Hire a Highly Experienced Tampa, Florida 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer Near You
When you’ve been in an accident with an 18-wheeler semi, or other large commercial truck in Florida – the outcome for your small passenger car, truck, or SUV is usually not very good. You and your passengers may not fare well either due to the momentum caused by the size and speed of that 18-wheeler.
The hauler’s insurance company is going to immediately make you an offer to settle the matter quickly and relatively inexpensively (to them.) Your job is to ensure you and your passengers’ needs are taken care of and the expenses accrued and likely to accrue are also covered.
Never make an agreement with a commercial insurer like this without first talking to an injury and accident attorney.
We have highly experienced truck accident attorneys near you, across the west-central coast of Florida ready to listen to the details of your case and make an evaluation. Our lawyers work on a contingency basis – this means if you don’t win – we don’t get paid.
“Because of the significant weight and mass involved with tractor trailers, accidents involving trucks frequently result in catastrophic injuries or death…” – Erik G. Abrahamson, Senior Partner
Tips for hiring an 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer Near You
Interview questions to help you hire a highly experienced Florida commercial truck accident attorney to handle your injury claim.
If you were severely injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you deserve compensation for your injuries, lost income, and other damages, even if you have pre-existing injuries.
An experienced Florida trucking accident law firm can help you get the compensation you deserve.
However, taking on the regulations and corporate money involved in the commercial trucking industry requires knowledge, experience, and the ability to pursue justice aggressively. So how do you find the right law firm and law firm to handle your Florida 18-wheeler accident case?
FLORIDA TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEY INTERVIEW QUESTION #1:
ask the truck accident attorney about their specific experience handling cases like yours
Commercial truck accident cases pose a complex challenge, even for the most experienced personal injury law firms. Unless a law firm has extensive experience in this area of the law, you might not get the results you deserve.
Establishing fault and proving liability after an 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident requires extensive investigation. A law firm’s ability to uncover evidence and critical documentation can directly affect the outcome of your case. Don’t trust your future to anyone except a highly experienced Florida truck accident law firm.
TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYER INTERVIEW QUESTION #2:
ask the Florida truck accident lawyer for referrals from clients near you they have helped with cases like yours
Before choosing a Florida truck accident law firm to handle your case, ask them for referrals of past clients.
In today’s digital world, past clients have their voices heard through testimonials and online reviews. Check out what past clients have to say about any firm you’re considering. You can even go further and ask if the firm has any past trucking accident clients that would be willing to talk with you.
Law firms can’t reveal client contact information or case details, but sometimes, clients may be willing to share their experiences with you.
18-WHEELER ACCIDENT LAWYER INTERVIEW QUESTION #3:
ask about the firm’s track record with truck accident cases
As important as it is for your law firm to have experience with trucking accident cases, it needs to prove the ability to get results.
Although past achievements won’t necessarily reflect on the potential outcome of your case, you need to know your firm knows how to get results. Law firms cannot reveal the details of most cases, but don’t hesitate to request general information about past case results. You want to see results in the form of both negotiated settlements and court verdicts. It’s important to see both in case your claim has to be decided in court.
FLORIDA 18-WHEELER ACCIDENT ATTORNEY INTERVIEW QUESTION #4:
ask if the law firm has experience taking Florida truck accident cases to trial
Because many trucking injury cases cannot be resolved through settlement negotiations with the insurance company, your truck accident law firm needs a solid track record in court.
Most personal injury law firms prefer to settle their cases whenever possible, but they should still be comfortable going to trial when necessary. Taking any case to court requires litigation experience.
Taking a commercial trucking injury case to court requires direct experience in this type of litigation. Look for a firm that will not hesitate to file a civil lawsuit and fight for you in court.
FLORIDA COMMERCIAL TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYER INTERVIEW QUESTION #5:
ask the law firm if other attorneys refer Florida truck accident cases to them
Finding a truck accident law firm in Florida isn’t difficult. Our state is home to thousands of personal injury law firms. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of those law firms have actual truck accident case experience.
If a client approaches a law firm about taking their trucking injury case, law firms often refer those individuals to more experienced firms. Ask any potential law firm whether they get referrals from other firms for cases similar to yours.
