived and probably should not be driving the truck. While there are very specific Department of Transportation (DOT) rules for the number of hours driving and the number of hours of required downtime, these rules are not always followed. In the interest of maximizing one’s time (and therefore money) rest times are “fudged” and you end up with a fatigued driver on the road with a very heavy weapon.
Another reason for an accident might be the safety of the truck itself. If proper inspection and maintenance has not been performed on the truck, and there are unsafe conditions, such as faulty brakes or steering which cause the accident, the owner of the truck may be responsible for your losses.
Distracted driving has become a problem everywhere, and while it is still legal to talk on a cell phone while driving in Florida, texting is illegal. Other forms of distraction include GPS systems, reading maps or directions, eating or even adjusting music or inside the cab televisions. An accident that is the result of distracted driving on the truck driver’s part is also the responsibility of the owner of the truck.
Florida also has very specific rules about trucks, which are found in the Florida Department of Transportation manual. In some cases, they may be up to 75 feet long and weigh nearly 80,000 pounds. There are rules on weight and length depending on the type of truck. There are also roads on which certain trucks may not travel due to age or condition or width of the road. Its rules on logbooks and downtime are similar to the federal rules, and safety is the number one concern. If these rules have been violated, and an accident has occurred, then it may be the fault of the trucking company.
If you have been seriously injured in an accident with a large truck, or if a loved one has been killed, you should talk with an experienced truck accident attorney. If the accident was caused due to the driver’s fault, or the trucking company’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for economic losses such as medical expenses and lost wages. You may also be able to recover for pain and suffering or other intangible losses. If there has been reckless disregard, or drunk driving is involved, punitive damages may be available.
Sorting out the liability issues in this type of accident can be complex, because there may be several parties at fault depending on the actual cause of the accident. The driver, the trucking company, and perhaps even the owners of the trucking company are all potential defendants in these cases. The attorneys at Brill & Rinaldi, The Law Firm, have the experience to sort out all the facts and determine the best plan of action. The initial consultation is always free, and will help assess the merits of your case.