What Are Common Causes of Improper Lane Change Truck Accidents in Florida?
Whether we’re talking about 18 wheelers, semi trucks, garbage trucks, dump trucks, or some other commercial truck, these giant vehicles have substantial blind spots. In other words, they almost certainly can’t see everything around them, no matter how good their mirrors are. These leaves us, our families, and other drivers on the road in a scary situation if we’re ever close to a semi truck’s blind spot. This is especially true if the driver does not carefully check out its blind spots before changing lanes.
There are many factors that can contribute to a truck accident in Florida. As we just talked about, the vehicle itself is giant and has blind spots. That presents a problem. However, there are a number of other factors that can contribute to a truck accident due to the truck driver’s improper lane change, including (but not limited to) the following:
Truck drivers aren’t the only ones out there driving while distracted. Phones and other electronics can distract any driver and contribute to a lane change accident. However, semi trucks and 18 wheelers, unlike other vehicles, can weigh 80,000 pounds. Therefore, when a semi truck driver gets distracted, people are much more likely to suffer permanent or fatal injuries than in other types of automobile accidents.
Truck drivers are notorious for driving long hours without stopping to get adequate rest. If you’ve stopped in at a truck stop, you’ve almost certainly seen all the stimulant supplements at the cash register. Those aren’t there for decoration. That’s valuable retail space, and those energy supplements wouldn’t be there if they weren’t selling. Drowsy or tired driving is a problem, and it is a major contributor to improper lane change truck accidents in Florida.
Drunk drivers hurt people all the time. It’s a serious problem in our society. However, a drunk truck driver behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound truck or behind the wheel of a fuel truck can cause catastrophic damage when they improperly change lanes into the drivers next to them. These types of accidents can and do result in serious injury or death to multiple drivers.
Speeding and fast driving endangers everyone on the road, whether you’re driving a semi truck, 18 wheeler, car, or motorcycle. However, the sheer size of a semi truck makes it much more dangerous and uncontrollable at high speeds because these vehicles are not designed to go fast, and they’re certainly not able to stop fast, especially if they’re fully loaded. Therefore, semi trucks can lose control and sway into other lanes at high speeds and cause improper lane change truck accidents.
We’ve all experienced an 18 wheeler or semi truck that is driving aggressively on the highway or interstate. This is a terrifying experience, and the truck driver endangers everyone on the road with this type of behavior. When a truck driver drives too aggressively and quickly changes lanes, sometimes other drivers simply don’t have time to react. As a result, the aggressive truck driver causes an accident due to the aggressive and improper lane change.
When the roads are full of drivers, there is a higher chance that everyone on the road will have to come to a stop. Sometimes, we aren’t given much warning that the cars in front of us are stopped in the middle of the road. Because of the weight of semi trucks and 18 wheelers, they may not be able to stop, or they may feel like they can avoid having to stop by switching lanes. As a result, the truck driver will sometimes quickly switch lanes without checking to see if the lane is clear, and this is a common cause of improper lane change accidents.
Regardless of why you experienced the improper lane change accident, our Florida truck accident lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve. We will go over your truck accident case with you for free and help you determine which people and businesses may be liable, and we can help you move forward with your injury claim.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident in Florida When a Truck Driver Makes an Improper Lane Change?
Truck drivers on Florida road should check to make sure the coast is clear before they change lanes on our highways, roads, and interstates. Accordingly, if a truck driver negligently switches lanes without checking to see if other drivers are in harm’s way, that truck driver could certainly be liable for causing the improper lane change truck accident.
Sometimes, however, it’s not the trucker’s fault. Sometimes, it’s the fault of other crazy drivers on the road. We’ve all seen a crazy driver pull in front of an 18 wheeler or semi truck, giving the truck driver barely enough space to stop or slow down. However, sometimes crazy drivers pull in front of the truck driver, and the truck driver has no choice but to change lanes in order to avoid hitting cars in front of the truck. As a result, the crazy drivers can negligently cause the truck accident. In those cases, the crazy driver may hold a lion’s share of the liability.
If you are the driver that caused the truck to hit you, you may share some of the liability. Just like a person who doesn’t pay attention and slips and falls in a restaurant, drivers can share liability in Florida under the theory of comparative negligence.
For example, if you pulled in front of a semi truck, and the truck hit you because you didn’t leave the truck driver enough space to stop, you may share some of the liability. Let’s say you are found to be 30% liable for the accident. Let’s also say a jury awarded you $100,000 for your damages. In that case, your recovery would be 70% of the total damages, or $70,000, because the total damage award would be reduced by your portion of fault.
How Do We Determine Who Was at Fault for a Truck Accident Involving a Lane Change in Florida?
This question boils down to evidence. In other words, the available evidence will paint a picture of who was at fault. Great evidence and complete evidence would likely paint a clear picture. Shoddy evidence, however, leaves a lot of unanswered questions. For this reason, you need to be sure you seek the help of Florida truck accident attorney that will jump right on your case and begin a thorough investigation as soon as possible. Here is some of the evidence that can be critical in your truck accident case:
Fresh Pictures of the Scene of the Truck Accident
Pictures taken soon after a truck accident are worth a million words. After a truck accident, the evidence will be swept away quickly because we have to get the roads clean for other drivers. Therefore, if a picture is not taken soon after the accident, that valuable piece of evidence for your truck accident injury claim could be lost.
