St. Petersburg Truck Accident Lawyers - Paul Knopf Bigger
A truck accident can have devastating consequences for those involved in the crash. Truck crashes often inflict severe injuries that leave accident victims unable to work. You may face mounting medical bills and lost wages if you were injured in a truck accident. But you could have the right to seek compensation for your injuries and losses if a truck driver or trucking company bears fault for the accident.
If you’ve been hurt in an accident with an 18-wheeler in St. Petersburg, the trusted attorneys at Paul Knopf Bigger can help you pursue compensation and justice from a negligent truck driver or trucking company. Contact us today for a free consultation with a St. Petersburg truck accident attorney.
How Florida Classifies Trucks
Florida law generally classifies trucks by weight. The statute defines 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 belongings of the vehicle’s occupants, in a box, on a platform or rack, or by any other equipment.
The law defines a “heavy truck” as a motor vehicle with a net vehicle weight of more than 5,000 pounds designed or principally used to haul goods or equipped with a device to tow a trailer designed to carry goods.
Finally, a “truck tractor” is a motor vehicle with four or more wheels designed to carry goods solely by a semi-trailer attached to the vehicle’s fifth wheel.
Why Trucking Accidents Are More Complicated Than Other Motor Vehicle Crashes
Truck accident victims may find it challenging to obtain compensation for injuries and losses because of the complexity of the trucking industry. Complications may arise in a trucking accident case for various reasons, including the following:
- Truck Accident Cases Often Have More Evidence – Due to the volume of records kept by trucking companies, investigating a truck accident requires reviewing numerous pieces of evidence to identify the cause of the crash. Investigating a truck crash can take time, especially if a truck company is uncooperative.
- Truck Accidents Can Have Multiple At-Fault or Liable Parties – Depending on the circumstances of a truck accident, multiple parties may share liability for an accident victim’s injuries. These parties might shift blame for the crash onto each other to avoid liability.
- Truck Crashes Can Injure Numerous People – A devastating truck accident may involve multiple vehicles and victims, which can complicate the process of recovering compensation. The at-fault party’s insurance coverage might be insufficient to compensate all victims.
- Trucking Companies Often Have Complicated Corporate or Insurance Structures – Many trucking companies have layered corporate structures and insurance coverages, making it challenging to identify the correct party to sue or calculate the total amount of available insurance coverage.
State and Federal Laws on Trucking
In Florida, state regulations govern various aspects of commercial trucks. For example, regulations impose dimensional and weight limits on commercial trucks and require operators to apply for permits to operate oversized or overweight trucks. State law also requires drivers operating commercial trucks to obtain commercial driver’s licenses and endorsements for specific types of trucks or to haul hazardous materials.
Federal trucking regulations limit truck drivers’ time on duty and behind the wheel to prevent drowsy or fatigued driving. Truck drivers must keep hours-of-service logs to track the hours they spend driving and on duty. Most trucks have computers that track drivers’ on-duty and driving hours electronically. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) hours-of-service regulations include:
- Drivers may drive for a maximum of 11 hours after coming on duty following an off-duty period of at least 10 consecutive hours.
- Drivers may not drive after the 14th hour after coming on duty following an off-duty period.
- Drivers can extend their 11- and 14-hour limits by up to two hours when they encounter adverse driving conditions.
- Drivers must take a break of at least 30 minutes after driving for eight hours without taking a break or off-duty period.
- Drivers may drive for a maximum of 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days, resetting when a driver takes an off-duty period of at least 34 consecutive hours.
