Car Versus Truck Accidents in Orlando, Florida
Commercial trucks, like those commonly known as 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, big rigs, or tractor trailers, play a crucial role in the U.S. economy, especially now that people purchase a majority of items online. Even though big trucks help our economy move forward, they can pose a significant danger in traffic accidents with other drivers on the road.
Collisions between large trucks and cars in Orlando, Florida, often result in serious and catastrophic injuries for everyone involved, especially for the people in the smaller passenger vehicles. Due to the unique nature of accidents involving large trucks compared to those involving only passenger vehicles, the process of obtaining compensation for injuries also differs.
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in a car vs. truck accident, you are likely seeking answers to many questions. Namely, you probably want to know what to do next. In this article, our Orlando truck accident attorneys will endeavor to provide comprehensive answers to five common questions about accidents involving cars and trucks.
Top 5 Car & Truck Accident Questions Answered
Question 1: Why are injuries more severe in truck accidents?
Although any motor vehicle accident can cause severe and life-threatening injuries, commercial vehicle accidents typically result in more serious injuries because of the size and weight of large trucks. The force of these trucks can inflict more damage on other vehicles, even at lower speeds, compared to passenger vehicles.
For instance, an SUV rear-ending your vehicle at 60 mph may cause significant damage and potentially severe injuries. However, a large truck traveling at the same speed is likely to absolutely destroy your car, and thus there is a higher probability of fatal and traumatic injuries. The vehicles often weigh 80,000 pounds and stretch nearly 15 feet into the sky. This is simply no match for your vehicle, whether you drive a sedan or an SUV.
Question 2: Why are large truck accidents more complex than typical car accidents?
While some car accidents involving only passenger vehicles can be complicated, especially when multiple cars are involved, commercial vehicle accidents are almost always more complex due to factors not typically present in passenger vehicle accidents.
Commercial vehicles and large trucks are subject to federal laws and guidelines, as well as state and local traffic ordinances, depending on their height and weight. Consequently, investigating a trucking accident will usually involve researching relevant trucking laws to determine if any violations played a role in causing the accident. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversees rules and guidelines for the trucking industry.
In addition to different rules and laws, trucking accident cases also require different scientific approaches to ascertain the accident's cause. Commercial trucks operate differently than passenger vehicles. Namely, they have larger blind spots; they take longer to stop; and they aren’t as maneuverable. Additionally, commercial trucks have more complex systems, like braking and transmission systems, which often require expert analysis to determine whether they contributed to the truck crash.
Question 3: What evidence is used in a truck crash case?
While many types of evidence used to establish fault in a car accident also apply to large truck accidents, trucking accident cases will usually involve some distinct and unique evidence. This evidence may include information related to the truck, the truck driver, and the cargo.
For example, it's often critical to examine the truck driver's driving history, logbooks, drug and alcohol screenings, health conditions, qualifications, medications, and training. The truck's black box, maintenance records, and repair history should also be analyzed.
The trucking company's records should also be examined, as well as any information about the truck’s cargo and its loading, to determine if the cargo's weight or position contributed to the truck accident. Improper cargo loading is a major cause of trucking accidents.
Question 4: Who is liable for a truck accident?
Liability for a commercial truck accident may fall on one or more parties. Hence, a thorough investigation is often necessary to identify all the factors that contributed to the accident and to determine which parties should be held responsible for paying medical bills and other damages.
Many people could share in liability for a trucking accident. Some of the potentially liable parties in a large truck accident include:
- Truck Drivers: Common causes of truck driver errors include impaired or drugged driving, speeding, inexperience, inadequate training, distracted driving, traffic infractions, and drowsy driving.
- Trucking Companies: Liability may arise from improper truck maintenance, failure to inspect the truck, inadequate driver training, hiring inexperienced or unqualified drivers, insufficient time allowed for trips, and failure to monitor drivers.
- Shippers and Loaders: Overloaded or improperly loaded trucks are more likely to roll over, cause the driver to lose control, or take longer to stop, which may lead to accidents.
- Repair Facilities: These entities can be held responsible for faulty or negligent work.
- Manufacturers: Companies that manufacture trucks or truck parts may be held accountable if their products are defective.
- Government Entities: Negligence in maintaining road conditions can contribute to truck accidents, and the responsible government entity may be held liable for damages.
Question 5: What should I do after an Orlando truck accident?
As with any traffic accident, the best first step is usually to call 9-1-1 to report the crash and get emergency medical assistance. Since trucking accidents often result in serious injuries, victims might not be able to document the accident scene by taking pictures or gathering witness information, but you should do that if you can. Moreover, due to the hazards posed by the vehicles involved and debris on the road, moving around a large truck accident scene can be dangerous.
Your health and safety should be your top priority after a truck accident. It is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Once your condition is stable, contacting an Orlando truck accident attorney is the best step to protect your legal rights. As we’ve talked about, truck accident cases are complex and typically involve multiple parties and insurance providers. These companies have teams of investigators, adjusters, experts, and attorneys to protect their interests. Accordingly, you should have an attorney on your side to fight for you.
The Role of an Orlando Truck Accident Attorney in Filing an Injury Claim
It’s usually a good idea to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after a trucking accident. As we talked about earlier, having someone on your side to protect your legal rights and best interests is often crucial. Although the law does not require you to hire an attorney to file an insurance claim after a truck accident, it is often in your best interest to contact an Orlando truck accident law firm promptly after an accident.
Your Orlando truck accident attorney will know how to preserve crucial evidence necessary for proving fault in the accident. Your attorney can take steps to notify parties to preserve evidence so that it can be subpoenaed later in the case to help prove fault and liability.
Your attorney should be familiar with the various laws related to the trucking industry and how to use those laws to your advantage. An attorney without experience in handling truck accident cases might not have the knowledge, resources, and expertise required to investigate a commercial truck accident and build a strong case for full and fair compensation for all damages, losses, and injuries sustained by the truck accident victims.
Contact Us for a FREE Consultation with a Florida Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an accident involving a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, tractor trailer, or any other commercial vehicle, you should speak with a skilled, experienced, and aggressive Florida truck accident lawyer as soon as possible because you may be entitled to compensation. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on our website, or you can call our Orlando, Florida personal injury law firm today at (321) 352-7588 to schedule your free consultation by phone. When you schedule a consultation at our law firm, you will get a consultation with a truck accident lawyer, not a customer service representative or intake person.
If you need a South Carolina personal injury lawyer, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (843) 638-6590. We have at least one lawyer licensed in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. So, if you’ve been injured in the Southeast, we may be able to help you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
For more information on truck accidents, you can download our free e-book: 10 BIG Questions You Need Answered After a Truck Accident.