According to the most recent data available from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there was a 40% increase in the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks and buses between 2009 and 2017. In Florida specifically, there were 170 fatal crashes involving large trucks in 2009; that number rose dramatically to 275 by 2017. Several factors have likely contributed to this alarming upsurge of truck accidents in Florida and nationwide, from ubiquitous cellphone use to insufficient hiring and training practices in the trucking industry. At Sholtes Law, PLLC, our Fort Pierce Truck Accident Lawyer represents victims of truck accidents in Saint Lucie County and Martin County, providing skilled and aggressive representation when going up against trucking companies and their insurers.
What Are the Causes of Truck Accidents that Support an Injury Claim?
Of all fatal truck crashes, nearly 75% involve a collision with another moving vehicle, and generally it’s not the truck driver who is hurt or killed—it’s the people in the smaller vehicle. Causes of truck accidents that may give rise to a successful injury claim include truck driver speeding, distracted driving, failure to yield the right of way, and impairment, such as driving while fatigued, intoxicated, or ill. Other factors contributing to truck accidents frequently involve the trucking industry’s emphasis on making more deliveries and faster deliveries. For example, if cargo isn’t loaded into the trailer properly because people are rushing, the truck may be even more challenging to maneuver and control safely. Also, research has found that many new truck drivers are put on the road too soon, without enough training and experience.
When Can a Trucking Company Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident?
In many cases, trucking companies can be held liable for truck accidents, rather than simply pinning responsibility on truck drivers. However, a few requirements must be met to make a successful claim for compensation against a trucking company. First, the truck driver must be an employee, not an independent contractor. Next, the truck driver had to be acting within the scope of employment, e.g. making a delivery while on the job and not running an errand off the clock. In some cases, a trucking company’s practices or policies may be illegal unto themselves, such as when truck drivers are allowed—or implicitly encouraged—to drive more consecutive hours than permitted by federal law.
Should I Talk to Lawyer After Being Injured in a Truck Accident?
You should talk to a lawyer after being injured in a truck accident, especially because a large trucking company, as well as its insurers and attorneys, may become involved with your claim. An attorney will level the playing field and help ensure you receive maximum available compensation for your truck accident injuries. In the Fort Pierce area, please contact Sholtes Law, PLLC to speak with an experienced Florida truck accident lawyer. We’re prepared to build a strong injury claim on your behalf that holds all potentially liable parties accountable for your losses.