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Tampa Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer

Tractor trailers are huge and complex piece of machinery. They can be in excess of 70 feet long, and they can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. On dry pavement, a fully loaded tractor trailer is going to take 20 to 40 percent more pavement to come to a complete stop than a passenger vehicle. When roads are wet, stopping distances increase significantly. If the front end of a fully loaded tractor-trailer impacts with the rear end of a stopped passenger vehicle that weighs perhaps 4,000 pounds at even just 45 mph, that passenger vehicle is going to be pulverized.

The most recent ascertainable large truck accident fatality statistics are from 2016. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 3,986 people died in large truck crashes in that year. Passenger vehicle drivers and occupants comprised 66 percent of those fatalities. About 17 percent were occupants of the trucks themselves, while about 16 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists. Aside from those fatalities, about 88,000 other individuals were injured, many of them severely or catastrophically.

Where Do These Crashes Occur?

As per the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, about 59 percent of all large truck crashes occur on U.S. highways like U.S. 92 or U.S. 41. About 19 percent of them occurred on freeways and interstate highways while the balance of them occurred on state highways, county roads and minor roads. Driver error is a common cause or contributing factor in most accidents involving tractor-trailers. Some of the more common scenarios follow:

  • Speeding and reckless driving. Like any other drivers who fail to follow the rules of the road, truck drivers put other drivers and their passengers in danger. Speeding, abrupt lane changes and following a vehicle ahead too closely are some of the leading causes of tractor-trailer crashes.
  • Distracted driving like texting, talking on a cell phone or inputting data into a GPS while driving.
  • Equipment issues. Worn tires and brakes that have not been replaced or repaired affect a tractor-trailer driver's ability to come to a complete stop.
  • Drowsy or fatigued Drivers. Hours of service rules are in place. Given their tight schedules and the fact that they're paid on a per trip basis, many drivers ignore these rules or falsify records in connection their actual hours of service.
  • Improper Loading. Load shifts are known dangers that can cause a truck to roll over or jackknife. The driver then has no control over the vehicle.

Common Tractor-Trailer Crash Injuries

Simple physics tell us that if a tractor-trailer is involved in a crash with a passenger vehicle, far more damage will be caused to the passenger vehicle than the tractor-trailer. Here are some examples of common injuries suffered by victims of tractor-trailer crashes:

  • Traumatic brain injuries like concussions or even skull fragments piercing the brain. Traumatic brain injuries can be permanent or even cause death.
  • Spinal cord injuries. A partial tear of the spinal cord can result in paraplegia. A complete tear can result in quadriplegia.
  • Amputations that might be traumatic or out of medical necessity.
  • Multiple fractures requiring surgery. These injuries almost always carry a level of permanency with them.
  • Organ damage. These types of injuries often require surgery with a likelihood of permanency.
  • Burns that cause extreme pain, suffering, muscle and nerve damage and permanent disfigurement.
  • Wrongful death as a direct and proximate cause of the occurrence.

Who Can Be Held Liable?

Determining what individual or company is liable in a tractor-trailer crash can be confusing. Everybody will be standing around with one hand in their pocket holding onto their money while pointing at each other with the other hand. Here are some of the parties who might be held liable in a tractor-trailer crash:

  • A careless and negligent truck driver and his employer through vicarious liability.
  • The cargo loader if the truck was overloaded or improperly loaded.
  • The person or entity who provided maintenance services on the truck.
  • The manufacturer of the truck or a component part on it.

The Insurance Company's Investigation

Don't be surprised if there is an insurance investigation team at the scene of a crash before the mess is even cleaned up. The insurer's objective is to shift some or all of the liability over onto the injured victim while the evidence is still fresh. Don't expect that team to note any evidence at the scene that's favorable to you. Evidence can disappear, recollections of events can get fuzzy and witnesses can vanish into thin air. That's why you need your own investigative team working for you as soon as possible after the crash.

Tampa Tractor Trailer Truck Accident Lawyer

Don't give any kind of statement to the opposing insurer. Florida law doesn't require you to do that, and it will only try to use your own words against you in the future. Contact us instead for a free and confidential consultation and case review. If you retain us to represent you, not only will you have your own investigative team, but you'll also have aggressive, effective and successful Tampa tractor-trailer accident lawyer who wants to maximize your recovery. Once you retain us, it's not going to cost you a penny to get us started on your case. That's because we take tractor-trailer accident cases on a contingency fee basis. No legal fees at all are due unless we obtain a settlement or verdict on your behalf.

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