Articles Posted in Truck Accident

Truck accidents are a common everyday occurrence and can, unfortunately, lead to not only road closures, but devastating injuries for the parties involved. In 2019, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 5,005 people killed and an estimated 159,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks. NHTSA also found that approximately 10 percent of combination truck occupant (commonly known as semi-trucks or trucks with one or more trailers) fatalities are associated with jackknifing.

Jackknifing is a term that is used to describe a situation where a large truck skids and the trailer attached to the truck swings, or folds in an angle that resembles a folding pocket knife. Jackknifing accidents are considered one of the most common types of trucking accidents and can be caused by various factors. These factors may include, but are not limited to, speeding, turning too quickly, improper loading, or driving in bad weather conditions when there are slippery roads.

For example, in a recent news report, a big rig was traveling in the center lane when a tractor-trailer hit the left rear of another big rig in the outside lane. As a result, the first big rig jackknifed in the center and outside lanes, while the second big rig ended up in the outside lane and shoulder. The driver of one of the big rigs was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, while the driver of the other big rig had minor injuries.

While the trucking industry throughout the country is consistently growing, the increasing presence of the online marketplace in combination with the pandemic has resulted in significant truck transport. Although trucking transport is a preferable way of shipping goods, the demand has brought on a surge in Florida trucking accidents. There has been an over 50% rise in truck accidents over the last decade, and various agencies that study truck accident statistics report that truck accidents will likely become the fifth largest cause of death in the country. Currently, nearly 75% of fatal vehicle accidents involve a large truck.

For instance, an Associated Press article described a harrowing, deadly Florida truck accident. According to reports, a tractor-trailer slammed into a vehicle on U.S. 27. The vehicle was carrying two adults and seven children. A teenage boy in the vehicle died, and six children suffered injuries. The truck driver sustained minor injuries in the accident.

Statistics by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that Florida is one of ten states that comprise half of all deadly truck accidents in the country every year. While truck accidents occur all over the state, certain areas such as Ft. Myers, Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakeland, Auburndale, and Naples have a higher rate of truck accidents. Moreover, the research suggests that driver error was responsible for over 90% of truck accidents. At the same time, road conditions and defective vehicles account for around 6% of truck accidents.

Florida lane change accidents refer to instances when a driver leaves their travel lane without a clear path to enter another lane. According to research by the International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences and AAA Foundation, many factors contribute to lane change accidents. The most severe lane change accidents typically involve large trucks with a vehicle weight rating exceeding 10,000 pounds. A recent study indicated that large trucks drove approximately 280 billion miles on U.S roads in the last reporting year and were involved in over 400,000 collisions. These crashes resulted in 116,000 injuries and over 4,000 fatalities. Individuals who have suffered injuries in a Florida accident should contact an attorney to discuss their rights and remedies.

Studies investigated how contributing factors affect the likelihood of a lane-change accident. Driver errors such as speeding, tailgating, impairment, and mobile device usage account for over 90% of traffic accidents. Until recently, researchers have not given the same amount of attention to studying how unsafe lane changes impact the likelihood of an accident. Lane-change crashes represent about 4% of all collisions, and they tend to occur during the daytime on roads with a wide range of speed limits. Some studies have shown that the frequency of looking towards mirrors varies between young and older drivers. Younger drivers tend to rotate their heads wider when observing their blind spots. Further, older drivers tend to inspect their rear-view mirrors less frequently. In addition, the vehicle making the lane change also impacts the severity of an accident.

Naturally, a vehicle’s size will impact the severity of an accident. In response to the growing concern surrounding Florida truck lane change accidents, safety advocates urge trucking companies to install lane departure warning systems. Large trucks cause many accidents every year, and these video-based systems may prevent nearly 300 deaths every year.

Whether it’s just a small fender bender or a serious crash that stops traffic for hours, car accidents are usually an extremely stressful event for everyone involved. When car accidents involve multiple vehicles and a series of collisions, however, the stress and danger of the situation are amplified. These types of collisions, otherwise known as Florida chain-reaction car accidents, occur when they involve three or more vehicles and can often have devastating consequences.

In a recent news article, a deadly multi-vehicle truck accident shut down a major Florida highway. The collision involved a rolled-over cement truck and several other trucks along a significant stretch of the road. According to local authorities, there is at least one confirmed death following the accident.

In Florida, chain reaction accidents are all too common. Following these collisions, figuring out how the accident actually took place is rarely simple or straightforward. If there were multiple drivers involved, it immediately becomes complicated as parties try to determine who hit who and what was the actual cause of the accident. These determinations are often messy and may require a professional accident reconstruction expert or team to assess the issue or conduct an investigation before moving forward.

Federal and state laws mandate that car and SUV manufacturers equip their vehicles with safety features to prevent serious injuries. However, despite the heightened dangers of large commercial trucks, many of these vehicles do not have the same safety features. Further, the safety standards do not always address the scope of the vehicle’s dangers. As such, Florida accidents involving large trucks often result in serious and fatal injuries.

For example, a recent Florida news report described a disturbing underride accident involving a minivan and tractor-trailer. The accident occurred when the semi-truck was turning onto a roadway near State Road 520. The minivan was turning at the same time and went underneath the truck. Emergency personnel immediately removed two of the minivan occupants and transported them to a hospital. The minivan driver required assistance from firefighters to extricate her from her vehicle. State Police reported that the accident is still under investigation.

Many Florida trucking collisions involve underride accidents. An underride accident occurs when a smaller vehicle slams into the side or backend of a truck’s trailer and slides underneath. The shape and design of the back of a truck often cause a smaller vehicle to become trapped underneath. The sheer impact of these accidents may result in the top of the car ripping off or becoming crushed. As a result, the car’s occupants often suffer the brunt of the initial impact. Underride accident victims rarely leave the accident unscathed. These accidents typically result in traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, internal organ damage, sprained and broken bones, paralysis, and disfigurement.

