Tampa Truck Accident Attorneys
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, nearly 32,000 medium/heavy trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds crashed on Florida roads in 2019. Hillsborough County alone saw 3,069 commercial motor vehicle crashes that year, while Pinellas County saw another 1,413.
Semi-trucks, also known as tractor-trailers or 18-wheelers, can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. That’s more than 20 times heavier than most passenger cars on the road. Because of their size and weight, big rigs need more time to react to traffic conditions and more space to come to a stop and avoid a crash. If they do hit another vehicle, it’s likely the people in the smaller, lighter car will suffer greatly, often resulting in catastrophic injuries or death.
Truck drivers are subject to causing crashes for all the same reasons that other drivers get into an accident, plus there are issues unique to trucking that make them even more susceptible to a collision. Truck accident claims are also typically more costly and more complex than accidents involving two passenger vehicles. The Tampa truck accident attorneys at Greco & Wozniak, P.A. have decades of experience representing victims of serious vehicular collisions, including semi-truck accidents. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident involving a tractor-trailer crash in Tampa, call our dedicated personal injury and wrongful death lawyers to investigate your case and help you recover the monetary damages you need and deserve.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
These are some of the main reasons behind truck accidents in Tampa:
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, nearly a third of all trucking accidents involve truck driver fatigue. Long-haul truckers, especially, put in exhausting hours behind the wheel, leading to fatigued and drowsy driving that causes driver inattention or even falling asleep at the wheel. Truckers who suddenly become alert in an emergency situation might also overreact, causing a catastrophic rollover or jackknife accident when an alert driver could have avoided a collision altogether.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates how long a trucker can be on duty or behind the wheel without taking a break. These hours of service regulations allow truck drivers to spend 14 hours on duty before taking as little as ten hours off and starting all over again. Drivers can spend 11 hours of their day behind the wheel and are only required to take a 30-minute break after eight hours of driving. A truck driver’s workweek can go for 60 hours over seven days or 70 hours over eight days straight before they are required to take just 34 hours off to restart their “week.” On top of it all, exceptions in the law allow drivers to lawfully exceed these limits when they encounter “adverse driving conditions.”
These hours are punishing enough, but truckers routinely violate the rules and drive even longer to maximize profit for themselves and their employers. Many are pressured by the trucking companies to make their deadlines even if it means driving longer than is allowed or safe.
Annual roadside inspections of commercial trucks, which are scheduled far in advance and well-known to trucking companies, routinely turn up a scary number of vehicles with serious defects. Typically, about one in five trucks inspected are immediately pulled from service due to serious safety issues. About a third of these problems are unsafe brakes, while another third are taken out of commission due to unsafe tires or wheels or improperly secured cargo. Even more than one in ten semis transporting hazardous materials get pulled from service for vehicle safety violations. Tire blowouts and brake failures can lead to serious accidents on the road.
Even though they have received special training and hold special licenses to handle a tractor-trailer, truck drivers are prone to all the mistakes other drivers make, including speeding, drinking and driving, and distracted driving, such as texting while driving. The difference is that when truck drivers make these mistakes and cause a crash, they might walk away unscathed, but the people in the vehicle they hit are likely to suffer catastrophic injuries or not survive the crash.
Professional Representation With Personal Attention After Tampa Truck Accident Injuries
Handling a truck accident case is much different than the process for a typical automobile accident claim. Because these types of lawsuits typically require cooperation with primary and excess insurance companies as well as the trucking company itself, they often involve dealing with aggressive defense tactics designed to try and avoid financial responsibility. For this reason, it’s crucial to obtain the services of a seasoned attorney who has experience in litigating truck accidents. At Greco & Wozniak, P.A., our attorneys understand the defense tactics of trucking and insurance companies, and we work with experts to expose the inaccuracies behind their defenses. We’re experienced in handling claims related to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, and we vigorously pursue compensation for our clients from the responsible parties.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a tractor-trailer semi-truck accident in Tampa, call Greco & Wozniak, P.A. at 813-223-7849 for a free consultation with a dedicated and experienced Tampa truck accident lawyer.