Tampa Truck Accident Lawyers Fight for the Rights of Victims and Their Families
Trucks play an indispensable role in our nation’s economy, transporting a wide variety of goods to consumers and businesses around the country. These heavy-duty vehicles are purpose-built to haul large loads for long distances, but their proportions can make them deadly in collisions with smaller passenger cars. According to data collected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Florida ranked third-highest in truck accident fatalities in 2020, with 322, behind only Texas and California. Non-fatal truck accidents still have a high likelihood of causing catastrophic injuries that can lead to massive medical expenses and impact your ability to work.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, RTRLAW’s Tampa truck accident attorneys can help you seek compensation from the liable parties. Meeting with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident protects your legal rights, so you can focus on your healing while your lawyer fights to get you the settlement you deserve. Call RTRLAW’s Tampa office today at (813) 370-0229 or toll free at 1-833-HIRE-RTR (833-447-3787) for a FREE, no-obligation case review with one of our experienced truck accident attorneys.
What Should You Do if You’ve Been Involved in a Truck or Commercial Vehicle Accident?
Because of the size and power of an 18-wheeler, truck accidents may be violent, and victims often suffer catastrophic injuries requiring immediate medical assistance. If you’re involved in a truck accident and injured, call 911 if you are able and follow the instructions of the dispatcher and the responding paramedics. You and other accident victims may be transported to a local emergency room for further treatment. However, if you are not taken for medical care, and it is safe to stay near the accident scene, take these steps to make the insurance claim process easier:
- Call the police right away so that they can investigate the crash and make an accident report.
- Write down the truck driver’s information, including their full name, tractor-trailer number, trucking company name, and their insurance information.
- Ask eyewitnesses for their names and contact information.
- Use your phone to capture photos and video of the crash scene and all the vehicles involved. Take pictures of the name of the trucking company, and of the front and back license plates of the tractor trailer. It is also important to photograph the DOT number of the truck on the side of the truck.
- Call a trusted truck accident lawyer like the ones at RTRLAW, who can provide guidance on what you should do next.
- Be careful making any statements after the accident. Avoid discussing who may be at fault with the police or others. Do not make any statements to the insurance company or accept any settlement offer without consulting a lawyer first.
Accidental misstatements may harm your claim. An experienced personal injury lawyer from RTRLAW can handle most interactions with the insurance companies on your behalf and advise you on what to say in any necessary interviews.
What Types of Truck-Related Accidents Can Occur?
Trucks are susceptible to many of the same types of accidents as cars. However, some accidents are more likely with trucks or are only possible due to their shape and equipment. Sometimes these incidents only involve the truck, but in many cases, if something goes wrong nearby cars are likely to get caught up in the crash, with devastating consequences. Examples of common truck-related accidents include:
- Underride accidents: These often-deadly accidents happen when smaller cars get wedged underneath the semi’s trailer. The vehicle may get dragged for a time before the truck stops, and the roof is frequently crushed or sheared off. Underride bars are required equipment meant to prevent these accidents, but many trucking companies fail to maintain them properly, reducing their effectiveness.
- Lost loads: Although it has become a horror movie trope, driving behind a semi with an improperly secured load can also be a nightmare in real life. Any cargo that breaks loose can cause serious damage to vehicles behind the truck.
- Rollovers: The large trailers of 18-wheelers have the potential to sway and tip, particularly if they are improperly loaded, or there are strong winds. Nearby vehicles can be crushed or pinned during these accidents.
- Jackknife accidents: Jackknifing is a truck-specific accident that occurs when the tires on the truck’s trailer are moving faster than the front tires, causing the truck’s rear to swing forward towards the cab. This can occur due to improper braking, slippery roads, or other situations. When a jackknifed truck is out of control, it may strike other vehicles or pedestrians.
- Blowouts: With so many tires present on a truck, blowouts are a risk. While some blowouts may not cause an accident, they have the potential to cause a loss of steering or control that can be dangerous. Blown tire debris on the road also can pose hazards to motorcyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers.
- Rear-end collisions: Due to the mass of a semi-truck, it can be nearly impossible to stop quickly, especially if the road conditions are slippery, the truck’s brakes are faulty or poorly maintained, or the truck driver is speeding.
What are the Dangers of a Truck Crash?
A negligent truck driver who is speeding, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving while dangerously fatigued, or otherwise operating their semi recklessly can change a victim’s life in a heartbeat. Trucks carry so much force that they can render a car’s safety features nearly useless in collisions, leaving victims gravely injured. Semi-truck crash victims may find themselves facing a long road to recovery while they attempt to heal from:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Back, head, and neck injuries
- Crush injuries
- Head trauma, including Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
- Lacerations and contusions
- Severed limbs
- Soft tissue damage
Sadly, some truck crashes result in fatalities, usually for the passenger vehicle occupants. Survivors often battle trauma-related mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unfortunately, the insurers of trucking companies know the extent of the damages that victims can suffer, and they spend considerable resources fighting these claims because of the large settlements involved.
RTRLAW has 35 years of experience in successfully negotiating claims with insurance companies. While most cases can be resolved out of court, our firm is always prepared to take your case to trial if the insurance company refuses to agree to a fair settlement.
What Compensation May Truck Accident Victims Recover?
The path to recovery for truck accident victims and their families can be long and challenging. Necessary treatment and follow-up care can be time-consuming and expensive, and without your regular paychecks, your financial situation can spiral rapidly. Truck accident claims allow you to recover compensation for your losses so you can begin putting your life back together. Three types of damages can be awarded in truck accident cases.
Economic damages are financial losses experienced by the victim, which may include:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses, including rehabilitation, surgeries, doctor visits, and more
- Loss of earning capacity if you can no longer work due to injuries
- Travel expenses to get to and from your medical appointments
- Non-economic damages compensate for the adverse physical and emotional effects of the crash, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Mental anguish
If the case goes to trial, punitive damages may be awarded by the court if the defendant is found to have acted maliciously or with extreme disregard for the well-being of others. Punitive damages are not awarded for the losses a victim experiences. Instead, they are meant to punish the offender for their actions and serve as a deterrent to others. The burden of proof to obtain these damages is relatively high and the courts rarely award these.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Assist You?
One of the factors that makes truck accidents so complex is the web of potentially liable parties. An in-depth investigation of the accident is necessary to fully identify all the individuals and entities who may have played a role in your injuries. Those at fault may include:
- Truck drivers
- Vehicle manufacturers
- Trucking companies
- The owner of the trailer
- Cargo loaders
- Truck mechanics
- Third parties (pedestrians, bicyclists, other motorists, or motorcyclists on the road)
- Government entities or their employees
We believe you deserve the full compensation possible from all of the responsible parties for your damages. RTRLAW’s skilled truck accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate the crash, including studying the police report, interviewing eyewitnesses, and consulting with reconstruction and medical experts when necessary.
Insurers have teams of lawyers working to minimize the amount they have to pay for accidents. Having a trusted, competent law firm on your side can level the playing field and remove much of the stress and worry from the legal process, allowing you to focus on your health and recovery.
Call RTRLAW in Tampa today for a FREE, no-obligation case review of your truck accident case at (813) 370-0229 or toll free at 1-833-HIRE-RTR (833-447-3787).