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Boca Raton Florida Truck Accidents Attorneys

Semi-trucks and tractor-trailers are familiar fixtures of Boca Raton traffic, with commercial vehicles constantly travelling down the I-95 to meet up with the I-75 and vice versa. Unfortunately, this heavy volume of truck traffic creates a serious risk for car and truck motor vehicle accidents. According to the DHSMV, there were over 20,000 truck accidents in Florida in 2013, and over 2,000 of those crashes occurred in Palm Beach County. Palm Beach County truck accidents also accounted for half of the fatalities occurring in truck accidents statewide. Truck accidents are capable of causing serious personal injury or wrongful death, and when they do, the truck accident attorneys at Ged Lawyers, LLP provide strong, effective representation to help accident victims receive maximum compensation from negligent truckers and trucking companies.

How Truck Accidents Differ From Car Accidents

In 2018, there were 388,000 accidents involving large trucks, making up just a little over six percent of total motor vehicle accidents. But truck accidents result in twice the percent of fatalities on our roads. Unfortunately, most fatalities occur to the drivers of other vehicles. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, of the total 4,119 truck accident fatalities in 2019, 16 percent of those were truck drivers, and 67 percent were drivers and occupants of the other vehicles.

Considering the sheer size and weight of commercial rigs, they are significantly more dangerous in any accident situation. When a large truck weighing over 80,000 pounds crashes into the average car weighing in at approximately 4,000, any accidents and injuries resulting from an accident can be catastrophic.

Truck accidents result in

  • More significant injuries
  • More extensive medical and rehabilitative costs
  • Greater property damage
  • Complications in determining liability
  • Greater chances of fatalities

If you have been injured in a truck accident, the experienced Boca Raton truck accident attorneys at Ged Lawyers, LLP can hold negligent truck drivers and the companies that employ them accountable. We understand what it takes to establish negligence in a truck accident and work diligently to ensure our clients get the compensation they deserve after a serious truck accident.

Unrealistic Schedules and the Trucking Industry

One of the main causes of truck accidents, especially with our current logistical and supply problems, is the pressure on cargo haulers to get their load to a destination on schedule.

Truckers and the companies they work for commonly push their schedules beyond reasonable limits. This means that more truckers drive while they are drowsy or impaired, haul heavier loads, don’t take the time to properly maintain their rigs, and don’t take the required downtime regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This puts everyone on the road in peril.

Hours of Service Violations

One of the most common causes of large truck accidents is drowsy driving. Data shows that driving while fatigued is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Consequently, truckers are required by law to comply with hours of service regulations by the FMCSA, but many don’t.

Hours of service (HOS) is the maximum amount of time a trucker is permitted to be on duty and regulates the number of hours a truck driver can actively drive as well as the number and length of rest periods they must take. Unfortunately, truckers often violate hours of service regulations to make pressured deadlines. An accident caused by a truck driver’s drowsiness leaves the trucker and/or the company employing them liable for any injuries that result.

At Ged Lawyers, LLP, our experienced Boca Raton truck accident lawyers will diligently seek evidence from logbooks and black boxes to determine if the driver was operating within HOS regulations. If the driver was not in compliance, we can help hold them liable for any accident that resulted.

Other Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Unrealistic demands by trucking companies, heavy workloads, and Hours of Service violations can all be causes of truck accidents by causing truck drivers to be overtired and less alert. In many cases, these demands can also push truck drivers to speed, drive recklessly, or resort to taking illegal substances to stay awake and meet the required demands.

Other common causes of trucking accidents include driving under the influence of alcohol and carrying too heavy of a load. When a semi-truck is overloaded with inventory, it becomes increasingly unstable, and is susceptible to tipping over or even jack-knifing, which can cause serious injuries to countless drivers on the road.

In many cases, truck accidents are caused by multiple parties. For instance, if another driver cuts off a truck, it is forced to slam on its breaks. Even under good conditions, a 30,000-pound truck is likely unable to come to a clean and quick stop, in which case the driver who cut them off would be liable for any damage that occurs to the truck or other drivers on the road. However, if the truck is also overloaded, the truck will likely jack-knife, causing its trailer to flare out and block multiple lanes of traffic. Other drivers may not have time to brake, causing them to crash into the trailer. This will also likely result in the impacted cars being rear-ended by the vehicles behind them. In this case, countless vehicles can suffer damages, and there may be multiple liable parties, including the supplier who loaded the semi-truck’s trailer, and the vehicle who cut off the truck.