Common Types and Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents in St. Petersburg
A semi-truck can get into many different kinds of truck accidents. Some of the most common types of commercial truck accidents include:
- Rear-end collisions
- Head-on collisions
- Side-impact or T-bone collisions
- Sideswipe collision
- Underride accidents
- Road departure or runaway truck accidents
- Wide-turn accidents
- Jackknife accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Cargo accidents
Truck accidents have numerous causes, many of them attributable to the negligence or recklessness of a truck driver or trucking company. Common causes of truck crashes include:
- Speeding or driving too fast for the conditions
- Tailgating or following too closely
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Not signaling or checking mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes or turning
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Improper wide turns
- Distracted driving
- Intoxicated driving
- Drowsy driving
- Unsafe cargo, including excessive weight, unbalanced load, or unsecured items
- Inadequate vehicle maintenance
- Truck defects
- Adverse weather conditions
- Poor road conditions, including potholes, slippery road surfaces, debris, or heavy traffic
Typical Injuries Resulting from a Truck Collision
Victims of truck collisions often suffer severe, life-altering injuries. The size and weight of a commercial truck means it hits other vehicles with violent force in a crash. The typical injuries resulting from a truck collision include the following:
- Lacerations and abrasions
- Broken bones
- Ligament sprains and tears
- Muscle or tendon strains and tears
- Neck and back injuries, such as whiplash or herniated discs
- Internal injuries and bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Degloving injuries
- Amputation, dismemberment, or limb loss
In addition, if a St. Petersburg 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 St. Petersburg
Multiple parties can be liable for a truck wreck because the trucking industry comprises various individuals and companies. The parties that could be held accountable in a truck accident include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The truck or trailer owner
- The cargo shipping company
- The truck or trailer manufacturer
- Manufacturers of defective parts used on the truck
- The truck’s mechanic
Compensation You Could Recover in a St. Petersburg Truck Accident Claim
A truck accident lawsuit can compensate for the financial and personal losses you incur from a truck crash. A St. Petersburg truck accident attorney from Paul Knopf Bigger can help you pursue money for the following:
- Medical treatment and rehabilitation
- Home health services or housekeeping
- Lost wages from missing time at work
- Lost future earnings if you cannot return to work
- Physical pain and emotional suffering
- Lost quality of life due to disabilities, disfigurement, or scarring
- Car repairs and temporary alternative transportation
- The value of your totaled car
Could You Recover Compensation if You’re Partly to Blame for a Trucking Accident?
Under Florida law, you may have the right to recover compensation even if you are partly to blame for causing the truck accident that injured you.
Florida’s comparative negligence rule permits a plaintiff to pursue compensation if their share of fault is equal to or less than that of the other party or parties. This rule bars a plaintiff who is more than 50 percent at fault for an accident from seeking compensation. Further, if a plaintiff is partly to blame for a trucking accident, a judge or jury can reduce their compensation in proportion to their share of the fault.
Benefits of Hiring a St. Petersburg Attorney for Your Truck Accident Claim
You may face a long road to recovery if you suffer injuries in a truck accident. You deserve to focus your time and energy on healing and moving forward. A St. Petersburg attorney from Paul Knopf Bigger will handle every detail of your case, giving you peace of mind. When you hire us for your truck accident claim, you can expect to receive personalized, compassionate service and legal advice. You can count on us to:
- Investigate the truck accident and gather crucial evidence to determine who is liable for your injuries and losses
- Identify all potential sources of compensation, including applicable insurance coverage
- Document your injuries and other losses and work with medical, vocational, and financial experts to calculate the maximum amount of compensation you need to cover past, current, and future costs
- Communicate with insurance and trucking companies on your behalf to allow you to focus on healing and recovering from your injuries
- File a lawsuit if settlement negotiations fail and represent you at trial to pursue the compensation you deserve
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in St. Petersburg Today
If you suffered injuries in a crash with a big rig in St. Petersburg, you deserve to seek compensation from the truck driver or trucking company responsible for the collision. The seasoned attorneys at Paul Knopf Bigger can help you pursue accountability and compensation from liable parties. Our legal team is committed to obtaining justice for truck accident injury victims. You don’t have to face this challenging time alone.
Contact the law firm of Paul Knopf Bigger today for a free consultation with a truck accident lawyer in St. Petersburg.