COMMERCIAL TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEY INTERVIEW QUESTION #6:
ask yourself if you feel comfortable with the firm’s legal team
No matter how experienced a truck accident law firm might be—or how many cases they’ve won—you must be comfortable with them. Otherwise, that’s not the right law firm for you.
During your initial consultation, ask which members of the firm will work on your case. Ask to meet these team members and take a moment to talk to each one, if possible. Do they put you at ease? Do they answer your questions and provide knowledgeable answers?
If you feel you’ve been rushed or talked down to, reconsider selecting that firm. You need a law firm and legal team who inspire your confidence, put you at ease, and help you understand what’s going on with your case
FLORIDA TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYER INTERVIEW QUESTION #7:
ask the truck accident attorney what they believe your case is worth
See the average truck accident settlement in Florida. Every injury accident case is unique, and you can’t necessarily determine the potential value of your claim by searching online or using truck accident settlement calculators. Only an experienced law firm can provide a reasonable estimate of your potential truck accident settlement value.
Ask potential law firms what types of damages they will include in your claim. Ask them to estimate your claim’s value and how long it might take to get a settlement in-hand. Finally, ask how the law firm plans to document and support the value of your damages.
A well-documented claim will help maximize the value of your settlement. Being sure your law firm understands how to build your case will help you get the best possible results.
FLORIDA TRUCK ACCIDENT INJURY ATTORNEY INTERVIEW QUESTION #8:
ask law firms how they plan to prove liability in your case
Demonstrating negligence and proving liability isn’t easy in any personal injury case. In a commercial truck accident case, establishing fault and proving liability is exponentially more challenging.
Do not hesitate to ask any firm you interview how they plan to prove liability in your case. Understand that until your law firm has a chance to investigate your case, they won’t have all the details available. But having a general idea of how they typically demonstrate these critical facts will help you make the right choice.
TRUCK ACCIDENT INJURY LAWYER INTERVIEW QUESTION #9:
ask the law firm how they overcome challenges common to trucking accident cases
Law firms face multiple challenges when fighting for a commercial trucking accident victim. Ask potential law firms about the types of challenges they anticipate in your case and how they plan to overcome them.
The right Florida trucking accident firm for you is one that anticipates problems and takes a proactive stance. Learning about any potential challenges your claim might face will also benefit you. You will gain a better sense of timing and set realistic expectations for what you might encounter during the legal process.
FLORIDA 18-WHEELER ACCIDENT LAWYER INTERVIEW QUESTION #10:
ask the attorneys what mistakes you should avoid making
You can quickly tank your own case if you aren’t extremely careful, especially in the hours and days immediately following the accident. An experienced attorney should answer this question with several important cautions.
- DON’T PROVIDE ANY STATEMENTS
You can (and should) provide the basic details of your accident to the police. Beyond that, however, avoid providing statements to anyone else. Be especially cautious of law firms and insurance company representatives related to the trucking company.
They want a statement from you because they can use anything you say to undermine your claim and reduce the amount of your potential settlement.
- DON’T PROVIDE COPIES OF ANY DOCUMENTS
Another common strategy insurers use to undermine valid trucking accident injury claims is requesting copies of your medical bills and related documents. You have no obligation to provide any documents to the insurance company or their law firms.
When you submit a formal claim or file a lawsuit, that information will help support your case. By providing them in advance, you give the insurance company a decided advantage. They can use them in their fight to deny your claim or reduce your settlement value.
- DON’T AGREE TO ANY SETTLEMENTS
Trucking companies and their insurers recognize the potential value of a victim’s injury claim. To minimize their potential payout, they often rush to make a settlement offer as quickly as possible after the accident.
They hope you will fall for this ploy and accept a quick payout. Unfortunately, you may not understand yet the extent of your injuries or how they might affect your future. Once you agree to a settlement, you lose your right to pursue further damages.
- DON’T WAIT TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION
Trucking companies have too much at stake when someone falls victim to their negligence. Valuable evidence sometimes mysteriously disappears. Witness memories fade, and the more time that passes, the less chance you have to build a strong case.
The sooner you talk to a law firm and get them started on your case, the better. The longer you wait to take legal action, the harder it might be for you to negotiate a fair settlement.
