Winter Park Truck Accident Lawyers - Paul Knopf Bigger

Truck accidents are among the most devastating motor vehicle crashes, inflicting severe, life-altering injuries upon innocent people. But trucking companies and insurers will fight hard to avoid liability for injuries and damage from truck accidents, even when truck drivers or trucking companies cause these crashes. If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident in Winter Park, FL, you need an experienced attorney to help you seek accountability and compensation for your losses.

At Paul Knopf Bigger, our truck accident lawyers are dedicated to obtaining justice for injury victims throughout Florida. We know how devastating truck accidents can be, so we work tirelessly to help our clients pursue the compensation they need for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you were injured in a Winter Park truck accident, don’t go up against the trucking industry alone.

An experienced Winter Park truck accident lawyer from Paul Knopf Bigger can advocate for your rights and help you move forward. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.

How Florida Classifies Trucks

Florida law classifies trucks according to weight and other specifications. The law 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 effects of the vehicle’s occupants, in a box or on a platform or rack.

The statute further defines a “heavy truck” as a motor vehicle with a net vehicle weight of over 5,000 pounds, designed or principally used to carry goods, or equipped with a device to connect and tow a trailer to carry goods.

Finally, the law defines a “truck tractor” as a motor vehicle with four or more wheels designed to tow a semi-trailer attached to the vehicle’s fifth wheel, with the semi-trailer serving as the sole means for the vehicle to haul cargo.

Why Trucking Accidents Are More Complicated Than Other Motor Vehicle Crashes

Truck accident victims may find it challenging to obtain financial relief due to the complexities unique to these crashes. Some of the challenges that make trucking accidents more complicated than other auto accidents include:

  • Truck Accident Cases Involve More Evidence – Determining fault for a truck accident requires reviewing multiple pieces of evidence unique to trucking accidents, such as driver hours-of-service logs, truck “black box” logs, cargo manifests, and pre-trip inspection reports.
  • Truck Accidents May Have Multiple Liable Parties – Depending on the cause of a crash, multiple parties may bear responsibility for the accident, and liable parties might argue among themselves to allocate liability.
  • Truck Crashes Often Injure Multiple People – A devastating truck accident can injure numerous people, which may cause complications if the liable parties have insufficient insurance coverage or financial resources to compensate all injured victims.
  • Trucking Companies May Have Complex Corporate Structures and Insurance Coverage – When trucking companies have various subsidiaries and affiliates, it can become challenging to identify the correct entity to sue. Trucking companies often have layered insurance policies that can make calculating the amount of available coverage difficult.

State and Federal Laws on Trucking

Florida regulations on commercial trucks cover various matters, such as weight and dimensional limitations, permitting requirements for operating oversized/overweight trucks, and requirements for obtaining a commercial driver’s license or CDL endorsement to operate specific types of vehicles or to haul hazardous cargo.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also imposes hours-of-service regulations for truck drivers to limit their time on duty and behind the wheel to prevent truckers from driving while tired. These hours-of-service rules include:

  • Drivers may drive up to 11 hours after an off-duty period of at least 10 hours.
  • Drivers may not drive after the 14th hour following an off-duty period of at least 10 hours.
  • Drivers may extend the 11- and 14-hour limits by up to two hours if they encounter adverse driving conditions.
  • Drivers must take a break of at least 30 minutes after driving for eight hours since the driver’s last break or off-duty period.
  • Drivers may drive up to 60 hours in seven days or up to 70 hours in eight days. The seven- and eight-day periods reset after an off-duty period of at least 34 hours.

