According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2020 there were 4,965 people killed and approximately 146,930 people injured in accidents involving large trucks (defined as any medium or heavy truck with a gross vehicle weight greater than 10,000 pounds). 76% of fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred during the weekdays. Drivers of large trucks involved in fatal accidents had a higher percentage of previously recorded accidents than drivers of cars and motorcycles. As Jacksonville Truck Accident Attorneys, we know these accidents are much different than routine car accident cases.
Due to their size, the potential for danger, and the sheer number on our roadways throughout the country, large trucks are highly regulated. The rules governing the trucking industry are more complex than those dealing with passenger vehicles. For this reason, it is important to hire a truck accident attorney in Jacksonville to help you with your claim.
Common reasons for large truck accidents include:
The trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA regulates multiple aspects of truck preparation, operation, and documentation.
Truckers are required to exercise extreme caution when hazardous weather conditions adversely affect visibility or traction such as snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, or smoke. Truckers must reduce their speed if such conditions exist and stop driving if conditions become sufficiently dangerous.
Truckers cannot operate their commercial vehicles unless they are satisfied key parts and accessories of their vehicle are in good working order including:
Proper securing of cargo: The general rule put forth by the FMCSA is that cargo must be firmly immobilized or secured on or within a vehicle by structures of adequate strength to secure the load. The FMCSA goes on to prescribe specific rules regarding the minimum amount of tie-downs and the minimum working load of the tie-downs or securement devices. The FMCSA has commodity-specific securement requirements dealing with logs, lumber, metal coils, paper rolls, concrete pipe, crushed vehicles, and even large boulders.
There are several potential defendants when investigating a truck accident case. As your Jacksonville truck accident attorney, we know to investigate the following entities:
There are a number of theories of liability against trucking companies. Negligent hiring is when a company hires a trucker without properly or adequately looking into his past. Had they investigated, the company would have seen the driver had a history of accidents or improper driving. Negligent retention is when a trucking company continues to employ a driver they know is violating the rules and regulations of the road. Despite writing up and reprimanding the driver, the company continues to keep him on the payroll. Negligent supervision is a claim available against a company that fails to properly and adequately monitor their drivers. Most trucking companies have people, or entire departments, in charge of quality control. They audit trucker logs in order to identify whether their truckers are following the hours of service rules and basic rules of the road. For example, the company knows how long it should take a truck to travel from Atlanta to Jacksonville. If they see the trucker completed the trip under that expected time, they should know their driver was speeding.
Using our knowledge of the rules and regulations governing the trucking industry as well as our experience, we identify violations of the driver and/or the driver’s company. We look into the driver’s experience and the history of the company to prove the violations were not one-time events; but rather, a continuing pattern of improper and dangerous behavior. We show there were signs and opportunities to avoid the eventual accident but through complacency, lack of training/knowledge, or the desire to make money, those signs were not identified or ignored. Ultimately, our goal is to convince the insurance company or a jury of the nature and extent of our client’s injuries and how they have affected the client in the past and will continue to affect the client in the future.
At Rosenberg & Calvin, P.A., we feel it is important to speak with a Jacksonville Truck Accident Attorney to identify and protect your rights and to ensure you are compensated to the full extent of the law. Contact us today for a free consultation.