Accidents involving commercial vehicles such as semi-trucks can be especially severe. Commercial vehicle crashes involving large-class automobiles such as semi-trucks and buses can cause horrific damage to the smaller vehicles they collide with. As a matter of fact, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), “in 2017, 4,889 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes, a 9-percent increase from 2016.”
An object in motion tends to stay in motion, unless acted upon by an outside force. The more mass an object has, the harder it is to stop. Big vehicles, such as semi-trucks with fully-loaded trailers, buses, and garbage trucks, tend to have a lot of mass, so they don’t stop easily. According to data from the Utah Department of Transportation, “a fully loaded tractor-trailer weighing 80,000 pounds traveling under ideal conditions at a speed of 65 miles per hour will take 525 feet to stop.” Moving at speed, a large commercial-class vehicle can overrun or smash aside smaller passenger cars.
Large commercial trucks with trailers that stop or slow suddenly run the risk of the trailer moving side-to-side out of control and folding in on itself, or “jackknifing.” In Florida truck accidents, a jackknifing trailer can become a deadly projectile weighing several tons and moving at high speed.
Commercial truck accidents involving semis can bring a wide variety of additional threats to the crash site, depending on what the truck is carrying. For example, a fuel transportation rig can spill gasoline onto the road, flatbeds with concrete preforms or lumber logs can spill heavy objects onto the tops of other vehicles, and even enclosed trailers can break and send their contents out as shrapnel into other vehicles.
The FMCSA publishes a crash statistics resource that details the “critical precrash event” preceding commercial truck accidents. According to the FMCSA resource, in 2017, the most common cause of fatal crashes involving commercial-class vehicles was the “Other Vehicle’s Encroachment into [the] Large Truck’s Lane,” resulting in 1,706 fatal crashes. The most common cause of crashes resulting in injuries was the actions of the “Other Vehicle in the Large Truck’s Lane,” resulting in 34,000 injury crashes (rounded). The primary cause of property damage-only crashes was the “Large Truck’s Movements,” resulting in 150,000 property damage incidents in the USA in 2017.
In other words, according to the data from the FMCSA, the most common cause of fatal and injuring commercial truck crashes was the actions of other drivers, not the actions of the truck driver. Actions such as pulling in front of a semi in traffic or drifting into the semi’s lane can result in a major collision with the commercial vehicle that has permanent consequences.
However, what can you do if the driver of the commercial vehicle was the negligent party? Determining who is responsible for a truck crash is vital for pursuing a personal injury claim. The tricky part is investigating the causes of the crash so responsibility can be assigned properly—this is something that a vehicle accident attorney can help with.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a crash with a commercial-class vehicle, it is often worth investigating whether the vehicle’s owner has vicarious liability for the accident. “Vicarious liability” basically means that the vehicle owner had a duty to control the situation leading up to the accident, but failed to do so. For example:
If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then the driver’s employer may need to take some responsibility for the crash. Having a Florida personal injury lawyer on your side can help you ensure that they take responsibility and provide you with the compensation you need to pay for your medical expenses and lost ability to earn a living.
Cases involving motorcycle accidents in Florida can be massively complex. While finding a Tampa attorney does not guarantee compensation, doing so can help smooth the process of filing a personal injury claim.
As a law firm in Tampa, Swope, Rodante P.A. is dedicated to helping improve the lives of personal injury victims who have been devastated by what they’ve been through. Because these cases can be so complex, and the defendants so powerful, the Swope, Rodante team works collaboratively with a senior attorney and team of paralegals and assistants each time—dedicating the right resources to every case.
Reach out to a Florida-based personal injury lawyer with years of experience in the field today: