Tampa Truck Accident Attorneys
Trucking Accidents in Florida
There were 3,116 commercial vehicle accidents reported in Hillsborough County in 2018, according to Florida’s Integrated Report Exchange System (FIRES). Tampa is the seat of Hillsborough County and, as a thriving metropolitan area, is unfortunately often a location for traffic accidents involving tractor-trailers, big rigs, and other large commercial vehicles.
If you or someone you love was injured in a collision with a large truck, you can learn about your right to compensation from the Tampa tractor-trailer accident lawyers at Dismuke Law. With our knowledgeable team to offer insight and guidance, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands. Get in contact with our experienced attorneys who fully understand personal injury law.
To find out how we can go to bat for you in this important matter, call (863) 292-6922. Your consultation is free.
Compensation in a Truck Accident Claim
Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to truck accidents. Only if you are seriously injured can you pursue financial compensation from the at-fault party, as opposed to recovering money from your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. If you sustained catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one in a Tampa truck accident, our attorneys can work to secure the financial compensation you need from the truck driver, trucking company, or other responsible party.
Compensation in a tractor-trailer accident claim or lawsuit may cover:
- Medical expenses, including ongoing care or treatment
- Lost wages and benefits, including loss of future earnings
- Property damage, including damage to your vehicle or other property
- Emotional trauma, such as pain and suffering
- Punitive damages, in rare cases
The Responsibility of the Trucking Company
Most motorists know the laws that they and commercial truck drivers must follow. There are also the added regulations that those in the trucking industry face. However, it’s also imperative to recognize the responsibility of the trucking company to ensure the truck driver and others on the road are safe.
If the trucking company fails to implement safety protocols for drivers or encourages them to violate regulations, they are negligent and may be subject to legal action.
Maintaining the Fleet
In the event the trucking company owns the trucks within its fleet, the owner of the company must ensure adequate maintenance on all aspects of the truck. The trucking company must check the:
- Steering system
- Tow hitch
- And more
If any part of the truck is worn, the company must replace or repair the problem before the driver leaves the warehouse to prevent an accident from occurring. When a lack of maintenance causes a serious crash involving the large commercial truck, the aftermath can be devastating, and it is the company that is responsible.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates how trucking companies and drivers must operate with the safety of the general public in mind. Trucking companies must ensure all employees, trucks, and equipment abide by federal regulations, including weight restrictions, Hours of Service, and more. The moment the trucking company violates a federal or state regulation, negligence occurs, and injuries can ensue.
The Florida Highway Patrol states that axles determine the maximum gross weight of a truck. On a tractor semi-trailer, the maximum total weight of a single-axle truck cannot exceed 22,000 pounds. Four-axle trucks cannot exceed 73,721 pounds. For all rigs, the maximum gross weight allowed regardless of axles is 80,000.
The truck, the trailer, and the cargo all dictate the total weight, and that is the number used when considering maximum allowable weight. Should the total exceed the weight allowed by the state, it not only becomes a matter of legality, but it also presents a danger to all other motorists on the road.
When a tractor-trailer exceeds legal weight limits, it becomes more difficult for the driver to control on sharper turns and steep downgrades. The result is an increased potential for the truck to crash into another vehicle on the road. The added weight makes it challenging for the trucker to stop their vehicle.
In a truck accident caused by weight limit violations, the responsible parties can include:
- The truck driver for not checking to ensure the truck met restrictions
- The truck company for allowing the truck driver to travel with the overloaded truck
- The employee responsible for loading the trailer with cargo
Hours of Service
Truck drivers must follow the regulations regarding the number of hours they can drive a truck and work before they must take a break. These regulations prevent employees from driving their truck while fatigued—which can inhibit control of their vehicle, decision-making, and judgment.
The hours in which truck drivers can work vary depending on the type of truck. However, general rules say that truck drivers must not drive longer than 11 hours following 10 consecutive hours off the clock.
The truck driver may not drive beyond the 14th total hour of work following 10 consecutive hours off the clock. If the driver clocks in at 7:00 a.m. and works around the warehouse, and then begins to drive at 12:00 p.m., he or she cannot drive longer than 9 hours as he or she has already spent 5 hours on the clock.
A driver who operates beyond the Hours of Service regulations can cause significant damage to other drivers when their drowsiness creates problems on the road. For instance, a fatigued driver may swerve between lanes and make erratic movements, putting smaller passenger vehicles in the vicinity at risk.
The truck owner must adequately perform maintenance on his or her vehicle—no matter if the owner is an individual or company. Proper maintenance means taking the following steps:
- Checking and changing brakes before travel
- Checking and changing tires before travel
- Checking and repairing steering system before travel
- Checking and repairing tow hitch before travel
If something goes wrong with a vehicle due to a lack of maintenance and a crash occurs, the owner of the truck is subject to liability.
At Dismuke Law, we recognize how busy the roads and highways of Florida can be with large commercial vehicles. We also know that when negligence exists, crashes involving these large trucks can be devastating. As such, our Tampa truck accident lawyers stand ready to help those injured in tractor-trailer accidents pursue compensation from the responsible party.
Get the Help You Need Today
It’s imperative to recognize how a trucking company is negligent in the event of a truck accident. Holding them accountable is critical to pursue compensation for any damages you suffer in a catastrophic collision.
Our Tampa truck accident lawyers are ready to help you. At Dismuke Law, you and your best interests stand atop our priority list, and we’ll go the extra mile to safeguard your rights to justice.
“I worked with Dismuke Law and have been extremely pleased with my experience. Dave was always kind and understanding of my situation. He and his staff worked hard for me and always did what was in my best interest. I would definitely recommend him to anyone who needs representation.”
- Rena S.
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.
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