If you or someone you love recently suffered injuries in a Palatka truck crash, the law gives you the right to seek legal action to recover monetary damages for your injuries.
The experienced Palatka truck accident lawyers at Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A, can do that for you.
We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients, including:
- $2,500,000 for a victim of a drunk semi-truck driver
- $1,000,000 after a cement truck accident
- $1,000,000 after a dump truck accident
- $300,000 for a rear-end truck accident
Reach out today to learn whether we can help you following your crash.
Table of Contents
- The Dangerous Nature of Commercial Big Rigs
- How Do Truck Accidents Happen?
- Proving a Truck Accident Claim
- How an Experienced Palatka Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You?
- What is the Statute of Limitations?
- Did You Suffer Injuries in an Accident? Let a Skilled Palatka Truck Accident Attorney Help
The Dangerous Nature of Commercial Big Rigs
Although Florida is one of the most attractive states in the U.S., it also has one of the highest motor vehicle collision rates. People visit or move to the Sunshine State for its beaches, warm weather, and hospitality. Unfortunately, many people suffer serious injuries or pass away in vehicle crashes every year.
Truck accidents are of significant concern in Florida and across the nation. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Florida has one of the highest numbers of any state in the U.S. for fatal truck collisions.
Florida is the third deadliest state for bus and large truck crashes, behind California and Texas. In a recent year, 202 individuals in Florida suffered fatal injuries in accidents with large trucks and buses, and 3,863 individuals suffered injuries of various severities. Across the country, 114,000 injuries and 4,479 fatal crashes involved trucks and buses in the same year. As the population and number of tourists have increased, so have the number of accidents.
Large commercial trucks are, unfortunately, inherently dangerous. They are some of the largest and heaviest vehicles on the road. This makes them difficult to stop quickly and difficult to maneuver. These trucks need extra stopping time and distance to safely slow and stop—which can be hard to come by in an emergency.
These trucks also have a higher center of gravity. If high winds are present, they take a sharp turn, turn too quickly, or if other forces act on the trailer, they can tip over, causing a serious accident. The same can happen if they have a load that isn’t properly secured or are carrying a liquid tank that isn’t mostly full.
Commercial trucks cover hundreds of miles each day, exposing their tires and other parts to extreme wear and tear. Brakes can give out even with careful inspections and maintenance, tires can have a sudden blowout, and other accident-causing issues can arise.
How Do Truck Accidents Happen?
Truck collisions can be the result of any number of causes. Some of the most common reasons for truck accidents include:
Truck Driver Error or Misjudgment
Just like any driver, truck drivers can make errors or misjudge specific details such as the distance or speed of another vehicle before turning in front of them.
However, far too often, they can prevent these errors
and misjudgments by avoiding:
- Fatigue or drowsiness – Common in truck drivers who don’t take mandatory rest periods when required.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs – These behaviors are unfortunately common in the trucking industry and are often deadly to innocent people on the road.
- Driver distraction – Driving long hours leads to boredom which can cause some drivers to use their phones to talk, text, play games, or use social media while behind the wheel.
Failure to Follow Federal and State Regulations and Rules
Truck drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and extensive training to get behind the wheel of a big rig. They also must meet a higher standard of safety than other non-commercial vehicle drivers on the road.
Even still, truckers fail to follow the rules of the road and/or the mandatory Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations adopted by the state for their professional truck driver license. They place other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists in danger. For example, truck drivers have restrictions regarding the hours they can drive before taking rest periods of minimum durations. Some don’t follow these rules to deliver their loads faster. This makes them tired while driving and more likely to get into accidents.
Lack of Training and Experience
Some trucking companies are in a hurry to get more drivers on the road to keep up with industry demands. There’s nothing wrong with this. However, some skip crucial training hours for their drivers, meaning that inexperienced and not fully trained drivers are on the road. When this occurs, innocent lives are at risk. Truck driving is harder than driving another vehicle, and drivers need a minimum number of hours of training to competently drive.
Lack of or Poor Truck Inspections and Maintenance
Commercial vehicles receive a lot of wear and tear due to their frequent use and the extended miles driven. As such, they require regular maintenance and thorough inspections, and the FMCSA addresses maintenance and inspections in its regulations.
Truck drivers must inspect their vehicles each time they get off and back on the road. Failure to repair brakes, replace cracked windshields, and change old worn-out tires can become disastrous when traveling at high speeds on a busy Palatka highway. However, it’s not always the truck driver’s fault. Sometimes, the trucking company is liable because they refused to perform or pay for the necessary maintenance.
Truck Equipment Failure
Despite high spending on extravagantly equipped trucks, sometimes equipment can fail suddenly, or a component of a truck’s part can be faulty.
In these cases, liability often lies with:
- The motor carrier
- The defective parts’ manufacturer
- The mechanic who inspected or installed the parts
- The truck’s manufacturer
- The truck dealer
Improperly Securing or Loading Cargo
The FMCSA also dictates how various types of cargo, including hazardous materials, should be loaded and secured on semi-trucks. Dangerously loading cargo in a semi-truck, tanker truck, or even a tow truck can easily result in big rig crashes.
