After a recent wave of articles concerning an increase in trucking crashes, I wanted to shed some light as to the importance of hiring a personal injury attorney with experience in these types of crashes as opposed to a “jack-of-all-trades” personal injury attorney.
Trucking crashes are much more complicated than typical car crashes.
Assume you’re involved in a crash with a tractor-trailer or box truck. Which vehicle would you think exerts more forces on your vehicle … a Honda Civic (weighing 3000 lbs) striking you at 100 miles per hour or a tractor trailer (weighing 30,000 lbs) striking you at 10 miles per hour?
The answer is that the forces exerted are the SAME. The tractor trailer delivers 10x the force of the Honda Civic at equal speeds.
Even “low-impact” crashes (5-10 mph) with a tractor trailer can cause significant injuries.
Why are there so many trucking accidents in South Florida?
- The size of the vehicle (i.e. 18 wheelers)
- The weight of the vehicle (overloaded / oversized trucks) (sometimes up to 80,000 lbs)
- The age of the vehicles (in need of new tires / brakes)
- The congestion on the highways (I-95 / Turnpike)
- Increased construction
- Poor infrastructure
- Other poor drivers (elderly / teenagers)
- The use of cell phones while driving
- More trucks on the road as a result of an increase in online shipping.
- Truck drivers can drive up to 20 hours per day – often in violation of Federal Safety Laws
- Truck drivers can be sleep deprived -– in violation of Federal Safety Laws
- Truck drivers oftentimes lack training (driving) -– in violation of Federal Safety Laws
- Truck drivers oftentimes lack training (load capacity) –in violation of Federal Safety Laws
- Truck drivers can be distracted drivers – in violation of Federal Safety Laws
- Trucking companies oftentimes hire unqualified drivers (i.e. criminal records, poor driving history, etc.)
Why are trucking accidents more complicated than normal car accidents?
- The injuries are (typically) more significant (i.e. brain injuries) as opposed to soft-tissues injuries. Your attorney should have extensive knowledge of CT Scans, Diffuse Tensor Imaging (DTI), etc. In cases of wrongful death, your attorney needs to know how to set up an estate for the deceased and secure death benefits from his/her auto insurance (PIP).
- The crash is more significant which may require an investigator to go out to the scene to preserve evidence (i.e. photograph crash scene / skid marks / interview witnesses). Your attorney may need to hire an Accident Re-constructionist or, at a minimum, someone to inspect the vehicle with laser-sited equipment to measure the crush (i.e. damage).
- Commercial vehicles contain a black box / event data recorder (EDR) within their electrical components. This is a read-write memory device the can determine what the commercial vehicle was doing before, during, and after the crash. It also measure “crash-like events” (i.e. when the brakes were applied / airbags deployed / etc.) It is important to preserve this black box / EDR before it is overwritten or the truck is sold.
- Truck drivers are oftentimes TRAINED how to respond to a crash / what to say to you on scene (i.e. denying liability). It is not uncommon for trucking companies to have accident investigators on-call to be dispatched to the scene of the crash setting up their legal defense. Sometimes these accident investigators arrive before the police.
- Truck drivers are oftentimes TRAINED how to falsify logs (to make it seem like they were in compliance).
- Trucking companies often quickly replace/repair any property damage before it can be inspected/preserved by the Plaintiff’s attorney. If the vehicle is repaired, it is done by “their shops” to minimize the damage.
- Trucking companies often quickly delete video (cameras inside vehicle) before it can be inspected/preserved by the Plaintiff’s attorney. On one case we acquired video showing the truck driver texting while driving.
Finally, if you or a loved one is involved in a trucking accident, you will be bombarded by unethical attorneys / “runners” texting you, calling you and even showing up at your house to sign up your case. These attorneys / “runners” acquire your information by illegal means. Some claim to work for the State of Florida: Victims’ Advocates.
They are liars; this is a scam.
DO NOT SIGN UP WITH AN ATTORNEY “RUNNER” WHO CONTACTS YOU “OUT OF THE BLUE” AFTER A CAR CRASH.
Please see these recent articles about the dangers of trucking-related crashes
If you have any questions following a trucking accident, please call one of our experienced trucking attorneys at 954.462.8035 for a free consultation.