Florida has a prevalent truck accident record. While truck accidents are common all over the United States, Florida is among the nine states with half of the fatal truck crashes. In most collisions, drivers and occupants of smaller vehicles are the most affected, suffering various losses. Some casualties are from severe injuries and catastrophic injuries. This is why it is vital to hire a truck accident lawyer at VG Law to help you get the compensation you need. We'll examine Florida truck accident statistics, the causes, and how to stay safe on the road.
Year in year out, Florida remains a consistent contributor to truck accident fatalities in the United States. Compared to commercial truck accidents in other states like Texas and California, Florida's semi-truck accident rate is higher than the national average.
Every 16 minutes in the United States, a person dies in a collision with a large truck. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles 2017 report, nearly 32,000 accidents involved truck drivers. Out of that number, there were 27 fatalities, 57 incapacitating injuries, and 1,053 people suffered other injuries.
The most affected people in trucking accidents are passenger vehicle occupants. This is because trucks are 20-30 times more giant in size than smaller cars. They also have undercarriage clearance, meaning smaller vehicles can get trapped underneath.
Furthermore, Florida car accident statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety show that most truck collisions happen in rural areas. In South Florida, motor vehicle accidents of this nature are on the high side. On the state's Atlantic Coast, Interstate 95 receives over 300,000 drivers daily.
The high amount of traffic is a contributor to Florida truck accidents. The northbound stretch between Miami-Dade and Broward Counties sees an increased number of traffic accidents. The NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) shows that 1.73 fatal accidents occur per mile from Miami Exit 1A through Browards Deerfield Beach exit.
When you move to Interstate 10, the fourth-longest highway in the U.S., the data is also not encouraging. It is one of the deadliest roads on the FARS list, recording about 278 deaths annually. Lastly, the Florida Turnpike, an 11-county stretch, is another dangerous area for truck accidents. Speeding is always a problem on the road, as well as roadway crashes.
Trucking companies are a basic necessity as they help convey goods and other essentials from one part of the country to another. It is why truckers are always on the road. The time spent traveling interstate by truck drivers increases their chances of vehicle accidents.
Here, we look at some of the common causes of Florida truck accidents.
Often, you can trace a vehicle crash involving a semi-truck or passenger car to distracted driving. It takes a distracted driver about three seconds to crash. Typical distractions include eating, making phone calls, or changing radio stations. Taking one's eyes off the road for a second is enough to cause a collision. Thus, truck drivers must keep their eyes on the road at all times.
Driving a semi-truck or tractor-trailer under the influence of drugs or alcohol is an offense in Florida. The state's law provides that drivers must operate their vehicles with less than .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, it halves the number for commercial drivers who must operate with less than .04% BAC. Truck drivers fall under the latter category. Anyone caught driving impaired would need truck accident lawyers' services to mitigate the legal fallout.
As mentioned earlier, truckers are always on the road. It often leads to lack of sleep and inadequate rest, which causes traffic accidents. When tired, drivers have slower reflexes, trouble concentrating, slower reaction time, and fall asleep while driving. Thus, they must follow the mandatory rest periods stipulated by the Florida Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Drivers who break the FMCSA rules will be liable for negligence. In the event of a crash, they will pay compensation to truck accident victims. Find out more from a truck accident attorney at VG Law.
Most truck drivers would get a speeding conviction at least once in the course of their career. No matter the type of vehicle, speeding is dangerous and a common cause of Florida truck accidents. A fully-loaded trailer needs 525 feet to stop when traveling at 65 miles per hour. That is roughly the length of two football fields. Under the same condition, a passenger car needs 316 feet to stop. Hence, truckers must give adequate space between vehicles and maintain the posted speed limit.
Other causes of truck accidents are poor vehicle maintenance, inadequate training and hiring by the truck company, and faulty auto parts. At other times, the negligence of other drivers on the road can cause the accident. In such an instance, the smaller vehicle driver will be liable, but the truck driver should still consult an experienced personal injury attorney.
Truck accidents like all traffic collisions are avoidable if drivers follow the road's rules. Safety tips for truckers and passenger vehicle drivers include:
Drivers must at all times follow these safety tips and all traffic laws to avoid fatal crashes and adverse legal consequences.
According to the FMCSA, in 2018, there were 885 large truck occupant fatalities, a 1-percent increase from the 878 fatalities in 2017. 84 percent of these occupant fatalities were drivers of large trucks, and 16 percent were passengers in large trucks. The number of deaths depends on the degree of injuries suffered by truck accident victims.
Common truck injuries include:
A truck accident injury can take months or years to heal, and some people never fully recover. It takes a physical, financial, and emotional toll on the victim. It's one of the reasons crash victims get compensated for mental anguish, as well as pain and suffering. If you are a victim of a Florida truck accident, a skilled truck accident attorney can get you the maximum compensation.
Depending on each case's circumstances, different people can be liable for damages following a truck accident in Florida. The list of potential defendants is as follows:
To determine responsibility, the police and insurance company adjusters carry out a detailed investigation of the crash scene. Commercial truck companies depend on their insurers to settle victims. Drivers will also pay from their insurance coverage or out-of-pocket if they don't have one. Remember that you shouldn't accept blame following a crash, and consult truck accident attorneys immediately.
There are several types of monetary compensation available for Florida truck accident victims. Generally, settlements are divided into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are what you can easily calculate to a particular dollar amount.
Non-economic damages are not easily quantifiable. They account for more subjective losses like:
Several factors influence the calculation of non-economic damages. The court and insurance companies decide after considering the following factors:
In some cases, Florida courts award punitive damages. This happens when there is evidence of gross negligence on the part of the truck driver. The court uses it to punish at-fault drivers for their reprehensible character and to deter other road users from doing the same.
If a victim dies, their estate can bring a wrongful death claim to receive compensation for their loss. No truck accident lawyer can guarantee how much you will receive following a truck accident. However, they will look at the case's facts and arrive at an acceptable settlement sum.
At VG law, we understand that a truck accident can jeopardize not only your health but your general wellbeing. It would be best if you did not suffer because of another person's carelessness. Thus, you deserve the best representation and the maximum settlement.
We will thoroughly investigate the accident, gather evidence, eyewitness statements, and expert opinion. We will also handle all the communication with your insurance company and represent you during all negotiations. Furthermore, we believe in getting you the justice you deserve and will review your case without a consultation fee. Contact us today to get started.