As an economic hub of Florida’s west coast, Tampa sees a lot of commercial truck traffic. With so many tractor-trailers, semis, and other big rigs on area roads and highways, the Tampa Metro reports thousands of truck accidents each year.
Large commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 fully loaded, making them much larger than most other vehicles. As such, big commercial trucks can cause devastating accidents that result in catastrophic, life-threatening injuries to those in small passenger vehicles.
If you suffered severe injuries or lost a loved one in a truck accident, you may obtain compensation from the truck driver, the truck owner, and possibly other parties. The complexity of truck accident claims, however, requires specialized knowledge and skills.
The Tampa truck accident attorneys at Apex Law have many years of experience helping people who suffered injuries or losses in a truck accident. We will evaluate your claim and advise you of your options for pursuing compensation. We will also thoroughly investigate the accident and hold all responsible parties accountable. Our attorneys can help you get everything you need to realize as full of a recovery as possible. Contact us today at (813) 444-5212 for your free consultation.
Why Choose Apex Law for Your Tampa Truck Accident Claim
Our Tampa personal injury law firm’s founding partners, attorneys Jeff Constantinos and Chris Castillo, have more than 20 years of collective legal experience. We established Apex Law believing that everyone deserves effective, zealous representation, and we will fight hard to get the maximum compensation possible.
Other aspects that set our firm apart include:
- As a small practice, we can dedicate more attention to you and your case. When you hire us, you will never feel like a number.
- Even though we are small, we have the extensive resources and experience necessary to handle the most complex cases efficiently.
- We understand what you are going through, and you can rely on us for compassionate, personalized representation throughout each step of the process.
- Our attorneys have gained reputations as tenacious negotiators and fierce litigators. We aren’t afraid to go to court and fight for you, and you can trust we will always have your best interests at heart.
- Our lawyers have received dozens of five-star client reviews, awards, and honors from our peers. We pride ourselves on our professionalism and service, and we always make ourselves available to promptly address your questions and concerns while providing regular updates on your case.
Apex Law offers free consultations for injured clients, and our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis so you won’t pay us anything upfront to represent you. Contact us today for a no-cost evaluation of your claim and trustworthy advice regarding your options.
What Are the Types and Causes of Truck Accidents in Florida?
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), large trucks contributed to 2,426 crashes in the Tampa area in one recent year. Of those truck accidents, 847 resulted in injuries, and 27 resulted in fatalities.
Truck accidents can occur for various reasons, but large commercial trucks more commonly cause certain accidents:
- Rear-end collisions. Rear-end accidents involving trucks often occur when a truck driver fails to maintain a safe following distance or cannot stop in time. Trucks need far more distance to stop than passenger vehicles, and speeding, distracted driving, or driver fatigue could cause rear-end collisions.
- Jackknife accidents. Jackknifing happens when a truck’s trailer swings out to the side, forming a sharp angle with the truck’s cab. This typically occurs when the truck’s wheels lock up, causing the driver to lose control. Sudden braking, slippery road conditions, or equipment failure can cause jackknife accidents.
- Rollover accidents. Rollover accidents involve a truck tipping over onto its side or roof. These accidents can occur when a truck takes a turn too quickly, encounters a sharp curve, or the loading crew doesn’t evenly distribute the cargo’s weight. Rollovers can cause impacts with multiple vehicles.
- Underride accidents. Underride accidents happen when a smaller vehicle collides with the rear or side of a truck and slides underneath it. These accidents often result in severe or fatal injuries for the smaller vehicle’s occupants. Underride guards on trucks can mitigate these accidents, but their effectiveness can vary.
- Wide turn accidents. Large trucks require a wide turning radius. When turning right, they may swing out to the left before executing the turn. Failure to account for this can lead to collisions with vehicles or pedestrians on the left or right side of the truck.
- Blind spot accidents. Trucks have significant blind spots, often referred to as no-zones. The driver cannot see in these areas around the truck. Accidents can occur when other vehicles are in these blind spots and the truck driver doesn’t clear them before switching lanes.
- Tire blowouts. Tire blowouts can cause a driver to lose control of the truck and collide with other vehicles or objects. Truck tires endure heavy loads and long distances, which can increase the risk of tire failure. Also, many trucking companies use retreaded tires on their trucks to save money. Retreaded tires have a horrible safety record and blow out unexpectedly. In some cases, large chunks of a blown tire flew through the windshield of a car and injured or killed the occupants inside. Tire chunks can also cause accidents if other vehicles wreck when trying to avoid them on the road.
- Cargo-related accidents. Improperly secured or overloaded cargo can lead to accidents. If cargo shifts or falls from a truck, it can endanger other vehicles, causing collisions or obstructions.
- Lane change accidents. When a truck driver fails to check blind spots or uses improper signaling, they may collide with a vehicle while changing lanes. Due to the size and weight difference between the truck and the car, such accidents can result in significant damage to smaller vehicles and significant injuries to their occupants.
- Head-on collisions. Wide or long trucks cannot safely navigate narrow roads without crossing the center line. Also, distracted or drowsy truck drivers could lose focus or fall asleep behind the wheel and drift into the opposing lane. Whatever the cause, the impact of head-on collisions involving trucks severely injures or kills people each year.
Truck accidents can happen for many reasons. If you sustained injuries in a Tampa truck accident that was not your fault, call our attorneys immediately for an evaluation of your case and an explanation of your options to pursue compensation.
Who Can You Hold Liable for My Truck Accident Injuries?