Most Common Types of Truck Accidents

There is essentially no limit to the number of ways that a truck can be in an accident, however, these are some of the most common kinds of accidents to look out for:

  • Roll-Over Accidents. These accidents often occur when a truck is making a turn or has to quickly correct due to someone else veering in front of them. The likelihood of these accidents is greatly increased when a supplier has overloaded a truck or when the truck has been improperly loaded by a cargo crew, causing the weight of the cargo not to be evenly distributed. These accidents may also be caused by a tire blowing out, in which case you should look into whether the truck was properly maintained.
  • Rear-End Collisions. Rear-end collisions are incredibly serious when caused by a semi-truck, as standard-sized vehicles are at risk of driving directly under the back of the truck and being crushed.
  • Jack-Knife Accidents. As noted above, these accidents can have major consequences. They are most caused when a truck driver has to brake too quickly, which can happen if the driver is distracted, drowsy, under the influence, or has to avoid another car or debris in the road.
  • T-Bone Accidents. These accidents are most likely to occur at intersections and can have fatal consequences.
  • Side-Swipe Accidents. Side swipe accidents often occur when a semi-truck begins to change lanes without checking for other vehicles, or if a vehicle is driving in the blind spot of the truck. This may cause the truck driver to over-correct, causing another type of accident, such as a roll-over or jack-knife accident.

How Black Boxes Help Establish Liability

Today, most commercial trucks are equipped with black boxes, or electronic control modules. Like black boxes on commercial aircraft, they can provide critical data regarding an accident, including

  • Any driver input
  • Pre-crash vehicle dynamics
  • Pre-crash system status
  • Whether restraints were used and if they were deployed
  • Post-crash data, including an automatic collision notification system

While the National Highway Transportation Safety Board and the FMCSA have both recommended black boxes for all commercial trucks in order to monitor compliance with HOS rules and other matters, having a black box onboard is still only voluntary. But most truck companies have now implemented them and they can provide incontrovertible evidence after an accident. A skilled Boca Raton truck accident lawyer will know to subpoena black box information and use it in support of an injury claim.

Dangers of Trucking Accidents in Florida

The immense size and weight of a fully-loaded tractor-trailer delivers a tremendous amount of force in the event of a collision, placing the occupants of a smaller, lighter automobile at serious risk for catastrophic personal injury or wrongful death. The large, heavy trucks are also more difficult to handle, requiring increased reaction time and stopping distance compared with other vehicles. Finally, the driver of a semi-truck has blind spots that extend across multiple lanes of traffic and for several car lengths in front of the cab and behind the trailer. Motorists navigating around the truck have limited sight distances too.

In addition to the inherent dangers brought on by the size and weight of the semi-truck, poor maintenance issues can contribute to truck accidents as well. Common causes of trucking accidents in Florida attributed to the tractor-trailer include:

  • Out-of-adjustment brakes
  • Defective or missing brake components
  • Worn or defected tires
  • Unbalanced load
  • Overloaded truck

Vehicle issues aside, driver error remains a leading cause and contributor to truck crashes. Truckers have a strong incentive to get to their destination as quickly as possible, and this factor may lead to truck drivers speeding and driving recklessly or aggressively, as well as truckers working longer than is safe and driving while fatigued, risking distracted driving or falling asleep at the wheel.

The U.S. Department of Transportation oversees the trucking industry and posts regulations governing the inspection and maintenance of a company’s trucking fleet as well as the credentials and hours of service of its drivers. Yet truckers routinely ignore these regulations and drive well-beyond the maximum allowable hours, sometimes falsifying log books and other records to make them appear in compliance. Our truck accident lawyers are aware of these truck driver and trucking company tricks and will not allow them to get away with reprehensible behavior.

Who Can Be Liable in a Truck Accident in Florida?

Accidents involving large commercial trucks can be extremely complex, with many possible points of liability. Claims against large commercial enterprises require establishing negligence, but that is where it can become complicated.

Liability may fall on

  • The commercial truck driver
  • The company that the driver works for
  • The company that owns or leases the truck
  • The company that owns or leases the trailer
  • The company that contracted the haul
  • The truck manufacturer
  • The manufacturer of the truck’s parts or components
  • The mechanic that serviced the truck

Many questions may arise during the investigation of the accident, including

  • How much experience did the driver have?
  • Did the trucker have adequate training?
  • Was the driver operating within HOS regulations?
  • Was the truck overloaded or improperly loaded and secured?
  • Was the truck adequately maintained?
  • Was there an equipment failure?

Sometimes, there may be more than one party at fault.

Get Help Today from Experienced Florida Trucking Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident due to a truck driver’s inexperience, negligence, or reckless driving, or because a truck was driven in a dangerously unsafe condition, contact Ged Lawyers, LLP for a free case review with one of our experienced motor vehicle accident attorneys. We are headquartered in Boca Raton with satellite offices throughout the state of Florida, and if your injuries prevent you from traveling to our offices, we will gladly come to you at your home or in the hospital so that we may help you recover compensation for the harm that was done to you.