Two cars drove into a stalled semi-truck on I-75 early Wednesday, January 9, 2019. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the driver of the semi got out of his truck which stalled partially on the shoulder and partially in the far-right lane of the freeway, to put flares out to warn others.
According to a news report, before that happened, a van slammed into a Sentra that has slowed to avoid hitting the semi. The van drove the Sentra into the side of the trailer and wedged between the trailer and the cement barrier that made up the guard rail. The van then careened into to the back of the trailer. Tragically, the driver of the van died, and three passengers in the Sentra—including a 9-month-old girl—were seriously injured.
At the time of this report, the baby was fighting for its life and was at the same hospital as her mother who was one of those injured in the crash.
We are deeply saddened to hear of this crash and sincerely hope for the best possible outcome for all involved.
Florida Semi-Truck Accidents
When semi-trucks are involved in accidents, it often involves high damage and serious injury. This is primarily due to the size and mass of the semis. A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 lbs. fully loaded. Evan at rest, this can be problematic for a vehicle that weights around 3,000 to 4,000 lbs.
According to the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration, an accident involving a large commercial truck was significantly more likely to result in serious injury or death than when smaller vehicles collide. The study also finds that in 2016, when a large truck and passenger vehicle crash resulted in a fatality, 83 percent of the time, the fatality was someone other than the truck driver.
This underscores the risk of death and serious injury motorists are subjected to when traveling among large commercial trucks like tractor-trailers.
Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents
In another study by the FMCSA, certain factors were linked to causes of large commercial truck accidents. The study reviewed over 900 crashes involving semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles and found the following were critical factors in these crashes:
- Brake problems
- Traffic flow interruption (congestion, previous crash)
- Prescription drug use
- Traveling too fast for conditions
- Unfamiliarity with roadway
- Roadway problems
- Required to stop before crash (traffic control device, crosswalk)
- Over-the-counter drug use
- Inadequate surveillance
When it came to comparing fault between the large commercial truck drivers and drivers of passenger vehicles, another study by American Trucking Association found that 56 percent of the time, the passenger driver was primarily at fault. The study suggests that this is because of the training, regulations and experience of the truck drivers.
What to do if Involved in a Crash with a Semi-Truck
The first thing is to be safe. This often means staying in your vehicle, if possible and practical, with your seatbelt on. This is because of the risk of secondary impacts which are more likely on divided highways and freeways.
The next thing to do once you have been told be authorities its safe to exit your vehicle, is to get as much information as you can regarding the at-fault driver. If it’s a truck driver, then get the name of the driver and the trucking company. Also, get pictures if possible but only if doing so won’t put you at risk of further injury.
Of course, if you are too injured to do this, then you need to focus on getting treatment and then getting well. Eventually, the focus will change to the financial losses that one encounters when involved in an injury accident.
You need to talk to an attorney when you are able. This doesn’t mean you have to hire one yet, but almost all personal injury firms will offer free consultations and then only collect a fee out of your settlement or award. An attorney can advise you of your rights and evaluate your case.
Contact a Florida Auto Accident Lawyer
Always contact an attorney after any crash involving a serious injury or loss of a loved one. RHINO Lawyers is the powerful, results-driven law firm, that takes Insurance Companies and Bullies “head on!”
Any Florida truck accident lawyer can tell you that all truck accident cases are very complex cases and there are often multiple parties involved including sophisticated insurance companies.
Anyone injured in a truck accident in Florida may contact us for a free consultation. Our legal team will offer you advice to help you get the compensation you deserve.