Videos of the Truck Accident from Nearby Businesses or Traffic Cameras
If you did not get photos of the accident before everything was hauled away and cleaned up, there still may be solid visual evidence in the form of video. Traffic cameras are everywhere. Additionally, if you were in a truck accident that occurred near a business, the business may have a security camera that caught the accident. However, these businesses don’t hold on to video forever, and they may delete the video every 30 days or so. Therefore, it’s critical for you and your Florida truck accident attorney to send out letters of preservation and letters requesting camera footage as soon as possible after your truck accident.
Statements from People Who Witnessed the Truck Accident
Eyewitness statements can be the strongest type of evidence. In fact, other than clear pictures or video, eyewitness statements are the best form of evidence. Therefore, if there are any eyewitnesses to your truck accident, it’s critical that you or your attorney get their contact information.
Black Box Data
Trucks are typically have a “black box” somewhere in the vehicle that stores data regarding speed, hours of operation, braking, and other extremely useful information about the use of the truck. This data, however, is not stored for long. Therefore, your Florida truck accident attorney should work to get that data as soon as possible after the crash. That way, you don’t lose access to potentially valuable information.
Accident Reconstruction Experts
Soon after a truck accident is the best time to get an accident reconstruction expert to the scene. As evidence like broken glass and tire marks disappears over time, it becomes more difficult for an expert to determine what happened. This is especially critical in those accidents where there is no other solid evidence available to determine what happened. In these truck accidents, it all boils down to conjecture and estimates, and thus the experts’ information is critical.
Truck Driver's Cell Phone Records
Sometimes, cell phone records can be excellent evidence in a truck accident case to prove distracted driving. Truck drivers cause accidents all the time because they are watching video on their phones or talking on their phones. Therefore, your Florida truck accident lawyer may be able to pull the truck driver’s cell phone records and demonstrate that the truck driver was liable, based upon what the truck driver was doing on the phone at the time of the improper lane change.
Generally, there are several different forms of evidence in a truck accident involving a lane change that could be very useful in your truck accident case. It’s critical that your attorney obtain all the relevant evidence to help demonstrate liability in your case. When the insurance company’s adjuster has a clear picture of the truck driver’s liability, that adjuster is much more likely to give you the money you deserve for your accident. Similarly, when a jury can clearly see that the truck driver was liable for your truck accident, the jury will be much more likely to render a verdict in your favor. Therefore, evidence is critical in a truck accident case involving a lane change.
What Damages Are Recoverable in An Improper Lane Change Truck Accident in Florida?
As with any personal injury case, you may be entitled to many different types of damages. Each truck accident case will vary, depending on the type and severity of injuries a victim suffers. Obviously, if the victim suffers fatal injuries as a result of the truck accident, the value of the case would be much higher than if the victim only suffered sprains and bruises.
In the same way, a truck accident that causes a victim to suffer a brain injury may have a much higher value than an accident involves much less severe injuries. It’s important to properly catalog all your damages to get the maximum value of your truck accident injury claim. Here are some of the more common types of damages you can get compensation for in a Florida truck accident case:
- Medical bills;
- Emergency room bills;
- Cost of nursing and assistance;
- Loss of income due to missed work (in the past and future);
- Permanent injuries and disability;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Physical pain and suffering;
- Psychological pain and suffering;
- Traumatic brain injury; and
- Overall reduced quality of life due to the truck accident.
If you’ve experienced these types of losses as a result of your truck accident, you may be entitled to full compensation for everything you’ve lost. However, before you settle a case and release the truck driver, trucking company, or any defendant from liability, you need to be sure you’re receiving full compensation for your injuries.
What Should I Do After an Accident With A Semi Truck or 18 Wheeler That Was Caused by the Truck Driver’s Improper Lane Change?
After any truck accident, your health and the health of the other drivers should be the most critical concern. Therefore, if you or anyone else may have suffered injuries, it’s important to call 911 and get medical folks to the scene of the truck accident as soon as possible. When severe injuries are involved, seconds can make a tremendous difference.
Additionally, because of the force involved with a truck accident, you should go to the emergency room to make sure you’re OK. Often, the adrenaline from a truck accident can mask the injuries a person has suffered, and the person may not experience the full pain of the injury for a day or more. The more time that passes without an injury being treated, the more likely that injury will cause permanent or severe damage. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, it’s best to seek medical help after an accident involving an 18 wheeler, semi truck, or any other huge commercial vehicle.
After the accident, the insurance folks are going to try to get you to give them a statement. Do not sign anything without an attorney present. Additionally, you should seriously consider speaking with an attorney before you talk to anyone with the insurance company. Their job is to minimize your claim, and the questions they ask are not meant to help you get the money you deserve. Therefore, the best way to protect your rights and the value of your claim is to reach out to a Florida truck accident attorney as soon as possible after your truck accident.