Tractor Trailer Accidents
Were you hurt in a collision with a large commercial vehicle in The Villages, Florida? Did you lose a loved one due to a truck driver's negligent actions on the road? If so, you may be entitled to compensation and we are here to help. Contact a The Villages truck accident attorney at Whittel & Melton today to discuss your options for filing a personal injury claim. Our attorneys will investigate the scene of the accident, speak to those responsible along with witnesses and police officers, and work tirelessly to help you obtain justice for your pain and suffering.Truck Accident Statistics
Drivers traveling on U.S. roads and highways encounter countless large trucks and other vehicles every day. Typically, a fully loaded large truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, while an average automobile weighs around 3,000 pounds. Due to the sheer size of large commercial vehicles like 18 wheelers, semis and tractor trailers, accidents with these vehicles often result in death. For those that survive these tragic collisions, they are usually left to face severe life-altering injuries and will require long-term medical attention.
Semi-trucks, 18 wheelers and tractor trailers are roughly involved in 500,000 accidents per year. Of those accidents, nearly 5,000 are fatal. There are a variety of reasons a large commercial truck can cause an accident, but the most common involve some form of negligence, such as:
- Driver Fatigue
- Faulty Maintenance of the Truck or Trailer
- Reckless Driving including Speeding and Tailgating
- Falling Cargo
- Careless Driving in Bad Weather
- Negligent Lane Changes
The Villages truck accident attorneys at Whittel & Melton are familiar with Florida state and federal laws and regulations that control the trucking industry. We know how to hold truck drivers and truck companies responsible for their negligence, which can equate to your compensation for medical bills, lost wages, physical therapy expenses, vehicle repair and other financial recovery specific to your injuries.Why Hire a Truck Accident Attorney?
Investigating a truck crash swiftly is vital to the success of your personal injury case. By engaging the truck accident attorneys at Whittel & Melton right away, we can promptly secure all evidence while it is still fresh. It is important to understand that critical evidence can be wiped out by bad weather conditions. Physical evidence such as skid marks, accident debris, oil, gas and radiator stains as well as other accident impact marks on the road or highway can be destroyed by rain, wind, ice and snow.
It is also important to safeguard central records like truck driver logs, truck maintenance records and any alcohol or drug testing results as soon as possible. Any eyewitnesses should be interviewed in a timely fashion, as their recount of the accident could be essential to your case. If you have suffered injuries or suffered the loss of a loved one due to a tractor trailer accident, contact Whittel & Melton now.Establishing Liability for a Semi-Truck, Tractor Trailer or 18-Wheeler Accident
In order to recover financial compensation for your losses following a semi-truck, tractor trailer or 18-wheeler accident, it is necessary to determine who is liable for your injuries or your loved one’s death. Depending on the circumstances involved, various parties could be liable; and, in many cases, multiple parties will share liability for a serious or fatal commercial truck accident.
When you contact our office, a The Villages truck accident attorney will begin working on your case right away. Based on the evidence that is available, we may be able to pursue one or more claims against:1. The Trucking Company
Most truck accident cases involve claims against the trucking company, and there are two different ways that trucking companies can be held liable for serious and fatal collisions. These are:
- Direct Liability – If a trucking company’s practices cause or contribute to an accident, then the trucking company can be held directly liable for its own negligence. Some common examples of direct liability claims against trucking companies include claims based on hiring unsafe drivers, forcing drivers to exceed federal driving hour limitations and failing to perform necessary maintenance on their trucks.
- Vicarious Liability – Trucking companies can also be held vicariously liable for their employees’ mistakes. So, if a truck driver’s negligence is to blame for causing an accident, then the trucking company can still be held liable.
