Orlando Truck Accident Lawyers - Paul Knopf Bigger
Were you hurt in an accident with an 18-wheeler in Orlando? If you were hit by a commercial truck due to the driver’s or trucking company’s negligence, you could pursue financial relief for your medical bills, vehicle repairs, lost income, and pain and suffering. An Orlando truck accident attorney at Paul Knopf Bigger can help.
Our legal team is committed to pursuing justice for injury victims throughout Orlando. We have a proven track record of litigating and winning injury cases against some of the largest corporations, earning us a reputation nationwide for success. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation with an Orlando truck accident lawyer.
How Florida Classifies Trucks
Florida statutes define a “truck” as a motor vehicle with a net vehicle weight of 5,000 pounds or less designed or principally used to transport goods, other than the personal effects of the truck’s occupants, in a box, platform, rack, or other equipment. The law classifies a “heavy truck” as a motor vehicle with a net vehicle weight of over 5,000 pounds, designed or used to carry goods or equipped with a device to connect and tow a trailer. Finally, the statute defines a “truck tractor” as a motor vehicle with four or more wheels designed to draw a semi-trailer attached to the vehicle’s fifth wheel, with no other means of carrying cargo.
Why Trucking Accidents Are More Complicated Than Other Motor Vehicle Crashes
People injured in a commercial truck accident may find it challenging to recover compensation for their financial and personal losses because of how complicated trucking accidents can be. These accidents are more complex because:
- Truck Accidents Involve More Evidence – State and federal regulations require trucking companies to keep extensive records of their operations. These include driver hours-of-service records, truck event data recorder logs, maintenance records, and cargo manifests. Truck accident attorneys must review every record and piece of evidence from a truck crash to ensure they find the facts that prove who or what caused the truck accident.
- Commercial Truck Crashes Can Injure Multiple People – Devastating truck accidents can involve multiple victims, and at-fault parties might insist on reaching a global settlement with all injured parties. Alternatively, liable parties may lack sufficient insurance coverage or financial resources to compensate everyone fully.
- Multiple Parties Can Be Liable for an 18-Wheeler Accident – Various parties may either directly or indirectly be responsible for causing a truck accident. When a truck accident case involves multiple potentially liable parties, they may dispute the allocation of fault, making recovery more challenging.
- Trucking Companies Often Have Complex Corporate Structures or Insurance Coverages – Large trucking companies may have parent, subsidiary, and affiliate corporations, making identifying the correct party to sue challenging. In addition, trucking companies often have layered liability insurance policies that make it difficult to calculate the amount of insurance coverage available in a truck accident case.
State and Federal Laws on Trucking
Florida imposes numerous regulations on the operation of commercial trucks in the state. These regulations include:
- Limits on trucks’ weight and dimensions
- Permitting requirements for overweight/oversized trucks
- Licensing requirements for truck drivers, including commercial driver’s license requirements and license endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles or to haul hazardous cargo
Federal law also requires drivers to follow hours-of-service regulations to ensure that drivers do not become tired or sleepy behind the wheel. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hours-of-service regulations include the following:
- Drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 hours off-duty.
- Drivers may only drive up to the 14th hour after coming on duty following a 10-hour off-duty period.
- Drivers must take a break of at least 30 minutes after driving for eight hours following the driver’s last break or off-duty period.
- Drivers may not drive after 60 hours on duty in seven days or after 70 hours on duty in eight days. The seven- and eight-day periods reset after spending at least 34 hours off duty.
- Drivers may extend the 11- and 14-hour limits by up to two hours in adverse driving conditions.
Common Types and Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents in Orlando
Large commercial trucks are involved in various accidents. Some of the most common types include:
- Rear-end collisions
- Front-end collisions
- Sideswipe collisions
- Side-impact/T-bone collisions
- Underride accidents
- Jackknife accidents
- Runoff/road departure accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Cargo accidents
Many 18-wheeler accidents happen due to the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company, but there are other causes. Frequent causes of commercial truck accidents include:
- Speeding or traveling too fast for road/weather/traffic conditions
- Tailgating/following too closely
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Disregarding traffic signs, including road restrictions for big rigs
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Not using turn signals
- Failing to check mirrors before turning, changing lanes, or backing up
- Drowsy driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Truck driver inexperience or inadequate training
- Lack of truck/trailer maintenance
- Design or manufacturing defects in the truck/trailer or its parts
- Unsafe cargo loads, including overweight cargo, unbalanced load weight, or unsecured cargo
Typical Injuries Resulting from a Truck Collision
Truck accidents tend to cause more severe injuries than accidents involving only passenger vehicles due to trucks’ large size. Typical injuries resulting from a truck collision include:
- Lacerations, abrasions, and degloving injuries
- Nerve damage
- Ligament sprains/tears
- Muscle and tendon strains/tears
- Broken bones
- Crush injuries
- Neck and back injuries, including whiplash or herniated spinal discs
In addition, if an Orlando truck accident is fatal, the victim’s family could file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Parties Who Could Be Held Liable for a Truck Wreck in Orlando
A truck wreck can occur due to negligent or reckless errors by various parties involved in the trucking industry. Common examples of parties who may have liability for a semi-truck accident in Orlando include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The truck’s owner (if not the driver or trucking company)
- The shipping company
- The truck or trailer manufacturer
- A manufacturer of parts or equipment used on a truck, such as tires, brakes, or cargo-securing equipment
- Auto mechanics who service the truck/trailer
Compensation You Could Recover in an Orlando Truck Accident Claim
If you’ve suffered injuries or property damage in a big rig accident in Orlando, you may have the right to seek compensation from a liable truck driver or trucking company. Compensation can provide you with money for financial and personal losses you incur due to the accident, including for:
- Costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation for injuries you suffer in the accident
- Costs of long-term care or support you need if disabilities affect your daily life
- Loss of wages/income if you cannot work due to your injuries
- Loss of earning capacity and employment benefits if you develop a permanent disability
- Pain and suffering caused by your injuries or medical treatment
- Loss of quality of life due to disability or visible, permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Vehicle repair expenses or reimbursement for the value of your totaled vehicle
Could You Recover Compensation If You’re Partly to Blame for a Trucking Accident?
Under Florida’s comparative negligence system, an injury victim may still have the right to pursue financial relief even if they are partly to blame for a truck accident. Florida follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which means someone injured in an accident may pursue compensation if their share of fault for the accident is equal to or less than that of the other responsible party or parties.
The comparative negligence rule also affects how much money a person can recover. Under the rule, any percentage of fault an injured party bears for an accident can reduce their compensation in proportion to their share of fault.
Benefits of Hiring an Orlando Attorney for Your Truck Accident Claim
Recovering from a devastating truck accident can be overwhelming. You may need extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation for injuries, and you may be unable to work, causing financial stress. An Orlando truck accident attorney from Paul Knopf Bigger can handle your lawsuit so that you can focus on healing. You will get peace of mind when you hire our attorneys for your truck accident claim because we can:
- Investigate the truck accident and gather complex evidence to prove liability
- Document your injuries and losses and bring in medical, vocational, and financial experts to accurately calculate your past, ongoing, and future anticipated expenses
- Prepare your legal case and communicate with insurance adjusters, trucking company representatives, and defense lawyers on your behalf so that you can devote your full attention to your treatment and rehab
- Represent you at trial, if necessary, to advocate for your right to financial relief