18-WHEELER ACCIDENT LAWYER INTERVIEW QUESTION #11:
Does the firm have the personnel and resources nearby needed to effectively and efficiently handle your claim?
With a team of 10+ attorneys and 40+ professional staff members, our firm is fully equipped to handle even the most complex commercial truck accident claims.
18-WHEELER ACCIDENT ATTORNEY INTERVIEW QUESTION #12:
Does the firm operate on a contingency-fee-basis?
At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, your initial consultation is free, and we guarantee that you will not have to pay any legal fees or costs unless we win your case.
18-WHEELER ACCIDENT LAW FIRM INTERVIEW QUESTION #13:
Will someone nearby be available when you need them?
Our Tampa truck accident lawyers are consistently available to you. If you were recently injured or have questions about your rights, we want to hear from you right away.
contact a Tampa, FL truck accident attorney at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk for a free consultation
We understand the complexity of commercial truck and 18-wheeler accident cases. Our team of law firms and legal professionals can go to work immediately, gathering evidence and building the strongest possible case on your behalf. We put our extensive network of resources to work, tackling even the most complex cases.
We offer a free consultation for Tampa trucking accident victims to answer your questions and help you get started with the legal process. You pay no legal fees until we recover compensation for your case. We advocate for our clients, and we will fight to get you the best possible results.
An Overview of Federal Trucking Regulations
When a person is injured in a commercial truck accident, they may mistakenly believe that the claims process will be identical to that of a car accident. However, there are some key differences between car accidents and commercial truck accidents that are important to understand.
Because they are usually hauling cargo interstate, commercial trucks are required to follow regulations set for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations include requirements for truck maintenance, special driver’s licenses, registration and inspections, and logbooks. Violations of these regulations by either the driver or the trucking company responsible for the truck can be considered negligence. They could become the basis of claim if a violation of these regulations led to an accident that caused injury.
Who is Responsible for Your Tampa Truck Accident Losses?
Truck driver negligence is often a contributing factor in a tractor-trailer and 18-wheeler accidents, but in many cases, there will be other responsible parties as well. In legal cases, our investigations frequently reveal that the following parties are to blame:
- Trucking Companies
Sadly, trucking companies sometimes place saving money ahead of saving lives, and often take dangerous cost-cutting measures such as loading trucks beyond their capacity, foregoing adequate driver training, and ignoring the need for routine maintenance and repairs. When trucking companies make these types of poor decisions, we fight aggressively to hold them accountable for victims’ losses.
- Shipping Companies
In some cases, a shipping company or product manufacturer may be responsible for improperly loading a truck’s cargo. Cargo issues – such as unsecured and unbalanced loads – are frequently factors in jackknife accidents and other serious truck collisions.
- Repair and Maintenance Shops
If a brake failure or other mechanical issue caused the accident, a negligent repair or maintenance shop may be to blame. If the trucking company took the truck for regularly scheduled maintenance but the maintenance was performed improperly, the shop may be financially liable for your accident-related injuries and losses.
- Truck Manufacturers
In cases involving truck defects, the truck manufacturer may be liable as well. Examples of defects that can lead to traffic wrecks include defective tires, defective brakes, and defective bed straps for securing cargo.
- Other Responsible Parties
Of course, not all truck accidents are solely caused by truck drivers and truck-related issues. Did another driver make a mistake that caused the truck driver to lose control? Did another vehicle have a tire blowout that led to a pileup involving a tractor-trailer? Did an issue with your airbag cause you additional injuries? These are all questions that we will seek to answer in order to help make sure that we will fight for the largest possible financial recovery for your losses.
IMPORTANT: In Florida, You Can Recover Even if You Were Partially at Fault
Importantly, Florida law allows accident victims to seek to recover damages even if they were partially at fault in the accident. Never assume that you are not entitled to financial recovery. Legal cases are often exceedingly complex, and we have the background, experience, and reputation necessary to try to secure just compensation on your behalf.
What are the Most Common Causes of Florida Trucking Accidents?
Due to their sheer size and immense weight, semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other large commercial trucks are inherently more dangerous than other vehicles on the roads. They are more difficult to maneuver, take longer to stop, and can easily become out of control when something goes wrong.
When you add in the fact that many drivers are inadequately trained and exceed the driving hours permitted by federal regulations, it is no wonder that so many innocent individuals in Tampa and throughout Florida fall victim to trucking accidents every year.
