Truck Accident Lawyers in Lakeland
Injured in a Tractor-Trailer Accident? Call Dismuke Law!
Tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, tanker trucks, big rigs, garbage trucks, dump trucks – these vehicles are immense, some weighing up to 80,000 pounds or even more with oversize vehicle permits. When they are involved in traffic accidents with cars or light trucks, the smaller vehicles almost always sustain more damage. The results are even more devastating if motorcyclists, pedestrians, or cyclists are involved. A large truck can literally crush another vehicle and its occupants, causing catastrophic or fatal injuries.
If you were involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer or any large truck, do not let a greedy insurance provider or trucking company undervalue your claim or deny you compensation. Work with a Lakeland truck accident lawyer at Dismuke Law and pursue the full financial compensation to which you are entitled.
Types of Trucking Accidents
Truck accidents are some of the most catastrophic that can occur and often leave those involved in the crash enduring significant injuries. Unfortunately, these types of crashes come in many different forms—many coming because of negligence. Some of the most common types of truck accident include:
A jackknife accident is when a truck skids and the trailer folds to create an angle like that of a folding pocket knife. Jackknifing occurs because of equipment failure, inability to brake appropriately, inclement weather, or overloaded cargo.
Whenever a large commercial truck takes a sharp turn or has an imbalanced trailer, there’s a possibility that specific situations can cause the truck to rollover. Similarly, overcorrecting the truck after swerving can result in the trailer using momentum to bring the whole rig to its side.
Blind Spot Accidents
Large commercial trucks often have a sign on their trailer, claiming, “if you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you.” These signs are not just fun warnings truckers stick on the rear of the trailer—it’s the truth. Large trucks have significant blind spots making it nearly impossible to see motorists. When truck drivers fail to check before merging lanes, they increase the span of that blind spot. With multiple lanes and vehicles on the road, this is one situation in which crashes occur.
Lost Load Accidents
Some trucking companies and truck drivers fail to check their trucks before traveling. If the company overloads the trailer or the hitch attaching the trailer to the truck is faulty, there’s a possibility a steep incline can cause the trailer to disconnect. As a result, those behind the lost trailer risk crashing and sustaining significant injuries.
Accident Reconstruction to Identify the Cause of Your Truck Accident
To recover economic and non-economic damages through a third-party truck accident insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, you must prove fault (legal responsibility). Our Lakeland truck accident attorneys often work with investigators and accident reconstruction specialists to determine the cause of a collision and then build a clear, compelling demonstration of this that can hold up in negotiations or in court.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
In our experience, truck accidents may be caused by:
- Overloaded trucks
- Improperly balanced cargo
- Unsecure truck cargo
- Defective truck parts
- Poorly maintained tractor-trailers
- Fatigued truck drivers
- Distracted truck operators
- Drunk driving
- Dangerous roadways
About Trucking Industry Regulations and Requirements
Truckers are required to follow legal regulations that are in place to increase safety throughout the industry. Most trucking industry regulations are established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the United States Department of Transportation. Trucking industry regulations aim to combat common causes of truck crashes, such as truck driver fatigue and overweight cargo.
Some trucking regulations include:
- Hours of service regulations — Hours of service regulations are rules that place limits on the time a truck driver can spend on the road each day. Truck drivers can only drive for a maximum of 11 hours per day, after 10 consecutive hours off duty. They are prohibited from driving any time after they have been on duty for 14 hours. Drivers must take periodic rest periods during their time on duty. Note: Hours of service regulations are suspended as of March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Weight limits — Weight limits for commercial trucks differ between states. In Florida, the weight limits vary depending on other specifications of a vehicle. The regulations are established by Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
- Black boxes — Black boxes are a device that is required to be installed in commercial trucks. Also known as electronic control modules, black boxes collect data on every aspect of a truck’s operations. Information on speed, acceleration, braking, steering wheel use, and other functions are recorded on a truck’s black box and can offer insight into what happened before a truck accident occurred.
The records kept in compliance with these regulations can be used as evidence in your truck accident case to identify potential safety violations.
