Semi-trucks, big rigs, and other commercial trucks are massive vehicles. An accident involving one of them can have catastrophic consequences.
Whether you’re driving up I-75 or heading down 441, you’ll frequently encounter a lot of truck traffic in the Lake City area. If the unthinkable happens and you get into an accident with a big rig, you may suffer severe injuries that threaten to change your life forever.
Victims of Lake City truck accidents can turn to the law firm of Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A., for help. We fight to make sure individuals who suffer injuries in truck accidents receive the financial compensation they need to regain their health and rebuild their lives. Contact us right away for a free case consultation.
We Get Results for Truck Accident Victims
The experienced team of lawyers and legal professionals at Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A., has been fighting on behalf of injured Floridians for over 35 years. Our mission is to help our clients get the compensation owed to them under Florida law when someone else’s wrongful actions cause them harm.
We have an especially strong track record of results in truck accident cases, including:
- $2,500,000 for a client whose vehicle got trapped under a semi-truck after a collision;
- $1,000,000 for a client who suffered injuries when a semi-truck carrying cement suddenly pulled out in front of him;
- $305,000 for a client injured when a semi-truck caused a collision while changed lanes on the highway;
- $300,000 for a client who sustained neck injuries when a semi-truck rear-ended her vehicle.
Our team cannot guarantee results, but case outcomes like the ones above demonstrate that our team has the skill, resources, and know-how to win for clients who have suffered severe injuries in Lake City-area truck accidents.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Florida suffers more than 3,000 traffic fatalities every year, a large percentage of them in accidents involving large trucks. Because trucks vastly outweigh passenger vehicles, the force of the impact routinely causes catastrophic and fatal injuries.
Frequently, truck accidents occur in and around Lake City because of mistakes and misconduct on the part of truck drivers. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), leading trucker-related causes of truck accidents include:
Truck Driver Fatigue
Under federal law, commercial truck drivers must not drive more than a fixed number of hours per day and week. They must also take regular breaks to ensure they stay alert and focused behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, even when truck drivers follow these rules (and many do not), the pace and stress of their jobs can wear them down. Many truckers take to the road without getting enough quality rest. The resulting fatigue that they feel impairs their driving abilities in many of the same ways as consuming alcohol would—it slows their reaction times, clouds their decision-making, and interferes with their ability to judge speed and distance.
Any of those impairments, much less a combination of them, can result in a deadly truck accident, made all the worse by the fact that it could have been prevented if only the trucker had gotten a good night’s rest.
At Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A., we hold truckers and trucking companies accountable when drowsy truck drivers cause harm to Lake City-area motorists.
Truck System Failures
Trucks are complex machines consisting of numerous mechanical and electrical systems working in tandem. A failure in any of those systems at the wrong moment can send a large truck out of control and cause a catastrophic accident on a Lake City road.
Potentially vulnerable truck systems include:
- Brakes and hydraulics;
- Truck/trailer points of connection; and
- Unsecured loads.
Truckers, trucking companies, automotive manufacturers, and maintenance contractors owe duties to the general public to ensure that no truck rolls on Lake City streets and highways in an unsafe condition. The Steven A. Bagen & Associates team investigates the root cause of truck accidents to identify anyone who should have taken reasonable steps to prevent it from occurring, and who therefore owes damages to our clients.
Speeding is another common cause of truck accidents. Truck drivers work on tight deadlines and, as mentioned above, federal regulations limit the amount of time they can spend behind the wheel before they must take a break. This can give them a strong incentive to speed whenever possible.
But a speeding truck puts everyone on the road in danger. It needs much more distance than a passenger vehicle to come to a safe stop. At high speeds, any sudden course change or braking can lead to it jackknifing or rolling over. Speed can also contribute to brake and other system failures.
Lawyers from Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A. know how to spot when speeding contributed to truck accidents. They also know where to find, and how to secure, evidence to prove a truck’s speed at the time of an accident, which can help to strengthen a case for damages.
Compared to passenger vehicle accidents, relatively few truck accidents involve truckers driving drunk. More commonly, a trucker may drive—and cause an accident—while under the influence of legal or illegal drugs and medications.
As a group, truckers are in relatively poor health, which means they frequently take prescription medications that may have side effects that impair their driving abilities. As discussed above, fatigue also plagues the trucking industry and often leads drivers to rely on over-the-counter and illicit stimulants—from caffeine pills to amphetamines—to stay awake at the wheel.
It is illegal in Florida to drive while under the influence of any drug. At Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A., we fight to hold truckers accountable when they crash a truck while impaired by any legal or illegal substance.