Not Enough Space to Turn or Stop
Because of their size and weight, maneuvering an 18-wheeler around corners and through traffic takes a certain skill from the driver. If a driver encroaches on their turning space when making a right-hand turn – or cuts off their braking space before coming to a stop – an accident may inevitably happen. Because Florida is a Comparative Negligence state – an accident may not be 100% the 18-wheeler driver’s fault, and that may reduce some of the compensation you may seek, as the injured party.
The best way to sort out a fair amount of fault for both parties is to ensure you have proper representation when settlement discussions occur. An experienced Florida 18-wheeler accident lawyer who only works for you is there to help during negotiations.
Truck Accidents Due to Road Conditions
In Florida, 18-wheeler accidents related to weather mostly occur due to excess water on the roads, excessive rain, poor visibility due to fog, or heavy winds. Traveling in dangerous weather conditions may result in the 18-wheeler hydroplaning, changing lanes unexpectantly and possibly sliding into other vehicles causing a serious accident. If you’re injured either from being hit by an 18-wheeler, or because you had to swerve to avoid a more serious accident – you are entitled to care, repair, and in some cases compensation beyond medical care and rehabilitation.
Driver Error in 18-wheeler Accidents in Florida
These large vehicles have a lot of moving parts and a wide variety of rules and regulations that govern their operation within the State of Florida and across the country. Many drivers work diligently to follow the rules and regulations and ensure they’re as safe as they can be on the road. Unfortunately, accidents can happen and drivers do make errors. They may drive for longer than they’re allowed or take substances to keep them awake to ensure on-time delivery. The trucking company may put undue pressure and unreasonable expectations on their drivers to get the cargo in no matter what. These situations can inevitably lead to errors and accidents that can be avoided. As you can see just from the scenarios mentioned, there are many moving parts to an accident case involving driver error. Only an experienced Florida truck accident attorney can help sort out fault and responsibility in these cases to protect your best interest.
Other Florida Truck Accident Causes
Our accident law firm regularly represents victims of injuries and family members of individuals who have been killed in truck accidents caused by many factors, such as:
- Distracted driving (such as texting, reading maps, or eating behind the wheel)
- Driver fatigue
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Falling asleep behind the wheel
- Faulty brakes, tire failures, and other mechanical problems
- Following too closely
- Improper maintenance and inspections
- Inadequate driver training
- Overloading and unsecured loads
- Speeding or driving too fast for weather or road conditions
There are many other possible causes as well. Regardless of the cause, if you have been injured and someone else is to blame, the truck accident attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk will fight vigorously for full and fair financial compensation for your accident-related losses.
Examples of Employer Negligence that Often Causes Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can occur at any time and can result in catastrophic injuries to other motorists. Often times the driver of the truck has acted negligently in causing an accident and can be held liable for any injuries. However, truck accident cases are unique in that it is often the negligence of a driver’s employer that can be responsible for an accident. Employers can be negligent in a number of different ways.
Negligent Hiring Practices
Employers are required to ensure that their drivers have clean driving records and criminal background checks have been reviewed. Employers should not allow drivers on the road who have previously caused accidents. Employers who hire drivers with DUIs on their record, previous history of accidents, and a history of drug and alcohol may be held liable for injuries caused by their drivers.
Inadequate Training or Failure to Train
Employers should ensure that all of their drivers have received proper training before allowing them to operate their trucks. This is especially true for employers that hire inexperienced drivers right after they earn their CDL (Commercial Driving License). Employers have a responsibility to provide adequate training for these drivers and make sure they know how to handle a large vehicle.
Inadequate Vehicle Inspection
Employers are responsible for ensuring that all of the trucks in their fleet are in good working order. Employers must also make sure that all trucks go through their required annual inspection. Failing to inspect things like headlights, taillights, and tires can result in catastrophic accidents.
Failure to Properly Load Vehicles
Employers must make sure that vehicles are properly loaded before they are allowed on the road. If an employer allows a truck to go out with an unbalanced or unsecured load, the consequences can be tragic. Unsafe loads can lead to accidents and if part of the load falls off the truck, this can cause an obstruction in the road for other drivers.