Determining liability in a truck accident requires a thorough investigation of the incident. Several parties may bear liability depending on the specific factors involved. Our attorneys can establish liability by gathering and analyzing important evidence, such as police reports, the truck’s black box data, and other essential information.
After reviewing the evidence, our attorneys may hold any of these parties liable for your truck accident injuries:
- Truck driver. If the truck driver’s negligent actions, such as speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence, or violating traffic laws, directly caused the accident, you may hold them liable for your injuries.
- Trucking company. You may also hold the trucking company responsible for the truck driver’s actions. If the accident occurred while the driver acted within the scope of their employment, the trucking company may share liability for the accident.
- Vehicle owner. If a separate entity owned the truck involved in the accident, such as a leasing company, the owner may bear some responsibility for maintaining the vehicle and ensuring it’s safe and in proper working condition.
- The truck manufacturer or parts manufacturer. If a defect in the truck or its parts contributed to the accident, such as faulty brakes or a defective tire, you may hold the manufacturer or supplier of the defective product liable under product liability laws.
- Maintenance and repair companies. If negligent maintenance or repairs on the truck contributed to the accident, the company responsible for servicing the vehicle may share liability.
- Cargo loading companies. Improperly loaded or unsecured cargo can destabilize a truck or create other hazards. If a cargo loading company failed to load and secure the cargo correctly, and that led to the accident, you could hold the company liable.
- Government entities. If dangerous road conditions, inadequate signs, or other issues related to road maintenance caused the truck accident, you may file a claim against the government entity responsible for roadway maintenance. If a government-owned large truck caused the crash, you may also file a claim with the appropriate government department. Claims against governments must meet tight deadlines and cut through a lot of red tape. Call our attorneys immediately to discuss your case if you feel a government entity caused your truck crash.
The various parties, insurance requirements, government regulations, and other factors involved in any truck accident case can make determining liability complex, so call our experienced truck accident attorneys as soon as possible following the crash. Our lawyers can conduct a detailed investigation, review relevant evidence, and identify the responsible parties in your case.
How Do I Pursue Compensation After a Truck Accident in Florida?
To obtain compensation for your injuries and losses after a Tampa truck accident, you must:
- Seek medical attention. Make your health and well-being your top priority. Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if they seem minor. Document all medical treatments, diagnoses, and related expenses. Your attorney will need this information to file your claims.
- Gather evidence. Collect as much evidence as possible to support your claim. This may include photographs of the accident scene, vehicle damage, injuries sustained, and any visible road hazards. Obtain contact information from any witnesses who observed the accident. Request a copy of the police report, which can provide important details about the incident.
- Consult a truck accident injury attorney at Apex Law. Contact our experienced Tampa truck accident attorneys. We can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation. Our attorneys will assess your case, gather evidence, and advise you on the best action.
- Notify your insurance company. Since Florida is a no-fault insurance state, you must promptly report the accident to your own PIP insurance company—or better yet, have your attorney do it for you. You must provide accurate details of the accident and cooperate with their investigation. Review your insurance policy with your attorney to understand your coverage and any applicable deadlines for filing a claim.
- Get the truck driver’s insurance information. Since your attorney must file a claim with the truck driver’s and/or their employer’s insurance company, get the driver’s insurance and contact information. You can provide your attorney with the driver’s contact information and have them reach out to the driver and get the information they need. Allow your attorney to handle all communication with the insurer and refer the insurance representative to your attorney if they contact you.
- Investigate liability. Your attorney will thoroughly investigate the accident to determine liability. This may involve reviewing police reports, gathering witness statements, analyzing driver records, examining maintenance records, and assessing any violations of state and federal regulations.
- Document damages. Keep records of all damages and losses resulting from the accident. This includes medical bills, hospital stays, rehabilitation costs, medication expenses, lost income, property damage, and other related expenses. Maintain a journal documenting your pain, suffering, and emotional distress from the accident.
- Negotiate with the insurance company. Your attorney will handle all communication and negotiation with the insurance company. They will present a strong case supported by evidence and expert opinions to pursue a fair settlement. If the insurance company offers a settlement, your attorney will advise you whether it adequately compensates you for your injuries and losses. Your attorney can only legally accept a settlement with your approval, and you do not want to rush to accept a settlement until you fully understand the extent of your injuries.
- File a lawsuit, if necessary. If your attorney can’t reach a fair settlement with the insurance company—or if the insurance company acts in bad faith regarding your claim—your lawyer may file a lawsuit against them to secure the compensation you deserve. Your attorney will guide you through the legal process and represent you in court.
- Attend mediation or settlement conferences. Before trial, the court may require both parties to attend mediation or settlement conferences. These alternative dispute resolution methods aim to find a resolution between the parties. Your attorney will represent you during these proceedings and negotiate for you.
- Proceed to trial, if required. If your case goes to trial, your attorney will present your case before a judge and jury. Your lawyer will present evidence, call witnesses, and argue your position to secure a favorable verdict and appropriate compensation.
Each case is unique, and the specific steps may vary depending on the circumstances. Working with a skilled Tampa truck accident attorney at Apex Law will provide you with personalized guidance and increase your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve.
Contact an Experienced Tampa Truck Accident Attorney Immediately
Florida only allows you two years to file a truck accident lawsuit in court. You can use your time wisely by contacting our attorneys so we can start on your claim today.
The Tampa truck accident attorneys at Apex Law are here to help you hold all parties accountable for your pain and suffering so you can get everything you need to cover your medical bills, lost income, emotional distress, and the other costs associated with your injuries. Contact us today at (813) 444-5212 to request your free consultation.
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