What To Do When You’ve Been Hit By A Truck In St. Petersburg
When it comes to population, the state of Florida is the fourth most populated state in the United States. With a large amount of ocean access and waterways, it is also a major location of international importing and exporting of goods. These goods are usually transported from Florida throughout the United States in tractor trailers. Every year in Florida more than 140,000 people are injured in semi truck accident and 700 drivers of large trucks lose their lives to Florida crashes each year. That is a staggering number of people.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
We are all aware that 18 wheelers are huge. When these large vehicles are not handled properly or the driver is careless negligence will occur. These include:
● Not using traffic signals
● Improper passing
● Failing to halt at signs and traffic lights
● Inexperienced drivers
● Insufficient sleep of the driver
● Blind spots
● Poor truck maintenance
● Load too large for the truck
Because of the size of the trucks, speeding or not obeying traffic signals can cause horrendous damage to a passenger vehicle. When not being operated properly the driver will not be able to stop in time, especially when you consider that tractor trailers need 40% more time to stop than a passenger car.
How Commercial Vehicle Accidents Differ From Auto Accidents
While it is fairly obvious that when a semi hits a passenger car there will be more severe injuries there are more differences. We have listed five differences for you.
1. In an auto accident you can only file a lawsuit against the at fault driver. When you are hit by a semi there are usually multiple parties that are located in multiple states. For example, the truck driver may hold a California license, the truck that they leased may be licensed in Texas and the company he is hauling for may be located in Illinois.
2. Auto accidents usually involve someone from the same state, so any lawsuit is filed in that state court. However, the truck driver in an accident probably is located outside of Florida, so the lawsuit will be filed outside the state of Florida and will usually end up in Federal court which changes the elements of the lawsuit.
3. The most common claim is from being rear-ended. This means there is usually no dispute over who is at fault for the accident. With semi-trucks, most accidents happen during lane changes. This can make who is “negligent” a debate over if there was enough room for the lane change, as well as other factors.
4. Auto accidents tend to have less serious and permanent injury due to the fact that both vehicles are mostly the same size. With semi-truck you have a large truck with a small car resulting in more serious injuries. This is why limits of insurance are usually higher, allowing the persons injured more compensation.
Negligence In Truck Accident Cases
With auto accidents, unless the vehicle is defective the only defendant in the case is the at fault driver. But when it comes to potential defendants in a semi accident there are more potential parties.
● The tractor trailer driver
● Owner of the tractor
● Owner of the trailer if not owned with the tractor
● The renting or leasing company
● The trucking company or carrier
● The shipper or broker
● The maintenance company
If it is determined that there is a defect in the rig or the trailer that directly contributed to the accident, the manufacturer may also be named as liable under a “products liability theory of liability”.
As you can see there are many aspects to filing a lawsuit after you have been hit and injured by a tractor trailer. A knowledgeable and skilled attorney like Michael Babboni can help. With over 27 years of protecting truck accident victims in St. Petersburg, he will navigate the legal complexities of your accident and help you get the compensation you deserve. Give him a call today at 1-727-381-9200 for a free case evaluation to learn more.