Pensacola Truck Accident Lawyer
Learn About Your Legal Options Courtesy of The Watson Firm, PLLC
Were you injured in a trucking accident? Under Florida personal injury law, you may be entitled to compensation for monetary damages, past medical expenses, wage loss, inconvenience, out-of-pocket expenses, and pain and suffering. The Watson Firm, PLLC represents clients injured in trucking accidents in Pensacola, Fort Walton, Cantonment, and surrounding communities.
Who Is Liable for a Trucking Accident in Pensacola?
Trucking accident cases tend to be more complicated than car accidents, mainly due to the number of possible liable parties. Because these incidents involve commercial vehicles, as well as drivers and companies who are held to stricter standards than ordinary motorists, trucking accidents can have multiple liable parties.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, any of the following parties may be responsible:
- The truck driver
- The company that owns or leases the truck
- The shipping company
- The manufacturer of the vehicle
- The supervisor on duty
At The Watson Firm, PLLC, we work to hold the liable parties accountable for your injuries. Trucking accidents often have devastating consequences, due to the sheer size and weight of these massive vehicles. Often, collisions with passenger vehicles can lead to severe injuries, including catastrophic injuries and death. If you’re dealing with mounting medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income, or even the loss of your loved one, our firm can help.
Our experienced truck accident lawyers stand ready to pursue justice and compensation for your injuries. Call now to get started.
Truck Driver Regulations
Because of the serious risk commercial trucks pose to other drivers in the event of an accident, truck drivers are heavily regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA regulated many aspects of the trucking industry — one of these important regulations is the “Hours of Service” regulations. Since tired drivers are much more likely to get in an accident while driving, these rules are crucial to protecting other motorists on the road.
According to this rule, truck drivers must adhere to these parameters:
- Drivers can work up to 14 hours in a given day. However, in this time period, they can only drive for 11 hours. The remaining three hours must be spent on meal or rest breaks.
- After the 14-hour workday is over, drivers must rest for at least 10 hours before returning to work.
- Drivers must take days off work at regular intervals. If a trucking company is open seven days a week, a driver is only allowed to work 70 hours in an eight-day period before taking at least 34 consecutive hours off. If a trucking company is open less than seven days a week, then a driver is only allowed to work 60 hours in a seven-day period before taking 34 hours off.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for truckers to break these rules, either by their own volition or at the encouragement of the company. In rarer circumstances, the Hours of Service regulations are modified in times of national emergency in order to help get supplies where they need to go faster, such as during the COVID-19 crisis. No matter the case, the result is the same: More tired truck drivers and more accidents.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Every trucking accident is unique and has its own combination of causes, though many collisions share certain underlying factors.
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Truck driver intoxication
- Speeding or driving too fast for road conditions
- Truck driver fatigue
- Illegal roadway maneuvers
- Truck driver inattention or distraction
- Aggressive driving
- Following too closely
- Poor truck maintenance
- Overloaded or improperly secured cargo
- Insufficient truck driver training
All of these actions can be considered forms of negligence and could be used as the basis of a personal injury claim against the responsible party. In cases involving a defective truck part or improper maintenance, such as a tire blowout caused by vehicle neglect, liability may extend past the truck driver and include the trucking company, a mechanic who serviced the vehicle, or even the manufacturer of the defective part. In other cases, a shipping company may be found negligent if they violated proper cargo loading procedures, leading to a collision.
Truck Accident Injuries
When an 80,000-pound 18-wheeler collides with a 4,000-pound sedan, the resulting damage and injuries can be catastrophic. In many cases, truck accidents lead to the deaths of the motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians involved. For those who survive, the injuries they suffer are often life changing.
Here are just a handful of injuries that may be sustained in a trucking accident:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Amputation and disfigurement
- Broken bones
- Severe lacerations
- Severe burns
- Puncture wounds
- Dental damage
- Internal injuries
Steps to Take Immediately After an Accident
The first thing you should do after a truck accident is seek medical attention at the hospital, urgent care clinic, or with your doctor. Truck accidents involve extreme forces, but an increase in adrenaline immediately following the accident can mask serious injuries. It is always best to get checked by a medical professional to make sure you are okay.
The next thing to do is contact law enforcement immediately and gather and preserve evidence. This includes getting the name and contact information of any witnesses and taking pictures of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any other evidence.
Why Do I Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Recovering proper compensation after a truck accident without the help of an experienced truck accident attorney can be very difficult. Trucking companies are often backed by top-of-the-line attorneys who are hired essentially, keep you from recovering the compensation you deserve. The attorney at The Watson Firm, PLLC is experienced in handling truck accident claims and can walk you through the entire claims process. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you.