SERIOUS PERSONAL INJURY
Large trucks, semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other commercial trucks are vital to the economy of the United States and Florida. As evidence of this, in 2012, although large trucks accounted for only 4 percent of all registered vehicles in the United States, large trucks accounted for 9 percent of the total vehicle miles traveled.
In that same year, a staggering 333,000 large trucks were involved in traffic crashes with 77,000 of those resulting in injuries. Tragically, nearly 4,000 people were killed in those large truck crashes with the vast majority being the occupants of other, smaller vehicles.
Large trucks, as the name implies, are large, heavy vehicles weighing greater than 10,000 pounds. Needless to say, large trucks have the propensity to cause much greater damage and injury to others due to their sheer size and weight. This means that truck drivers have a very serious responsibility every time they get behind the wheel of their large trucks, semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and commercial trucks. Many truck drivers take this responsibility with the type of care that is deserved. However, there are still some truck drivers who, for whatever reason, do not, which puts innocent people at risk.
Large trucks have the propensity to cause much greater damage and injury to others due to their sheer size and weight.
A disturbing trend in the last decade has been the increase in crashes due to distraction-related incidents such as texting, talking on cellular phones, or simply reaching for personal devices. Truckers have certainly not been immune to these distractions. It is estimated that every time a person looks at a cell phone for texting purposes, his or her eyes are off the road an average of 5 seconds at a time. Depending on the speed of traffic, it can take all of those 5 seconds for a large truck to come to a stop or otherwise avoid a catastrophic collision.
Trucking accident litigation can be complex, even if the cause of the trucking accident appears straightforward. There are often issues related to ownership of the truck versus ownership of the trailer. Similarly, the trucking company that employs the truck driver is not always the trucking company that owns the large truck. Additionally, there might be multiple owners at the corporate level who are liable for the trucking crash for various reasons, including negligent hiring or retention of truck drivers, improper licensing or certification of truck drivers, or patterns of negligence with respect to the truck loads carried or truck drivers employed.
The damages recoverable by the victims injured in trucking accident cases can sometimes be significant.
There are significant costs that oftentimes need to be expended in preparing a trucking accident case. In addition to interviewing witnesses, reviewing any available camera footage, and taking photographs, it is often necessary to hire the services of an accident reconstruction expert, download “black box” data, prepare illustrations of the truck crash, and sometimes even store a vehicle for future reference.
The damages recoverable by the victims injured in trucking accident cases can sometimes be significant. In the unfortunate case of a death, Florida’s wrongful death statute could potentially allow for recovery for the estate, the spouse, children, and potentially other family members. In these cases, future wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other economic and non-economic losses can be recovered.
In cases of serious bodily injury, the recoverable damages for those injured in a trucking crash can be equally or even more significant. Once again, economic losses such as lost wages can be recovered. In addition, medical expenses (past, current, and future) can be recovered along with loss of earning capacity. Non-economic losses such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium can also be recovered. Finally, in cases of willful, malicious, or intentional conduct on the part of those responsible for a trucking accident, punitive damages can be awarded as well.
At Burnett Wilson Reeder, we have experience dealing with trucking accidents, determining who is responsible, and bringing those responsible to justice. Our personal injury attorneys have tried many cases before juries throughout Florida. If you have been in an accident involving a large truck, semi-truck, tractor-trailer, or other commercial truck, or have lost a loved one in a trucking accident, please contact us for a free consultation. Our experienced trial attorneys will sit down with you to discuss your case and, if hired, treat your case with the kind of attention and care that it deserves.