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The Ultimate Guide for Truck Accidents in Orlando

Semi-trucks, also known as 18-wheelers, big rigs, and tractor-trailers, can weigh anywhere from 10,000 pounds (without a trailer) to the legal limit of 80,000 pounds (with a fully loaded trailer). As you can imagine, collisions with large trucks can be fatal and cause significant property and bodily injury damage. Few people walk away from a truck collision unharmed.

According to Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2017 Florida had nearly 32,000 large truck accidents. Sadly, these truck accident statistics represent a typical year.

The most common catastrophic injuries from big rig collisions include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries — These can be life-changing injuries with long-term disability, coma, cognitive effects, and behavior changes.
  • Burns and disfigurement — Truck collisions are often fiery collisions due to the force of the impact and presence of gasoline, or depending on the load, hazardous contents. In addition to blunt force injuries, burns and disfigurement injuries are debilitating. Survivors face a long and costly recovery.
  • Spinal cord injuries — Severed and injured spinal cords are also devastating injuries often resulting in permanent paralysis.

Contributing Factors for Truck Accident Injuries

Due to the commercial nature of trucking, the vast majority of truck collisions (83 percent for fatal truck crashes and 88 percent for non-fatal truck collisions) occurred on weekdays in 2017. Contributing factors varied. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:

  • 75 percent of fatal truck and bus collisions nationwide involved “Collision with vehicle in transport” as the most harmful event. Collision with vehicle in transport was also stated for 77 percent of large trucks involved in nonfatal crashes.
  • Another vehicle, person, animal or object was determined to be critical pre-crash event for 73 percent of fatal truck crashes. 23 percent of fatal truck accidents and pre-crash events of their own movement or loss of control.
  • In 2017, trucks pulling a single semi-trailer (“singles”) accounted for 59 percent of fatal large truck accidents; trucks pulling two trailers (“doubles”) accounted for 2 percent of fatal large truck accidents; and trucks pulling three trailers (“triples”) accounted for 0.3 percent of all fatal large truck accidents.
  • Crashes involving a single vehicle (such as a truck and pedestrian accident, truck and bicycle accident, or a truck and non-motorized vehicle accident) accounted for 20 percent of all fatal truck collisions, 15 percent of all injury truck crashes, and 23 percent of all property damage only truck crashes in 2017. 63 percent of fatal big rig accidents crashes involved two vehicles.
  • The most frequent driver-related factor in fatal truck accidents was “speeding of any kind” followed by distraction/inattention, and impairment (which could be alcohol, fatigue, illness, etc.).
The Ultimate Guide for Truck Accidents in Orlando

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Accidents in Orlando

Truck Accident Damages

When a person is injured or killed in a truck accident in Florida, their future, and that of their loved ones, has changed in the blink of an eye. Everything — their career, vacation plans, education, and pursuit of happiness — is put on hold indefinitely, if not forever. For those who die, families must plan and pay for funerals and deal with medical expenses, insurance companies, loss of income, and all that comes with the unexpected loss of a loved one. For those who are catastrophically injured, they and their families face an uncertain future that includes many of these same challenges as well as rehabilitation, future surgeries, agonizing pain, medical equipment, 24/hour care, and more. The emotional and financial costs are high for both fatalities and catastrophic injuries.

Below are some of the damages personal injury lawyers typically seek for truck accident injuries:

  • Medical Expenses — In addition to the immediate medical expenses such as ambulance and hospital costs, it’s important to factor in future costs such as medical equipment (wheelchairs and ADA-compliant ramps for the home for example), reconstructive surgeries, long-term skilled nursing, and so forth.
  • Funeral Expenses — Loved ones should not have to pay for the funeral expenses if their loved one died due to the negligence of another. Funeral and burial costs can be included in a truck accident wrongful death claim.
  • Lost Wages — Being injured or killed in a truck crash often results in lost wages from that moment forward, making it important to seek damages for lost wages and lost earning potential.
  • Pain and Suffering — Pain and suffering includes physical and emotional pain resulting from the truck accident as well as the loss of being able to enjoy certain activities you previously enjoyed before the injury.
  • Punitive Damages — Less common, but worth noting, punitive damages may be awarded if the truck driver or trucking company seriously violated regulations. Punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party and can be substantial.

What to Do When Hit by a Truck in Florida

If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident in Florida, take the following steps:

  • Seek medical care.
  • File a police report.
  • Contact your insurance company.
  • Document the accident scene.
  • Gather evidence (surveillance cameras and dash cams may have captured the accident, but this evidence is at risk of being overwritten by new footage).
  • Retain an experienced truck accident lawyer.

While insurance companies are likely to be involved, it’s important to understand that insurance company settlements may be limited. Not only might they be limited by the at-fault party’s insurance coverage, insurance companies won’t necessarily cover pain and suffering or punitive damages or take future medical expenses into consideration. In order to pursue the full settlement that you’re entitled to, you’ll want an experienced, board-certified truck accident lawyer on your side who is willing to take the case to verdict. Handling, litigating and trying truck crash cases is complex, and it’s important to find an attorney who has experience in this specialized field.

Leighton Law has obtained some of the largest truck accident verdicts and settlements for our clients in Florida. We recently won a $7.4 million verdict in Osceola county where a semi-truck hit our client’s car, seriously injuring him. We have also won million dollar recoveries in Orange, Seminole, Lake, Volusia, Polk and Brevard Counties. Our expertise could make a substantial difference in your long-term recovery. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Article by:

John Leighton

A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite

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