Commercial trucks in Florida are legally allowed to be 75 feet long and carry loads up to 80,000 pounds. This exceeds the weight of an average passenger car by at least 2o times, and if there is a collision between these two vehicles, the people inside the automobile are at a high risk of being injured, and the automobile itself is likely to be totaled.
Truck accidents often result in injuries far more severe than automobile accidents, and can result in life-altering disabilities, lost wages, emotional trauma, and mountains of medical expenses. This can also put an extreme strain on the loved ones of the accident victim, who have to become caregivers. If an accident with a truck results in death, there is emotional distress suffered by the surviving family members, as well as loss of companionship and funeral expenses. There is also the loss of a future income stream for a child that was dependent on the deceased.
Common Causes and Complexities of Truck Accidents
The main causes of accidents involving big rigs are driver inattention, fatigue, and aggressive driving. Driving while intoxicated, lack of proper training, defective equipment, and distracted driving are other causes of truck accidents.
Suffering a bodily injury or the death of a loved one as a result of negligent or reckless truck driving can give rise to complicated liability issues. There are many state and federal laws that truck drivers and trucking companies are required to comply with, relating to the size and weight of the truck, and the regulations the driver must follow regarding number of hours on the road, hours of sleep, and other rules in place to eliminate driver fatigue. Because of the complex liability issues, the likelihood of more than one responsible party, and the likely severe nature of the injuries sustained by people injured in accidents with large trucks, it is advisable to retain an experienced truck accident attorney in Orlando to pursue your claim for you.
What Should You Do After an Accident With a Truck?
Bodily injuries suffered as a result of a trucking accident are often quite serious. It is important to get medical attention once you leave the scene of the accident. Before leaving the scene of the accident, if you are able, you should notify law enforcement. You must ensure an accident report is completed that contains all of the relevant information, including the employer and the insurer for the truck driver, with contact information.
You should also obtain statements from any eyewitnesses, as well as contact information. It is important to photograph the scene of the accident, including any debris in the roadway, signage, or weather conditions that might have influenced the accident you were in. You should request the truck driver’s travel and repair logs at the scene, and offer to photograph them if the driver does not want to give them to you. This will help you determine whether or not the driver was in compliance with all of the trucking regulations imposed by the state of Florida and the federal government. After you have adequately documented, photographed, and other memorialized the scene, you should seek medical attention.
What Damages Can Be Recovered?
If you have been injured in a truck accident, you are entitled to recover your economic damages for accident-related costs, including medical expenses and lost wages. You can also recover costs for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering. In cases where the truck driver was driving recklessly or driving while intoxicated, you may also be able to recover punitive damages, although Florida law limits punitive damages resulting from automobile accidents to three times the compensatory damages, or $500,000.
No matter what happens in a trucking accident, you should always consult an experienced Orlando, FL auto accident attorney.