Truck accidents are common in Florida. Some of the most severe damages and injuries in road accidents are those involving trucks. Trucks are also technical to drive, requiring an exclusive commercial license to operate. Due to these reasons, truck drivers undertake specialized driving courses to help them manage their trucks correctly.
Additionally, truck drivers are also held in higher regard compared to other passenger vehicles on the roads. An accident involving a truck can leave the victim with catastrophic injuries requiring extensive treatment that is often too costly. A victim of a truck accident can, however, seek to recover damages for the cost of treating their injuries or repairing their vehicle. Having a lawyer pursue your compensation ensures you are awarded the right damages and in a short period. At Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney, we help many truck accident victims with seeking their damages.
Truck Accident Causes in Florida
When involved in an accident in Florida, there is the question of who is responsible, especially when seeking compensation. Florida is a no-fault state meaning any victim of an accident seeks payment from their insurance provider first before that of the at-fault party. Many entities can be responsible for or cause truck accidents. Knowing the cause of the accident helps in determining the party liable for the damages, especially when you will need more in costs when your cover is exhausted.
Some of the prevalent causes of truck accidents in Florida include:
Mistakes Made by Passenger Vehicles
Truck drivers share the roads with other drivers operating regular cars. The drivers of these regular vehicles often are to blame for truck accidents. Most accidents caused by standard cars are due to their ignorance in exercising care when driving alongside trucks. Regular cars make miscalculations when accelerating or assuming the speed of the truck, braking capabilities, and visibility by the truck driver. Some of the common mistakes or unsafe practices that result in truck accidents involving primary vehicles are:
- There are areas around a truck described as No-Zones. These are the areas where the truck driver has limited visibility or none at all. Driving behind or beside a truck exposes the regular car driver to accident risks. When driving there, the car driver must understand the truck driver will not know they are there and can easily change lanes or brake suddenly and cause an accident. If a regular car driver is driving along with these positions, they must exercise caution, and when able to overtake the truck safely, to do so.
- Regular cars also have a habit of abruptly changing lanes when at the front. They often underestimate the speed of the truck and quickly jump in. The braking mechanisms of trucks are different from that of regular cars. This means the truck driver may try to stop or slow down to accommodate the sudden changes in the lane. Unfortunately, sometimes they are not able to stop as fast, crashing into the car.
- Maneuvering past a truck taking a right turn is also another unsafe practice by regular cars. Most car drivers ignore the tail lights signaling the truck intends to turn right. Others may see the signal but assume they can overtake the truck before it makes the turn. This reckless behavior often results in the car crashing into the truck.
- Misjudging the speed of the truck is a common mistake by regular vehicle drivers. A vehicle driver would miscalculate the speed the truck is moving at and decide to make a turn in front of it. Unfortunately, a truck may seem to be moving at a slow pace when, in fact, it is at a higher rate. As a result, the truck is likely to crash into the car.
- Improper merging into the road is also another cause of truck accidents. Regular vehicles suddenly join ways making assumptions that the truck is moving at a slower speed. This causes the truck to quickly brake or maneuver and many times, causing an accident.
- Regular cars sometimes fail to speed up or slow down when they see a truck changing lanes or merging. As a result, an accident may happen, resulting in severe damages.
- Driving between trucks, especially when at the blind spot, is dangerous and results in an accident. This is another reckless behavior by regular car drivers.
Florida has laws in place regulating the number of hours a truck driver should drive before taking a break. Unfortunately, some truck drivers will drive past the recommended hours and get overly tired. Some of them blame the long hours on traffic delays or delivery deadlines that must be met. As a result, they feel they need to push further and recover lost time. Others want to make more money by working overtime, and the truck owners or companies allow them to.
These kinds of behaviors often result in them lacking sleep, and their reflexes slow down. Sometimes a driver may sleep on the wheel, causing a severe accident. Due to the size of some of these commercial trucks, an accident by them results in substantial property damage, catastrophic injuries, and sometimes death.
Some accidents by trucks are because of faulty parts or poor maintenance. Other times, the cargo is not tied down properly on the truck. Some trucks are also driven with entirely worn-out tires risking blow-up of the tire. If the tire blows up, the driver may not be able to control the truck when it veers off its lane, and into other vehicles. When the tire wears out, sometimes it can lose its treading. This will cause the tread to come out and hit another car next to the truck.
Truck parts can also fail. Sometimes when the brakes are not well maintained or installed, a truck may fail to stop when the brakes are applied. This may cause the truck to hit other vehicles or veer off the road and crash.
Truck drivers usually work according to a set schedule. When stuck in traffic, they will need to compensate for those hours. As a result, most of them will not stop to eat or for a snack. Instead, they will eat as they drive. Multitasking is dangerous when driving and can result in serious accidents. When driving to an unfamiliar place, they may decide to fiddle with the GPS. They may also choose to keep changing the radio station to find one that they like. The use of cell phones to text or call is also prevalent among truck drivers. These are all forms of distractions that can result in the driver losing focus on the road and end up causing an accident.
