Jacksonville Truck Accident Lawyers
If you travel on Jacksonville highways regularly, you may have seen a large truck crash into a smaller vehicle. If you’ve survived a big rig crash, it probably changed your life. Statistics tell us that truckers actually constitute some of the safest drivers on the road. They have far fewer accidents than other drivers, but when truckers do crash, they often cause extensive damage and devastating injuries.
Size constitutes the most significant factor in large truck crashes. Trucks’ weight and speed have the force to crush a smaller vehicle and severely injure its passengers. Large trucks cause significant harm, even while traveling at low speeds.
Just like other motorists, some truckers drive safely, while others take excessive risks. Truckers may drink alcohol and take prescription and recreational drugs, but still get behind the wheel. Truckers speed when trying to meet deadlines. They drive distracted, and they drive drowsy from too little sleep. These issues affect truckers’ ability to avoid preventable crashes. If you sustained serious injuries due to a large truck accident, call our Jacksonville truck accident lawyers today for a free case evaluation.
Determined, Relentless Legal Representation
At the Law Offices of Jared Spingarn, Accident Injury Attorneys, we have always believed that negligent drivers should face accountability for the losses they cause. Our law firm has supported this belief by providing dedicated legal services to make at-fault parties pay. When we’ve handled truck accident injury cases, we have intervened with negligent truckers, transport companies, their insurers, and their attorneys. Jared Spingarn has managed the legal issues and protected our injured clients’ rights. Our legal team has fought to resolve injury claims quickly and fairly while our clients took the time to heal.
Truck accident cases are often more complex than they seem. We have often found that more than one commercial entity shared responsibility for an accident. Our team has investigated each case to pin down the facts. We’ve taken steps to identify every viable defendant. We have determined each party’s degree of responsibility and placed all parties on notice of our intent to enforce our clients’ recovery rights.
Jared Spingarn’s first-hand personal injury experience enhanced his appreciation of the issues his injured clients often faced. He learned that when one person sustains an injury, it creates long-term emotional and financial struggles for the entire family. His accident experience sparked his commitment to determination, compassion, and relentless effort on behalf of his injured clients.
Our Firm’s Results
Jared Spingarn has always resolved claims based on the idea that he should do what’s best for his clients. He understands the importance of securing settlements that consider clients’ current and future needs. When adverse parties cooperate, our law firm resolves cases through productive settlement talks. We have negotiated face-to-face with insurance companies, self-insured entities, and their attorneys. We have resolved cases during mediation, court-mandated settlement conferences, and other informal settlement forums.
Regardless of our settlement posture, we have prepared each case to deal with every potential outcome. From the initial stages of our investigations, we’ve understood that some cases would ultimately end up in a courtroom. When necessary, we have initiated litigation, presented our evidence, and allowed a judge and jury to decide.
As each case involves a unique set of facts, we can’t predict a settlement or trial outcome.
However, we can share our case results to demonstrate our commitment to obtaining the best settlement possible.
- $1,350,000, Pedestrian: A vehicle struck our client while walking, causing a closed-head injury. Fortunately, he made a strong recovery.
- $975,00, Trip and Fall: A construction company’s negligent jackhammer use caused a dock structural failure. Our client sustained injuries while trying to avoid the collapse. Originally, the liability insurer denied our client’s claim for knee and neurological injuries. We settled during litigation.
- $975,000, Motorcycle Accident: A negligent driver struck our client’s motorcycle head-on. He sustained a spinal injury that required surgical correction. The responsible driver’s insurer denied liability. We eventually settled during mediation.
- $950,000 Rear-End Accident: The responsible driver struck our client in the rear. He sustained a spine injury and required surgery. We resolved his case through mediation.
Truck Accidents in Jacksonville
In Florida, as in other states, trucks face a higher risk of causing a multi-car accident than a two-vehicle accident, largely due to the truck’s large size and heavy weight.
The National Highway Transportation Administration’s most recent annual traffic summary shows.
- Ten of the 158 traffic fatalities that occurred in Duval County involved large trucks.
- Twenty percent of truckers involved in fatal accidents had at least one previous speeding citation.
- Large trucks have a disproportionately high crash rate based on the total number of vehicles registered.
- Only Texas and California had more large truck-related traffic fatalities than Florida.
Why Truckers Cause Accidents
The media regularly reports newsworthy truck-related topics from trucker shortages to driverless rigs. Until a big rig crashes into your car on a Jacksonville highway, you never imagine that these news stories have anything to do with you.
With such a high demand for transport services, the industry doesn’t have enough truckers to fill the need. This forces the available drivers to spend far too much time on the road. To help meet the demand, trucking companies sometimes hire inexperienced and unqualified drivers. These and other issues have become part of the dynamic that contributes to large truck accidents. Autonomous truck manufacturers have been testing driverless rigs. These companies hope to reduce the need for human drivers and the risky driving behaviors that cause serious accidents.
