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Tampa Personal Injury Lawyers / Tampa Truck Accident Lawyer

Tampa Truck Accident Lawyer

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) defines a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) to include any vehicle with a weight rating over 10,000 pounds, yet big rigs like semi-trucks, tractor-trailers and 18-wheelers can reach weights up to 80,000 pounds, surpassing the weight of even the largest SUVs many times over. For 2021, the FLHSMV reported 2,781 CMV accidents in Hillsborough County, a nearly 15% increase in truck crashes over 2020 that resulted in 824 injuries and 24 fatalities. These numbers ranked Hillsborough County third in the state for the most truck accidents in Florida, while neighboring Pinellas County ranked ninth out of Florida’s 67 counties.

The Tampa Bay area sees plenty of truck traffic and plenty of truck crashes throughout the year. Tampa is intersected by I-75, with fully loaded semis speeding from Miami to the Canadian border and back, as well as the I-275 loop through Tampa, St. Petersburg and Bradenton. The I-4 also comes through here and is one of the only direct routes between Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Where the I-4 meets I-275 in downtown Tampa is unsympathetically known as Malfunction Junction and is a rush hour nightmare for motorists. This interchange alone is responsible for 1,000 crashes a year and is considered to be the 69th worst truck traffic bottleneck in the country, according to the American Transportation Research Institute.

At Florin Gray, we’ve recovered millions of dollars for victims of all types of motor vehicle accidents in Florida. Truck accidents require special skills and knowledge to successfully handle these complex claims. Luckily, our firm is staffed with a team of very experienced attorneys with diverse backgrounds and skill sets, allowing us to custom-build the best legal team to tackle the unique issues in your case. Truck accidents are often serious and require serious representation. Call our experienced Tampa truck accident lawyers today.

Leading Causes of Truck Accidents in Tampa

Because semi-trucks are so much larger and heavier than the average passenger vehicle, the occupants of the car in a truck crash are likely to suffer catastrophic injuries or death in a collision with a tractor-trailer. In addition to striking vehicles with deadly force, the size and shape of 18-wheelers make them susceptible to unique accidents and injuries that don’t occur in other vehicle collisions. These include:

  • Underride accidents – A car that strikes the rear or side of a semi-truck can ride under the trailer, which sits several feet off the ground. The result is that the top of the car can be crushed or sheared off, leading to deadly results for the occupants. Federal law requires rear underride guards but does not currently mandate side underride guards. Further, the regulations for rear underride guards are weak and outdated, and many trucks are not equipped with the right kinds of guards to help prevent these often fatal crashes.
  • Override accidents – An override occurs when the truck rear-ends a vehicle at high speeds and drives over the car, crushing it.
  • Jackknife accidents – If a trucker chooses the wrong braking method to stop a semi suddenly or on wet roads, the truck can jackknife out of control, causing the trailer to swing out perpendicularly to the cab. Jackknife accidents can take out numerous vehicles across several lanes of traffic.
  • Rollover accidents – When a truck’s cargo is unbalanced or unsecured, or if the trucker loses control in a jackknife crash, the truck can roll over onto its side, creating untold chaos and disaster on a highway across all lanes of traffic.

Truck drivers can cause truck accidents by engaging in many of the same negligent behaviors other drivers can be guilty of, such as distracted driving, drinking and driving, speeding, aggressive driving, tailgating, failing to signal before turning, and failing to check blind spots before changing lanes. Other leading causes of truck accidents are particular to the trucking industry itself. These include:

  • Drowsy driving – Driving for long stretches on Florida roads is fatiguing, and commercial truck drivers put in more hours than anyone, sometimes driving for 11 hours a day during 14-hour shifts for seven or eight consecutive days. And that’s just if they stay within federal requirements, which many don’t. Truckers who continue to drive when they should be resting risk nodding off, falling asleep at the wheel, or causing a bad wreck because of inattention due to drowsiness.
  • Negligent truck maintenance – Annual roadside inspections have revealed that about one in five CMVs are too dangerous to be on the road due to bad tires, bad brakes or missing brake components, non-working signal lights, malfunctioning coupling devices and other serious safety issues. Truck companies can and should be held liable for crashes that occur because they failed to maintain their fleets in safe working order.
  • Negligent cargo loading – Loading a truck bed or trailer properly is critical for safety. An overloaded trailer can cause the truck’s tires or brakes to fail. If the load isn’t balanced properly, the trucker could lose control and go into a jackknife or rollover. Improperly secured loads can also come loose and fall off of or out of the trailer, creating hazards for scores of vehicles on the highway that encounter falling and flying debris. These accidents could be the fault of multiple parties, including the truck driver, the driver’s employer, the freight company, the freight shipper, or a third party contracted to load the trailer. Identifying all responsible parties and holding them accountable are some of the complex issues a truck accident attorney has to deal with to ensure that accident victims are duly compensated for their harm.

Call Florin Gray Today

If you have been injured in a truck accident in Tampa, or if you lost a loved one in a fatal truck crash caused by the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company, the attorneys at Florin Gray can help you get the justice and compensation you need and deserve. Contact our experienced Tampa truck accident lawyers today.