Guidelines and Rules of the Road for the Trucking Industry
Drivers and the companies they work for have specific regulations they must follow that cover everything from the number of hours a driver can log during a particular time to driver behavior and training. The guidelines set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) must be followed and in part include:
- Complying with all local traffic laws
- Stopping at weigh stations
- Limitations on the number of hours a driver can drive during a given time
- Restrictions against driving under the influence or while tired
- Proper accounting of hours in a driver’s log
- Correct loading of the truck and trailer
- Avoiding overloading the vehicle or exceeding the weight limit
What Happens After a Truck Accident?
Trucking accidents are handled differently from car accidents. The primary difference is that trucking companies often have staff and legal counsel on the scene when a crash occurs. This puts victims of trucking accidents at a disadvantage; unless you quickly hire an experienced attorney to protect your rights.
Law Enforcement Investigation
When trucking accidents occur law enforcement will complete their own investigation. Under Florida law, with few exceptions, the Traffic Crash Report or Traffic Homicide Report and statements that were taken by law enforcement are not admissible at trial. However, the report will contain valuable information.
Insurance Company Investigation
In some cases, the insurance company that represents the trucking firm will visit the scene of the crash and collect information. They will often take photos and statements from witnesses. Their claims adjusters are trained to focus on information that limits their liability. They will often seek to obtain the statement of the injured party. Do not give a statement to the trucking companies insurance company without first consulting a qualified attorney.
Trucking Company Investigation
The corporation that owns and operates the truck will often send their lawyers to the scene of trucking accidents. They may collect evidence at the scene. Their job is to protect the trucking company from liability. Do not give a statement to the trucking companies lawyers without first consulting a qualified attorney.
Your Attorney's Investigation
Your attorney can also investigate the accident and make sure that the driver who harmed you was operating in compliance with all state and FMCSA regulations. The sooner you act, in hiring a qualified lawyer, the better chance significant evidence does not go undiscovered.
These days video surveillance cameras are everywhere, including local businesses and traffic monitoring stations as well as red light cameras. Some video surveillance is on a short recording loop (often thirty days, or less) and is recorded over if not collected. Swift action is the key to success in compensating victims. Don’t expect the insurance company or their attorneys to share information that hurts their case with you.
Hire a Lakeland Truck Accident Attorney
The best way to protect your rights after trucking accidents is to contact a personal injury attorney familiar with the trucking industry. If you have been injured or suffered losses due to negligence, contact us to learn more about your options and to speak with an attorney familiar with state and FMCSA regulations governing the trucking industry.
The path to fair compensation begins with an initial consultation with an attorney at Dismuke Law. We can talk to you about the circumstances surrounding your accident, explain your options, and help you make the right choice about pursuing a claim or lawsuit.
Decades of Experience
Dave has dedicated 15 years and a significant portion of his practice to auto accidents and has well-trained staff in place to help you.
We Treat Clients with Excellent Personal Service, Respect & Dignity
Our core belief is that every detail must be studied, that every adversary must be out prepared and outworked and that every client must be treated like they are family.
Personal Injury is All We Do
Dave is a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer and focuses his practice on automobile accidents.
Extremely professional lawyer!- Kathleen J.
I highly recommend their services.- Travis S.
Always professional and very helpful.- Christine H.
Dave is very caring and attentive to his clients.- Erica C.
There is no praise high enough for Dave Dismuke.- HMP.
$10 Million Judgment - Polk County
Judgment of $10 million for a client due to injuries sustained in an auto accident.
$7.25 Million Jury Verdict - Polk County
Polk County jury awards judgment for wrongful death case.
$1.1 Million Settlement - Hillsborough County
Wrongful death auto accident settlement for $1,100,000.
$800 Thousand Auto Accident Settlement - Hillsborough County
Attorney David C. Dismuke negotiates a settlement in disputed causation surgery.
$754 Thousand Auto Accident Settlement - Hardee County
Attorney David C. Dismuke obtains a verdict in Hardee County.