Lack of Truck Driving Skills
Driving a truck is not like driving a regular car. When the driver lacks the necessary skills or expertise to operate the particular truck, they can cause an accident. This is common among new truck drivers who lack experience in driving trucks. Commercial trucks are typically large, and a driver must have skills to maneuver them in various conditions or spaces. When a driver lacks the skills to operate the truck, they will easily crash into other vehicles or property.
An Impaired Driver
When a driver is intoxicated, it means they are unable to adequately control their vehicles, especially when they come upon an emergency. Many drivers are notorious for getting intoxicated while on duty. Intoxication, in this case, can be due to drugs or alcohol. Some drivers have drugs and alcohol in their trucks, while others take them at specific stops. When a truck driver is impaired, they easily cause accidents.
Intoxicated driving is an offense in Florida. Unfortunately, that does not stop truck drivers from using intoxicants as they drive. Some prescription medicines can cause drowsiness or cause the driver to be impaired. Driving while on these drugs is as dangerous as when a driver operates a truck high on alcohol. Avoid taking medicine that causes these effects or explain to your doctor the nature of your work. In most cases, drivers are advised to stay off work until they complete taking the prescription drugs that cause them drowsiness.
Overtaking is one of the many causes of truck accidents. This does not mean trucks should not pass. However, a truck driver may miscalculate their speed while overtaking another vehicle. Suddenly, a car appears from the opposite direction, and there is no time to stop or move back to their lane. This, in most cases, will result in head-on collisions. Other vehicles on the road could also be overtaking and make similar mistakes. A head-on crash in most cases involving a truck will end up in catastrophic injuries or death.
Speeding Beyond the Legal Limit
Truck companies often put pressure on their drivers to reach a specific destination within a given time. Unfortunately, many factors on the road make this unachievable. Truck drivers often feel under pressure of losing their jobs if they do not keep to the schedule. As a result, they end up driving at high speeds that are difficult to control. When the trucks attempt to overtake or change lanes at these high speeds, they can quickly lose control or veer off the road, causing an accident.
Some truck companies want to maximize their profits by avoiding using more trucks to carry a customer’s load. They will often have the trucks overloaded beyond their capacity. When the truck is overloaded, it is likely to lead to an error that will result in an accident. Sometimes, the weight of the cargo may not be evenly distributed. When the driver comes along a sharp bend, the weight shifts to one side and the truck can quickly flip over.
Hazardous Road Conditions
Bad roads can result in truck accidents. If no proper signages are placed, the truck may not be prepared for what is ahead and result in an accident. For instance, if there are road construction workers or a diversion ahead, proper signs must be placed several meters before the area with road works. If these signages miss, a truck can end up crashing into the construction workers and their equipment.
Sometimes roads can be poorly maintained. As a result, cracks and potholes form. A truck expecting good ways can suddenly crash into the hazard and end up crashing.
Poor Weather Conditions
Weather conditions do also contribute to truck accidents. Stormy weather often results in poor visibility. When a driver is unable to see where they are going clearly, they are likely to crash into other vehicles or objects. Heavy rains or ice can also cause the roads to be slippery. This becomes dangerous, especially when a truck tries to maneuver a bend.
Driver’s Medical Conditions
Some drivers have severe medical conditions that they fail to disclose but take medications in secret. Because of the nature of their work, truck drivers are often obese. Obesity comes with other lifestyle diseases. Some drivers may suffer from sleep apnea. This is a condition that causes a person to stop breathing temporarily while asleep. Drivers with this condition are sluggish, fatigued, and find it difficult to focus on the road. Sleep can find them anywhere, even as they drive. This can result in serious accidents that may involve other road users.
Obesity causes diabetes and heart diseases. These conditions can result in a driver suffering a heart attack while driving. Although these are not common causes of accidents, they, however, result in serious accidents when they happen.
Driving on an unknown road can be frustrating for any driver. Truck drivers often lose focus due to long hours of driving and the routine of their jobs. When in unfamiliar ways, they will still not focus as they need to and end up crashing into objects, animals, or other vehicles. Practicing caution or mindfulness is essential on the road, especially one not traveled on before.
Most people are quick to blame vehicle drivers when they hit a pedestrian. The truth is that not all vehicle accidents involving a pedestrian are because of negligent driving. Pedestrians also do cause truck accidents. A pedestrian crossing at the wrong place where the truck driver wasn’t expecting can get hit by the truck. Some pedestrians fail to walk on the sidewalk and walk along the road. Sometimes the pedestrian could be distracted, especially if they have earphones on and don’t hear an approaching truck. By accident, they may suddenly move into the road and end up being hit by a truck.
Drunk pedestrians can also cause truck accidents, especially when walking along the road. Crossing the road at night without reflective clothes can also result in an accident when the truck driver is unable to see the pedestrian.
