Tampa Truck Accident Lawyer
“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
A truck accident can change your life in the blink of an eye. In order to fully recover, you may need surgery and extensive long-term medical treatment. It is also possible that you will never truly be the same. You may lose significant income, and you may never be able to return to your old job. You may be forced to live your life in pain, and your relationships may suffer as a result of your traumatic experience.
If you or a loved one has suffered because of a crash with an 18-wheeler or other commercial truck, it’s in your best interest to speak with an experienced Tampa truck accident lawyer about your case. Here are a handful of important consideration to keep in mind as you choose a truck accident law firm to handle your claim:
- Does the firm have specific experience with commercial truck accidents? At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we focus our practice exclusively on injury and death claims, and roughly 80 percent of our cases involve truck accidents and other vehicle collisions.
- Does the firm have a history of securing favorable results through settlement negotiations and at trial? Our lawyers have secured numerous settlements and verdicts, and have secured compensation for thousands of clients.
- Does the firm have the personnel and resources 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.
- 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.
- Will someone 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.
Hiring a truck accident lawyer to pursue justice after a crash is a big choice. If you aren’t quite ready to speak with an attorney about your case, we understand, and we invite you to keep reading to gain a better understanding of what the truck accident claims process looks like in Florida.
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 Truck Accident Losses?
Truck driver negligence is often a contributing factor in 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:
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.
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.
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 a 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 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.
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.
How Do You Prove Who is at Fault in a Tampa Truck Accident Case?
Following an accident involving a semi, one of the first steps toward securing compensation is to identify the party (or parties) that are responsible for your injuries. This requires a determination of the cause of the accident – to determine the cause, you need to collect as much evidence as possible.
When you hire our Tampa truck accident attorneys, we will promptly conduct a thorough investigation so that we can identify the responsible parties and establish your claim for compensation. The types of evidence that we may be able to use to prove your case include:
- A report prepared by an expert accident reconstructionist
- Any photos you were able to take at the scene of the accident
- Damage to your car, the truck that hit you, and any other vehicles involved
- Road and weather conditions
- Skid marks
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- The police report
- Traffic camera footage
- Your medical records
If the evidence suggests that someone else is responsible for your injuries or your loved one’s death, our attorneys will fight aggressively to pursue the compensation that you may deserve.
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 a qualified attorney.
Sample 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.