St. Petersburg Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Accidents involving commercial vehicles can be devastating, and they’re unfortunately common. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 11 people die each day in accidents involving large trucks and an additional 100,000 sustain injuries. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates commercial vehicles, also reports that truck accident injuries have been increasing each year since 2009. What’s driving this alarming trend?
One some level, carelessness is to blame. According to the FMCSA:
- Administrators ordered 175,000 trucks off the road in 2014 (the last year the agency collected data) because they had violated too many regulations.
- Administrators removed another 2.1 million trucks from the road because they failed to comply with safety standards.
Commercial vehicle accidents may involve any large vehicle, from big-rigs, semis, and 18-wheelers to delivery trucks and buses. Accidents involving these types of vehicles are often severe, and a victim’s injuries may require long-term treatment.
Legal Considerations in Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Florida follows a no-fault system when it comes to car accidents, but a collision with a commercial vehicle may follow a different process. State law requires all Florida to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) on their own policies. Generally, when you’re involved in a car accident, you file a claim with your own insurance to collect compensation for medical bills and lost wages. While this allows you to receive expedient medical care, it also limits your ability to pursue additional claims against an at-fault driver.
There are certain instances, however, when you may pursue a personal injury claim against an at-fault commercial vehicle driver. These include:
- Permanent or serious injury.
- Significant or permanent scarring.
If you think your commercial vehicle accident case qualifies, talk to a lawyer with experience in commercial vehicle law as soon as possible.
Who Is at Fault for My Injuries?
After an injury in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, the first step is to determine who is actually at fault for your injuries. One or more of several parties can be to blame: the driver, their employer, or even the manufacturer of the vehicle they were driving. The following are examples of legal considerations in commercial vehicle accident cases:
- Did the truck driver violate his or her duty to be careful on the road? The law requires commercial vehicle operators to follow strict regulations and rules that federal law outlines. For example, the law only allows drivers to be on the road for a certain number of hours each day and to log a certain amount of rest between shifts.
- Did the truck driver have a poor employment record or previous issues with substance abuse? If so, the employer of the driver may have committed negligence in hiring him or her.
- A trucking company may also be to blame if it fails to routinely maintain or check the vehicles in its fleet.
- Did an accident occur as the result of a defect in the vehicle? If so, the manufacturer of the commercial vehicle may be to blame for the accident.
Compensation for Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Accidents with commercial vehicles can be some of the most devastating. If such an accident caused you or loved one’s injury, the law offers some protections. You may be able to pursue compensation for:
- Economic damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and the ongoing costs of rehabilitation and therapy.
- General damages, which reimburse victims for intangible losses such as suffering, pain, and emotional distress.
If you believe you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit involving a commercial vehicle, contact Williams Law, P.A. Take advantage of our free initial consultation, and let us provide you with guidance in this difficult time. Contact us to schedule yours today.