Causes of Truck Accidents in Florida
Every day, countless commercial trucks roar down I-275, I-4, and the many other major highways running through Tampa. These massive vehicles can cause horrific crashes and injuries when truck drivers, trucking companies, or truck parts manufacturers behave negligently, recklessly, or maliciously.
Paul Knopf Bigger is a top-rated Florida truck accident law firm that aggressively protects accident victims’ rights. Our accomplished attorneys have won millions in verdicts and settlements for deserving clients suffering devastating consequences from truck accidents. We’re ready to demand the financial recovery you’re owed, too.
Contact us now for a free case review with our attentive legal team.
What Common Factors Contribute to Florida Truck Accidents?
Florida truck crashes often occur due to preventable factors like the following:
Driver Fatigue/Drowsy Driving
Operating an 80,000-pound truck while tired is extremely dangerous. Drowsy drivers have impaired judgment and reaction time, and truck drivers working long hours without enough rest are at high risk of crashing.
Speeding and Driving Too Fast for Conditions
Large trucks require much more time and distance to brake than other vehicles. Truck drivers traveling too fast often cannot stop in time when traffic suddenly slows, or an obstruction appears on the road.
Drunk or drugged truck driving poses a massive threat to public safety. Impaired truckers are more likely to have delayed reactions and a dangerous lack of control. Mixing truck driving with alcohol, illegal drugs, or even certain prescription medications can have deadly consequences.
Truckers face many potential distractions, including cell phones, GPS units, and dispatch messages. If truckers take their eyes off the road even briefly to text, call, or reach for objects, their huge trucks can quickly drift and go off-course.
Following Too Closely
The immense weight of large trucks requires truckers to maintain a safe following distance at all times. Tailgating or following too closely does not allow enough braking room. Rear-end collisions with abruptly stopping traffic are common truck accidents when trucks follow too closely.
Failure to Check Blind Spots
Trucks have large blind spots around the front, sides, and rear. Negligently failing to check blind spots causes truckers to change lanes into other vehicles, turn into merging traffic, or run over smaller vehicles in adjacent lanes.
Poor Driver Training
Truck drivers must complete quality training to gain experience handling the enormous size and weight of tractor-trailers. Inadequate driver training results in drivers who lack the control and hazard perception skills necessary to avoid accidents.
Hours of Service Violations
Truckers commit hours of service (HOS) violations when they operate trucks while exhausted. HOS rules exist to prevent fatigued trucking by requiring rest periods. Disobeying HOS regulations demonstrates negligence and reckless disregard for safety, often leading to drowsy driving truck crashes.
Excess vehicle weight impacts braking distance, handling, and control. Overloaded trucks are especially prone to rollover or jackknife crashes. Carrying loads that weigh more than legal load limits increases the danger to everyone sharing the road.
Improperly Secured Loads
Unsecured cargo falling from trucks presents a significant hazard, sometimes prompting nearby motorists to swerve dangerously or brake suddenly to avoid collisions. Truckers must properly tie down their loads to prevent cargo from shifting or spilling onto the highway, a frequent cause of severe accidents.
Truck brakes deteriorate with use and require frequent maintenance. Brake defects like worn pads or rotors and air leaks critically disable the stopping capability of these multi-ton trucks. Bad brakes significantly lengthen stopping distance and can’t stop runaway trucks from crashing.
Trucking companies and drivers are legally required to ensure trucks remain in sound operating condition. Failure to properly inspect and maintain vehicles can lead to catastrophic tire blowouts, brake failures, and other preventable issues that cause maintenance-related truck crashes.
Poor road conditions like potholes, construction hazards, absent lane dividers, and abrupt lane shifts can cause truck drivers to lose control of the truck or their rigs to roll over, especially at highway speeds. While drivers must adapt to roadway conditions, defective road design, signage, or maintenance could be a factor in such accidents.
Common Types of Commercial Truck Accidents in Florida
Truck accidents can take many forms, each with unique consequences and damage potential. Here’s a list of common types of truck accidents in the Sunshine State:
- Jackknife accidents
- Wide-turn accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Underride accidents
- Rear-end collisions
- Head-on collisions
- Blind spot accidents
- Lost load accidents
- T-bone accidents
- Tire blowout accidents
- Brake failure accidents
- Sideswipe accidents
- Bridge strike accidents
- Overloaded truck accidents
- Runaway truck accidents
- Multi-vehicle pileups
- Fuel fire accidents
- Chain reaction accidents
- Cargo spill accidents
Who Could Be Responsible for a Truck Crash in Florida?