State and federal regulations guidelines expressly set the requirements for the loaded cargo’s weight, size, width, length, and height. In addition, there are additional detailed requirements for adequately securing a semi’s load. Negligence, mistakes, or carelessness with the loading process can result in catastrophic and fatal large truck accidents.
No one is responsible for weather conditions. However, all drivers are responsible for their driving behaviors. If the weather is inclement, drivers need to adjust their driving behaviors by reducing their speeds, leaving more distance between their vehicle and the ones in front of them, or taking turns more slowly. Truck drivers who don’t adjust their driving behaviors are more likely to cause accidents.
Sometimes roads are in ill repair. They may crumble or potholes may emerge. Construction zones aren’t correctly or clearly set up and marked. In addition, road signs or signals are missing or malfunctioning. These are all factors that can lead to a truck accident. In these cases, a third party is likely liable for the accident. For instance, the company contracting to do construction work or the government entity responsible for the roadway was negligent and should be accountable.
You don’t have to determine what caused your truck accident or who is liable. When you hire a seasoned Palatka truck accident attorney from Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A., we will thoroughly investigate the accident. We will examine all possibilities of what caused the accident and whom to hold accountable so that we can maximize your compensation.
Proving a Truck Accident Claim
A successful truck accident claim involves proving several points known as the elements of negligence. The goal of your Palatka truck accident lawyer is to investigate and gather evidence proving each of these factors showing that the at-fault party is responsible for your damages.
They will need to establish:
- Duty: The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. For example, the truck driver should obey FMCSA regulations, follow the speed limit, and ensure they report medical issues they have. Often, state or federal laws or regulations set the standard for the duty of care, making it easy to establish in a personal injury claim.
- Breach of duty: The at-fault party failed to uphold their duty. For instance, perhaps a mechanic failed to inspect a part, or a construction company didn’t make a lane shift clear.
- Proximate cause: The at-fault party’s breach of duty was the most likely cause of your injuries. Your Palatka truck accident attorney must prove a direct link between their negligent actions and the injuries you suffer.
- Damages: As a result of your injuries, you incurred compensable damages. Depending upon the specifics of your accident, your damages might include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and scarring and disfigurement.
How an Experienced Palatka Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You?
Pursuing an injury claim while recovering from injuries can be highly challenging. This is why most truck accident victims choose to hire an experienced Florida truck accident attorney to represent their claim on their behalf. These types of claims are frequently complex.
Without the legal knowledge and experience to prepare your claim and stand up to large insurance and trucking companies, you will not recover full and fair compensation for your damages.
For example, our skilled Florida truck accident lawyers can:
- Meet with you shortly after your accident to gather all the pertinent details
- Collect and preserve essential evidence
- Perform a comprehensive accident investigation
- Hire a private investigator or other experts as necessary
- Interview any eyewitnesses
- Determine who is liable for your damages
- Set up medical liens if necessary and possible
- Research all available insurance policies or other sources of compensation
- Send a demand letter
- File your claim on time
- Help keep track of your medical bills and expenses
- Calculate your lost wages and income
- Account for and value your other damages
- Speak to the insurance company or other parties on your behalf
- Negotiate a settlement
- Take your case to court if we cannot get a full and fair settlement
- Pay your medical liens from a settlement or judgment
This isn’t a comprehensive list of everything our Palatka truck accident attorneys and staff can do for you and your case. A lot goes on behind the scenes when pursuing compensation for truck accident injuries. So it’s in your best interest to focus on healing and recovery while a qualified Palatka truck accident lawyer focuses on the rest.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
Florida has a four-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including truck accident cases. This means you have until the fourth anniversary of your accident to file a legal case against the person who caused your injuries. If you fail to do this, you will not receive any compensation for your injuries. When you hire a Palatka truck accident lawyer, they know the deadline to file your claim and work with that in mind.
Did You Suffer Injuries in an Accident? Let a Skilled Palatka Truck Accident Attorney Help
At Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A., our Palatka truck accident lawyers know just how devastating and traumatic these accidents can be. We’ve assisted clients who have escaped with relatively minor injuries and property damage, clients who were catastrophically and permanently injured, and those who have lost loved ones. We are committed to seeking maximum recovery for you no matter how badly a trucker or trucking company hurt you.
Call us today at (800) BAGEN LAW or contact online to meet with one of our skilled Palatka truck accident attorneys and learn more about how we can help.
We provide free, confidential consultations to all potential clients. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can help.
My experience was more than great, from the moment I acquired about their services to the moment my case was finalized and settled, there was steady communication, and I was consistently in the loop. They explain things to you in a way that you can understand and ensure that you are involved in the decision making. Everyone is super kind and stays in contact with you even after settling. They truly care about your well being and I will definitely keep them at the top of the list for any other cases.