This applies to companies that are in the trucking industry as well as other companies that own and operate their own large trucks. For example, grocery stores, furniture stores, online retailers and other businesses can all face direct and vicarious liability when their trucks are involved in dangerous collisions.2. The Truck Driver’s Insurance Company
Some truck drivers own their own trucks and operate as contractors for other companies. If you or your loved one was hit by one of these owner-operators, then the owner-operator’s insurance company will be liable for your losses.3. The Shipping Company
Shipping companies can also be held liable for truck accidents in many cases. When a truck driver picks up a cargo container, the cargo container is already loaded with its shipment. If the shipment has not been loaded properly, this can potentially cause the driver to lose control unexpectedly. For example, if the cargo is not properly secured, it can shift under braking, and this can make it more difficult for the truck driver to stop. Or, if the cargo container is more heavily weighted on one side, this can significantly increase the risk of a jackknife or rollover accident.4. The Truck’s Manufacturer (or a Component Manufacturer)
Defects are to blame for a large number of truck accidents. When a truck defect causes an accident, the manufacturer can be held liable. This applies to truck manufacturers (such as Mack and Volvo) as well as manufacturers of tires, brake pads and other individual truck components.5. A Dealership or Maintenance Shop
Dealerships and maintenance shops can be held liable when they perform negligent maintenance work on semi-trucks, tractor trailers and 18-wheelers. Our The Villages truck accident attorney handles claims against dealerships and maintenance shops involving all types of negligent maintenance and repair jobs, from faulty tire retreads and brake jobs to faulty engine and electrical system repairs.6. A Government Agency or Contractor
Issues with the road can also play a role in causing large commercial truck accidents; and, when they do, the government agencies and contractors that are responsible for designing, building and maintaining the road can be held liable. From onramps and offramps that are not properly designed to potholes and sinkholes that are not promptly repaired, we represent individuals and families in all types of road-related claims for liability.7. Another Driver’s Insurance Company or Vehicle Manufacturer
In some cases, truck drivers will lose control due to other drivers’ negligence. For example, if another driver sped up in order to get in front of the truck and then braked suddenly, the truck driver may not have had the opportunity to stop in time to avoid a multi-vehicle collision. Defects in other vehicles can also play a role in causing serious and fatal semi-truck, tractor trailer and 18-wheeler accidents.The Villages Truck Accident Attorney From Our Firm Explains Shared Liability
Due to the complexity of large commercial trucks and the numerous factors that can cause and contribute to semi-truck, tractor trailer and 18-wheeler accidents, many accidents will involve liability on the part of multiple parties. When this is the case, fully recovering your losses can present some unique challenges.What If Multiple Parties are to Blame for Your Losses?
In many states, accident victims can pursue full compensation from any party that is liable for their losses—even if that party is only partially responsible for the accident. However, in Florida, this is not the case. As a result, for truck accident victims in The Villages, it will be necessary to hire an attorney who has the experience required to pursue claims against all parties that contributed to causing the accident.
For example, let’s say that you were injured in a truck accident, and an investigation reveals that the truck driver was distracted behind the wheel. However, the investigation also reveals that the truck’s brakes had not been adequately maintained, and the truck’s cargo had not been properly secured. In this scenario, the trucking company, a dealership or maintenance shop, and the shipping company could all potentially share liability for the accident. In order to fully recover your losses, your truck accident lawyer in The Villarges will need to successfully pursue a claim against each company.What If You or Your Loved One Was Partially at Fault?
What if you or your loved one was partially at fault? This is one area where Florida’s laws work to your advantage. As long as you or your loved one was not solely at fault in the accident, you can still recover at least partial compensation for your accident-related losses. Of course, you should never assume that you were to blame; and, before you make any decisions or assumptions, you should speak with a The Villages truck accident attorney about your legal rights.Contact Us Today to Discuss Your Rights and Legal Options With The Villages Truck Accident Attorneys at Our Firm
A traffic accident involving a tractor trailer, 18-wheeler, semi-truck or other large commercial truck can result in catastrophic physical injuries and property damage. Injuries can include the loss of limbs, traumatic brain injuries, internal organ damage and serious burns. If you have been in a truck accident in Lake County, Sumter County or Marion County, contact a The Villages truck accident attorney at Whittel & Melton today at 352-369-5334 or online to schedule your complimentary consultation.