Seeking fair compensation after a truck accident injury means identifying all parties who might share legal responsibility for the crash. There could be multiple liable parties in a truck accident case, such as:
- Truck Drivers – Truck drivers who cause accidents due to dangerous driving behaviors like speeding, distracted driving, or following too closely could be liable. Truckers who violate safety regulations or operate unsafely in hazardous conditions also face liability for damages.
- Trucking Companies – Trucking companies must adequately train, supervise, and monitor their drivers and ensure their vehicles meet safety standards. Negligent hiring or training, or retaining unsafe drivers could implicate trucking companies. Companies could also be liable for failing to maintain trucks properly or encouraging or mandating unlawful behavior like driving excessive hours.
- Parts Manufacturers – Defectively designed or manufactured truck parts like tires, brakes, engines, and steering components could trigger product liability claims against parts makers. Truck manufacturers could be liable if a defective component causes or contributes to an accident.
- Cargo Loaders – Parties responsible for distributing, securing, or weighing a truck’s cargo could be liable if an unbalanced, shifting, or spilled load causes a crash. Negligent cargo loading that creates an overweight, top-heavy, or unstable truck can lead to loss of control accidents.
- Shippers/Brokers – Cargo brokers, shippers, or forwarders could be liable if their unreasonable demands, impractical delivery schedules, or overweight loads contribute to a truck accident.
What Evidence Could Show What Caused a Trucking Accident?
Gathering evidence is key to building a solid truck accident injury case. Here are some common types of evidence that could be useful in a truck accident injury case:
- Police accident reports
- Commercial driver logs
- Truck inspection records
- Company policy manuals
- Truck driver qualification files
- Truck black box data
- Driver hours of service (HOS) logs
- Driving history reports
- Medical records
- Work or pay records
- Crash scene photos or videos
- Vehicle damage repair estimates
- Accident reconstruction expert analysis
- Eyewitness statements
- Traffic camera footage
- Cell phone records
- Drug or alcohol testing results
- Weather or traffic reports
- Dispatch recordings
- GPS or electronic tracking data
- Accident victim affidavits
- Medical expert opinions
- Social media activity
- Background check investigations
- Cargo loading reports
Florida Truck Accident Statistics
According to recent crash data, there were 2,781 truck accidents in Hillsborough County in one year, a 14.63 percent increase from the year before. The county averaged 2,759 truck accidents per year in the three years prior.
One year, there were 24 truck accident fatalities in Hillsborough, down 11.11 percent from the year before. From the three years prior, an average of 24 people died in Hillsborough truck accidents yearly.
Hillsborough also reported 824 injuries resulting from truck accidents in that same year. This represented a 2.72 percent decrease compared to the year before. In the three years prior, countywide truck accidents injured 870 people on average each year.
How Long Do You Have to File a Trucking Accident Lawsuit in Tampa?
If you get hurt in a Tampa truck accident and wish to pursue compensation, time is of the essence. You have just two years from the accident date to file most personal injury lawsuits after a truck crash. If a truck accident kills someone, surviving family members have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Remember that these time frames can vary depending on the circumstances, and filing on time is essential. As a result, it’s best to consult an experienced lawyer as soon after a truck accident as possible.
How a Tampa Trucking Accident Lawyer Handles Your Case
A skilled personal injury lawyer is pivotal in a truck accident case, implementing various strategies to maximize your potential compensation. Your attorney can help you by:
- Thoroughly investigating all factors that contributed to the accident
- Identifying every potentially liable defendant that shares responsibility
- Documenting the full extent of your injuries and related losses
- Retaining highly qualified medical experts to evaluate your condition
- Obtaining, preserving, and presenting clear evidence of liability
- Researching prior incidents involving the trucking company
- Checking for adequate insurance coverage from all defendants
- Filing necessary paperwork meticulously and promptly
- Securing eyewitness testimony supporting your claim
- Skillfully negotiating with insurance adjusters on your behalf
- Taking your case to court and representing you at trial if necessary
Contact a Tampa Trucking Accident Attorney Today
Were you or a loved one harmed by a negligent truck driver or unsafe trucking company? Take action now by contacting Paul Knopf Bigger for a complimentary case evaluation.