Disregarding Trucking Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has dozens of regulations designed to prevent truck accidents. These regulations include a limit on the number of hours a driver is supposed to be on the road. When employers fail to follow trucking regulations, and an accident occurs, they may be held liable for the resulting injuries.
Commercial Truck Crash Statistics in Tampa / Hillsborough County FL
Crash data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles paints a sobering picture of the trend in frequency and devastation of commercial truck accidents in Tampa / Hillsborough County.
The chart below conveys truck accident crash data from 2015, 2016, and 2017. As you can see, truck accident crashes, injuries, and fatalities are on the rise:
When we break down this data further we see:
- +17% increase in crashes involving commercial trucks from 2015 to 2017
- +75% increase in injuries resulting from crashes involving commercial trucks from 2015 to 2017
- +64% increase in fatalities resulting from crashes involving commercial trucks from 2015 to 2017
The numbers paint a clear picture: Truck accidents occur with great frequency in Tampa and Hillsborough County, and the problem is on the rise. Truck accident injury victims can help hold negligent drivers and trucking companies accountable – and thus prevent future crashes – by pursuing legal claims with the help of an experienced attorney.
Typical Injuries from 18-Wheeler Accidents in Florida
Because these vehicles are so large, an accident with a car or motorcycle can be severe. While we hope for just bumps and bruises, the potential for a permanently catastrophic injury is high. Here are just a few injuries we’ve seen our clients come to us after an accident with an 18-wheeler.
Back, Neck & Spine Injuries
Because many truck accidents result in a passenger vehicle rolling over or being crushed, back, spine, or neck injuries are common. Many of these types of injuries require surgery, extended hospitalization, and rehabilitation. Ensuring you have the necessary medical funds available from a settlement is one way we take care of our clients.
Knee or Foot Injuries
Being trapped in the car can result in an entrapment injury to the legs, causing severe injury to the knees or feet. Because we require these extremities to perform daily functions as we live our lives, ensuring you have the absolute best care to recover as fully as possible is our highest priority.
Head Injuries After 18-wheeler Accidents
At a minimum, a concussion can be debilitating and have long-lasting effects depending upon the severity. When the injured party is hit or runs into an 18-wheeler, the potential for extensive and long-term head injury can be high. From traumatic brain injury diagnosis to a low-grade concussion – brain injuries can be fairly common. As your vehicle is hit – the jarring, spinning, rolling and just severe rocking back and forth can cause a variety of trauma to the brain.
Sample Nearby Tampa Truck Accident Injury Case Results
We have had the privilege of representing trucking accident victims in Tampa for over 30 years. We are proud to have achieved millions in recoveries for our clients. Below you’ll find a couple of examples of truck accident settlements and jury verdicts we’ve obtained for those we represent.
Past results do not guarantee a similar outcome in your case.
Florida Truck Accident Settlement Results
|Initial Settlement Offer||Final Result|
The A&U Difference
What Our Clients Have to Say About Our Personal Injury Work on Google
It was a pleasure to deal with real professionals. Their staff takes the time to do things right. The ‘Big’ law firm did not want to waste their time to even discuss my case after a 5-minute phone consult. I guess it appeared to them that my claim would not be worth millions to them. So on to the next call. The injury attorneys took the time to listen and handled things professionally.
Florida Injury Case Types
The highly-experienced Florida personal injury law firm of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk provides:
- Car accident lawyers in Florida
- Motorcycle accident lawyers in Florida
- Slip & fall lawyers in Florida
- Truck accident lawyers in Florida
- Bicycle accident lawyers in Florida
- Brain injury lawyers in Florida
- Birth injury lawyers in Florida
- Pedestrian accident lawyers in Florida
- Construction accident lawyers in Florida
- Wrongful death lawyers in Florida
- Actos injury lawyers in Florida
- Boating accident lawyers in Florida
- Business interruption insurance lawyers in Florida
- Defective drugs medical device lawyers in Florida
- Dog bite lawyers in Florida
- Drunk driving accident lawyers in Florida
- Insurance disputes lawyers in Florida
- Medical malpractice lawyers in Florida
- Metal hip knee implant lawyers in Florida
- Nursing home abuse lawyers in Florida
- Product liability lawyers in Florida
- Work injury / workers comp lawyers in Florida