Lack of Training and Experience
All commercial truckers must possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a truck legally on Lake City roads. To obtain a CDL, drivers must pass a battery of written and on-the-road tests to demonstrate the core skills necessary for safe truck driving.
Even after obtaining a CDL, however, many truck drivers lack the practical experience to navigate complicated on-road situations safely. Due to an ongoing labor shortage, trucking companies face constant pressure to press drivers into service before they’re truly ready. That increases the risk of inexperienced drivers making mistakes and causing collisions.
A lack of experience is no excuse for a trucker causing a truck accident, however. Our team holds truckers and trucking companies to account for allowing dangerously inexperienced drivers behind the wheel.
Seeking Compensation for a Lake City Truck Accident
Lake City motorists and residents who suffer injuries and losses in truck accidents often have a right under Florida law to seek compensation from the party (or parties) at fault. Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A., represents those truck accident victims in the lawsuits and insurance claims they must pursue to get the money they deserve.
We find the parties who owe damages to our clients.
Numerous parties can face legal liability to victims of a truck accident in Lake City. Our attorneys investigate the causes of truck accidents, often with the assistance of experienced accident reconstruction specialists, to identify every party whose unreasonable, dangerous actions led to a crash. Those are the parties who may owe money damages to our clients.
Every truck accident in Lake City differs, of course, but often our investigations reveal that fault and liability in a crash lie with:
- The truck driver, who made poor decisions while inspecting or operating a vehicle that contributed to the cause of an accident;
- The owner of the truck/employer of the truck driver, who has an independent obligation to make sure the truck stays in good working condition, and that the driver has the necessary qualifications and experience;
- The truck manufacturer, which may face liability for any Lake City truck accident caused by the failure of a defective truck part or truck system;
- A truck maintenance contractor, who has a duty to perform competent work on a truck to keep it running safely; or
- A shipper who loads a truck with cargo, if its failure to secure a load results in the load shifting or spilling in transit, which in turn caused an accident.
In addition to parties related to the maintenance and operation of the truck involved in a crash, other parties could also face legal liability to victims of a Lake City truck accident.
They may include:
- Other motorists whose dangerous actions while sharing the road with a truck trigger a truck accident; or
- Local and state government bodies tasked with maintaining safe roads in and around Lake City for truck traffic.
The Steven A. Bagen & Associates team approaches every truck accident case with an open mind and a blank slate, determined to hold every party who bears responsibility for an accident to account.
We pursue maximum compensation.
Proving who owes you compensation for your injuries is only half the battle. The lawyers and legal professionals of Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A. also understand the critical importance of collecting and presenting evidence to show the full scope of harm suffered by the truck accident victim we represent.
Our team works tirelessly to build the strongest possible case for maximum damages.
In a typical truck accident case, we can establish the proof necessary to get our clients paid for their:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost income
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Present and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Other accident-related out-of-pocket expenses
To obtain that compensation on our clients’ behalf, our team will often file and pursue lawsuits in Columbia County courts against the at-fault parties and/or insurance claims against the at-fault parties’ liability insurance carriers.
Ideally, those legal actions will result in the at-fault parties coming to the table and agreeing upon a fair settlement of our clients’ claims. But if they don’t, our team also has the resources and skills to take our clients’ cases to court and to win an award from a Columbia County judge or jury. At Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A., we take pride in obtaining top-dollar results in and out of the courtroom in truck accident cases.
Act Now to Protect Your Rights to Money Damages
As a Lake City truck accident victim, you likely have valuable legal rights to receive compensation for the harm you have suffered. But you must act quickly by contacting an experienced lawyer today.
Florida law limits the amount of time you have to file a claim after you have been injured in a truck accident. In most Lake City truck accident cases, the statute of limitations for a legal action seeking damages is, at most, four years, and it could be as little as a few months in some cases. If you miss this deadline for taking legal action, you could lose your rights to payment for your injuries and losses.
In addition, truck accident cases frequently involve multiple victims who may seek compensation, and multiple individuals and commercial parties who may owe liability to those victims. Victims will often race to file their claims quickly, and potentially at-fault parties will often scramble to point the finger at one another to avoid liability. It’s a complex and dynamic situation where victims risk losing out if they do not have a skilled lawyer representing them.
Speak With an Aggressive Lake City Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Do not wait to get the legal advice you need after getting hurt in a Lake City truck accident. Your ability to secure the money you need to pay for your medical bills and to rebuild your life may depend on you taking immediate action.
For a free consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer, contact Steven A. Bagen & Associations, P.A. online or by phone at (800) BAGEN-LAW.