Personal injury lawsuits, especially those involving trucks, often entail various complex issues and multiple parties. Those injured in a Florida trucking accident, should seek representation from an attorney to protect their rights and help pursue their remedies.

Trucking accidents tend to result in the most severe injuries and significant damages. Although some accidents are unavoidable, most Florida trucking accidents are due to one or more parties’ negligence or recklessness.

Truck manufacturers, trucking companies, loaders, and drivers, all maintain a duty to ensure that they act safely in the manufacture, training, securing, loading, and operation of their vehicles. A failure at any of these steps may result in serious dangers to anyone in the vicinity of the truck. People often attribute accidents to a defect in the truck itself or truck driver operation error; however, many Florida trucking accidents occur because of insecure cargo that becomes detached while the truck is in motion.

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According to data gathered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Florida continually ranks in the top five states with the highest trucking accident rates. Data also reveals that Florida trucking accidents resulting in severe injuries and fatalities occur more than three times than that of the national average. These harrowing statistics reveal a disturbing trend that can have a lifelong impact on truck accident victims and their families.

Every year close to 150,000 individuals suffer injuries in an accident involving a semi-truck, and close to 700 semi-truck occupants die in these crashes. Most recent annual statistics by the FMCSA reports that Florida trucking accidents killed nearly 30 people, incapacitated 57, and over 1000 suffered other serious injuries. Despite advances in safety mechanisms, increased training, and monitoring, these accidents continue to occur at an alarming rate. It is critical that motorists take steps to protect themselves while sharing the road with large trucks, especially if they are traveling on particularly hazardous roadways.

There are particular roads and highways in Florida that are prone to large truck accidents. For example, I-95 stretches across the state and has over 300,000 motorists every day. Understandably, the high rate of vehicles on the road corresponds with the significant number of accidents on the road. However, there is also a large number of accidents that occur on the stretch north of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Florida’s Interstate 10 and the 11-county stretch of the Florida Turnpike are also considered some of the most dangerous roadways in the state and country.

Defective commercial vehicles are a serious hazard to the health and public safety of all Floridians. Although Florida trucking accidents often involve the negligence of a trucking company or its drivers, design defects and faulty parts frequently play a significant role in a trucking accident. The sheer size and mechanical complexity of these vehicles require the safe interplay of various systems. Even seemingly minor defects can cause these large vehicles to become massive safety hazards.

The majority of truck accidents involving defective parts include faulty brakes, defective steering systems, tire failures, defective hydraulics and fuel systems, and inadequate safety and cargo restraints. For instance, recently, a state court heard a case arising from a tractor trailer’s malfunctioning dump gate. In that case, the truck driver was traveling on a highway when the trailer unexpectedly released its dump gate. The uncommanded action resulted in the trailer spilling massive amounts of gravel and sand onto the highway on more than one occasion. One of the incidents resulted in several collisions, damaging cars and injuring several motorists and passengers.

Injury victims and their loved ones may file a claim against various entities. The manufacturer, designer, distributor, retailer, or any other party responsible for putting a defective truck on the road may be liable. In the case above, the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against both the trucking company and the defective valve manufacturer that caused the dump gate to spontaneously open. Following a settlement with the plaintiffs, the company sought contribution from the manufacturer. The company filed cross-claims against the manufacturer alleging unreasonably dangerous and defective design of the valve. The manufacturer sought to dismiss the claims, arguing that the company discarded relevant evidence. The court ultimately found that the company acted negligently in discarding the evidence, but not willfully.

Last month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida pedestrian accident case involving a pick-up truck that struck a woman who was standing on the side of the road waiting for a bus. Specifically, the court was asked to determine whether the owner of the pick-up truck had a duty to install brakes on the trailer that was being towed. Ultimately, the court concluded that such a duty may exist, depending on the surrounding circumstances, but remanded the case to the lower court to make the determination.

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was standing on the side of the road, waiting for a bus with her grandchildren when she was struck by a pick-up truck towing a trailer. The driver of the pick-up truck was the daughter of the truck’s owner, who had loaded the truck in preparation for the trip. However, before leaving, the owner of the truck did not feel well and asked his daughter to make the trip. The trailer was overloaded and did not have brakes installed.

As the owner’s daughter was driving, the traffic in front of her suddenly stopped. She applied the brakes in an attempt to safely come to a stop. However, as the owner’s daughter approached the traffic ahead of her, she realized she wasn’t going to stop in time. She swerved onto the shoulder to avoid stopped traffic, but struck the plaintiff.

Florida accidents involving commercial tractor-trailers and semi-trucks often result in serious and potentially life-threatening injuries. The risk of serious injuries increases because of the size differential between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles. Even if evidence suggests that a Florida truck driver was responsible for an accident, there are often additional parties who may be liable for the damages.

Determining fault and apportioning liability in Florida trucking accidents often present injury victims with various challenges. Courts and insurance companies will engage in lengthy and comprehensive investigations before deciding who is at fault. Despite the size of commercial trucks, there may be evidence that suggests that the passenger vehicle was partially at fault. Injury victims must understand potential limitations to recovery and defenses that the other party may assert.

In some cases, truck drivers engage in blatantly negligent or reckless behavior that results in an accident. Some common examples of this are speeding, operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, falling asleep behind the wheel, or driving while distracted. Other situations may open the door to additional liable parties. For example, equipment failure, misloaded freight, and overloaded trailers may result in the truck fishtailing or swerving into other vehicles. In these cases, the truck driver, in addition to their employer or truck part manufacturer, may be liable as well.

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