Common Types and Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents in Winter Park, FL

Some of the most common kinds of semi-truck accidents include:

  • Rear-end collisions
  • Head-on collisions
  • Sideswipe collisions
  • Underride accidents
  • Side-impact/T-bone collisions
  • Wide-turn accidents
  • Jackknife accidents
  • Runaway/road departure accidents
  • Rollover accidents
  • Cargo accidents

Many 18-wheeler accidents happen because of a trucker’s or trucking company’s negligence or recklessness. Frequent causes of truck crashes include:

  • Speeding/driving too fast for conditions
  • Tailgating/following too closely
  • Disregarding traffic signs/lights
  • Turning or changing lanes without signaling or checking mirrors
  • Improper wide turns
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Drowsy/fatigued driving
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs
  • Distracted driving
  • Inadequate truck/trailer maintenance
  • Unsafe cargo, including excessive/unbalanced weight or unsecured cargo

Typical Injuries Resulting from a Truck Collision

Truck crashes can cause more severe injuries than other motor vehicle accidents because the size and weight of a commercial truck mean these vehicles hit with more significant force in collisions. Examples of injuries that big rig accident victims can suffer include:

  • Lacerations, abrasions, or degloving injuries
  • Burns
  • Dislocated joints
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Muscle/tendon strains or tears
  • Neck and back injuries such as herniated discs or whiplash
  • Broken bones
  • Nerve damage
  • Internal organ injuries and internal bleeding
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Amputation, dismemberment, or limb loss

In addition, if a Winter Park, FL, 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 Winter Park, FL

Because the trucking industry involves multiple types of companies, various parties may bear liability for injuries suffered by victims of truck accidents. Depending on the causes and circumstances of the truck accident, examples of parties you might hold liable in a truck accident case include:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company
  • The truck’s owner (if not the driver or trucking company)
  • The shipping company
  • The truck/trailer manufacturer
  • Truck part and cargo equipment manufacturers
  • Truck/trailer mechanics

Compensation You Could Recover in a Winter Park, FL, Truck Accident Claim

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you may have a claim against the truck driver or trucking company for compensation for financial and personal losses due to the accident. You could seek money for:

  • Costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation
  • Expenses of long-term care or support for disabilities that result from your injuries
  • Loss of wages/income
  • Loss of earning capacity and job benefits
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life because of disabilities or scarring/disfigurement
  • Vehicle repair expenses or reimbursement for the value of your totaled car

Could You Recover Compensation if You’re Partly to Blame for a Trucking Accident?

Even if you share some responsibility for causing a trucking accident, you may still have the right to pursue compensation from a truck driver or trucking company. Under Florida’s comparative negligence law, a plaintiff can recover compensation for a trucking accident if their share of fault is equal to or less than that of the truck driver, trucking company, or other liable parties. However, the law bars plaintiffs from pursuing compensation if they are more than 50 percent at fault.

Further, the comparative negligence law restricts a plaintiff’s compensation if they are partly to blame for an accident. A judge or jury could reduce the compensation in proportion to the plaintiff’s share of fault for the accident.

Because the comparative negligence law may affect your right to compensation after a truck accident, you need to speak with a Winter Park truck accident attorney immediately to build a solid case.

Benefits of Hiring a Winter Park, FL, Attorney for Your Truck Accident Claim

The challenges and stress of recovering from a devastating truck crash can be overwhelming and isolating. But you don’t have to go through the recovery process alone. A Winter Park truck accident attorney from Paul Knopf Bigger can help you with your truck accident claim by:

  • Investigating the truck accident and gathering evidence to determine who is liable for your injuries
  • Documenting your injuries and losses to help you seek compensation for your past, ongoing, and future crash-related expenses, including medical bills and lost wages
  • Communicating with trucking company representatives, insurance adjusters, and defense lawyers on your behalf, freeing you to focus your time and energy on your treatment and rehabilitation
  • Taking your case to trial if a truck accident lawsuit will give you the best chance of recovering the maximum compensation you deserve

Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in Winter Park, FL, Today

If you were injured in a truck accident in Winter Park, FL, you may have the right to seek compensation from a negligent truck driver, trucking company, or another party.

The truck accident law firm of Paul Knopf Bigger has the experience, resources, and knowledge to build a compelling case in pursuit of the justice you deserve. We will vigorously advocate for your rights and aim for the best possible results in your truck accident case.

Contact our office today for a free consultation with a truck accident lawyer in Winter Park, FL.