Sharing the road with big trucks can be a frightening experience. A fully loaded semi truck can often weigh nearly 20 times greater than a full size pick up truck and 40 times greater than a compact passenger car. These differences in size can present a very dangerous condition that often result in serious injuries to car drivers.
Although car accidents and trucking accidents often happen in the same manner, they are not the same. There are a host of laws and regulations that trucking companies must comply with that affect how a trucking accident should be addressed. Choosing the right lawyer is critical when injured by a big truck.
The Hazards of Commercial Trucking
Although getting a commercial drivers license is more difficult to get than a regular license, it does not require any kind of special ability that makes a truck driver impervious to causing accidents. In fact, a person is eligible to drive a big truck in Florida as early as 18 years old. And no matter how well a truck driver is trained, they are routinely required to drive their trucks in less than optimal conditions. Often, these drivers are forced to drive their trucks for long distances, for long hours, at all times of day, and in all types of weather conditions.
The companies that force these drivers to work under these conditions and the insurance companies that cover these companies are often unwilling to admit they are at fault for an accident, and will fight tooth and nail to prevent having to pay for injuries caused by their truck drivers. Pursuing a trucking case can be difficult. Trucking companies often have teams of lawyers to defend them and have set aside huge amounts of money to defend trucking cases.
Protecting the Public
Here is the good news, both Federal and Florida laws have been enacted to protect the public in the event of an accident. Florida requires that big trucks get more insurance coverage than regular drivers to protect against the dangers these trucks present. The larger the truck, the greater the required insurance policy. Federal law also requires companies that travel across state borders to have at least $750,000 in coverage on their semi trucks. More if they transport hazardous materials. This means that there is almost guaranteed to be money out there to compensate you for your losses.
Also, Federal law requires that companies keep a variety of records that can be uncovered in support of your claim. For example, Federal regulations require that companies keep maintenance records of the truck itself, driving hours logged by the driver in the accident, and reports of accidents involving the company for the previous 3 years. Newer trucks and trucks owned by larger companies have been installed with data recorders, or “black boxes”, that record a wide range of data that can be used in your case. This data includes crash information in some instances. In the event of a crash, a truck driver must also submit to a drug an alcohol screening within a reasonable time after the accident and comply with any law enforcement investigation of the accident. A skilled lawyer can uncover this information in order to build your case.
If you have been injured, get help now!
If you are in an accident with a big truck, you probably suffered a big injury. The good news is that there is probably a large amount of coverage out there to compensate innocent victims in an trucking accident, and a pretty good amount of evidence to establish your case. If you were injured in a trucking accident, protect yourself from a company that considers your injuries “a cost of doing business”. Get a lawyer that will fight for you and assert your right to be on a safe roadway. Michles and Booth handles big truck wrecks and will give you a free consultation if you are injured in an accident.