Cyclists and Motorcyclists
Motorcyclists are notorious for riding at high speeds and getting in and out of lanes carelessly. Their reckless way of driving can result in a truck driver braking suddenly or veering towards other vehicles. This habit by motorcyclists can result in them crashing with the truck or the truck crashing into other cars.
Cyclists also can cause truck accidents. When riding your bicycle at night and you have no reflective clothes on, a truck driver can easily hit you. If where you are riding, there are no sidewalks, ensure to use reflective clothing when on the highway.
The long hours truck drivers spend on the road often get them bored, and anything that removes the monotony is welcome. For this reason, they are always on the lookout for anything interesting besides their driving. When they see anything outside, they will focus on it and turn all their attention to the external distraction. This often makes them forget to concentrate on their driving and end up causing an accident.
Close Driving to Other Vehicles
Every driver must keep a safe distance between themselves and the car ahead of them. Some truck drivers disregard this requirement and drive very close to the car ahead. If the vehicle at the front comes across an emergency, its sudden braking will mean the truck will crash into it. A truck takes time to stop. When faced with an unexpected crisis as such, it will not stop in time.
Some roads at night are lonely and pass around areas with many animals. A truck driver may not realize this or be expecting to face an animal. Animals often appear from nowhere and can result in the truck crashing as it tries to avoid hitting the animal.
Making an Illegal Turn
Some truck drivers find it a waste of time to find the correct place to make a turn. This will force them to turn at the wrong place or make an illegal U-turn. Because of no space to maneuver in such areas, a truck may overturn and crash on the road. Illegal turning can also result in the truck crashing into an oncoming vehicle and causing a catastrophic accident.
Poorly Designed Roads
Roads must be designed in a way that they reduce accidents. If a bend is near, proper signage must be placed several meters before getting to it. This is important as it prepares the driver for the change in the road, and they reduce speed accordingly. When this is not the case, a truck driver coming into a sudden bend may find it challenging to maneuver the truck and ends up causing an accident.
Very narrow roads also make it difficult for vehicles to pass each other. When the way is thin and the truck wide, it can easily crash into other cars trying to maneuver on the same road.
Faulty Traffic Lights
Traffic lights are often found at intersections. These lights are crucial in controlling and guiding traffic. Intersections are prone to accidents when some drivers assume they have the right of way or run a red light. Sometimes, traffic lights at an intersection can be faulty, primarily when not well maintained. When this happens, vehicles, including trucks, can enter the intersection without knowing who is on the right. As a result, truck accidents happen involving other road users.
What To Do When Involved in a Florida Truck Accident
Accidents involving trucks often result in significant property damages and significant injuries to the victims. The cost of these damages is high, causing severe financial difficulties for the victim. The state of Florida, as earlier stated, is a no-fault state. This means that accident victims must first seek damages from their insurance covers. If you had no insurance cover, you could seek damages from the at-fault driver or entity.
The most important thing after an accident is to seek medical attention. Injuries from a truck accident can result in a fatality, making it crucial to ensure a doctor attends to your injuries as soon as you can get to a hospital.
However, even as you wait for emergency response, it is essential to collect all the evidence of the accident that you can. Take pictures if you can, and even videos. These details are critical for supporting your damage claim. Get the information of the other driver involved in the accident and share your details as well.
You must also report the accident to your insurance provider, aside from the police. However, it is advisable to get a lawyer to deal with the insurance adjuster. Insurance adjusters are trained to save the insurance company money and will try their best to offer you a small settlement. A lawyer, however, can negotiate on your behalf after launching the claim and get you better compensation.
Sometimes, your insurance cover is not sufficient to cover for the damages you incurred. Your lawyer, having established the responsible party in the accident, can legally pursue a claim from the other party’s insurance. In doing so, your lawyer will ensure that you attach all the relevant documents and evidence to support your claim. Additionally, your lawyer understands the legal requirements and your rights as a victim.
When your lawyer is seeking compensation for your damages, he or she will ensure to include the cost of your medical expenses, your lost earnings, and the cost of repairing your vehicle. If the injuries are catastrophic, they will require a lifetime or prolonged treatment. Your lawyer will ensure documentation of the expenses in the claim.
Additionally, compensation for noneconomic damages is your right. Unfortunately, these damages are highly contested and can wear you down. An experienced lawyer in recovering damages for truck accident victims is aware of what to expect and will not be intimidated by the insurance company.
Find a Lawyer Near Me
Truck accidents can be a result of many things, as discussed. Irrespective of the cause, the damages from these accidents are overwhelming. Knowing the cause helps know the responsible party for the damages when seeking compensation. Most personal injury lawyers have experience in establishing fault and understand the parameters to follow. At Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney, we have helped many clients seeking damages from truck accidents. Contact us at 904-800-7557, and let us discuss your case.