Driver exhaustion often contributes to truck accidents because truckers routinely exceed maximum drive-time hours, largely the result of high trucker demand, time-sensitive deliveries, and trucker shortages. Federal hours of service rules have always held drivers to limited hours on the road. Some truckers easily fudge their paper logs.
Now that federal regulations mandate Electronic Logging Devices, some truckers and their employers have found ways to tamper with electronically recorded data as well. This practice helps fatigued truckers continue driving when they should take a break. The practice also falsifies the data that helps determine if drive-time violations contributed to an accident.
Truckers must train, qualify, and pass Commercial Driver’s License licensing exams and skills tests. State and federal laws regulate trucker and transport company requirements and practices.
- Federal Title 49, Transportation laws establish CDL Standards.
- Florida CDL candidates must complete training at an approved driving school and comply with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles CDL guidelines.
- Florida truckers must know and understand the codes and guidelines in the FLHSMV CDL Handbook.
Despite these requirements, unqualified truckers often make it through the licensing and job application process. This happens when those responsible for testing, training, and licensing implement fraudulent CDL schemes. It also occurs when trucking companies overlook known problems with trucker credentials. Some drivers get their licenses but later demonstrate that they don’t have the qualifications to meet the demands of driving a large truck.
The existing pool of truckers continues to age. Some have left their trucking careers, which constitutes one of the main reasons for the trucker shortage. For aging, sometimes obese truckers who remain on the job, medical issues often become a problem. The National Transportation Safety Board sees obstructive sleep apnea as a primary health concern for older drivers. It prevents truckers from getting quality sleep, contributes to drowsiness on the road, and often goes undiagnosed. The NTSB believes that obstructive sleep apnea should disqualify truckers from driving. The CDL medical certification form includes a question about sleep difficulties, but it relies on an honest response from the trucker.
Improper Cargo Securement
Sometimes, truck accidents occur when improperly loaded or secured cargo suddenly shifts. This happens when a driver accelerates, decelerates, or makes a sudden maneuver. Cargo securement issues cause trucks to overturn, jackknife, or spin into another vehicle’s path. Often, a contractor or trailer owner loads and secures a trucker’s cargo. Truckers have the ultimate responsibility to ensure that their cargo complies with the FMCSA’s cargo securement rules.
Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Like other drivers, some truckers consume alcohol and use recreational, prescription, or illegal drugs. As these substances contribute to accidents, the federal transportation code requires transport companies to establish detection and treatment programs. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires pre-employment and post-accident substance tests. The agency also requires that transport companies check a new employee’s history using the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.
FMCSA also established a schedule of periodic trucker substance abuse tests, including:
- Random testing
- Reasonable suspicion: When a driver appears under the influence
- Return-to-Duty: When a driver returns to work after previously testing positive
- Follow-up: Up to six tests within 12 months for drivers who complete the return-to-duty process.
Despite stringent regulations and test requirements, truckers still cause accidents while alcohol and drug-impaired. Tests can pinpoint drugs in a trucker’s system. Federal and state authorities are still struggling with standards to determine when a driver’s drug consumption causes functional losses.
The NTSB recognizes that electronic devices are a big aspect of the distracted driver problem. The NTSB has determined that hands-free devices constitute as much of a distraction as handheld devices. The agency recommends that motor vehicle laws nationwide ban all digital devices from use while driving. Florida law prohibits texting, emailing, and instant messaging while operating a vehicle.
The Florida Distracted Driving dashboard shows the following recent one-year distracted driving statistics.
- Total accidents: 48,537
- Total fatalities: 308
- Total bodily injuries: 2,756
These statistics don’t indicate the number of commercial trucks involved in these accidents but do demonstrate the extent of the problem.
When a trucker speeds, it not only increases the chance of a collision, it also causes a more forceful crash. Speeding reduces a driver’s ability to control a vehicle. When paired with a truck’s weight, speed increases the force of a crash. When the NTSB investigates major highway crashes, they find that speed is a major factor in causing vehicle fatalities. Investigators consider speed based on conditions, not just posted limits.
Why Truck Accidents Cause Serious Injuries in Jacksonville
Large trucks don’t always cause catastrophic or fatal injuries. Still, they rarely have an accident that doesn’t cause serious harm. Large trucks weigh a minimum of 10,000 pounds, but that’s the low end of the legal weight range. A fully loaded truck’s weight increases and so does its capacity to cause vehicle damage and injuries. The NHTSA’s most recent Large Truck Safety Facts explains that heavy trucks, those weighing 26,000 pounds plus, play a role in nearly 70 percent of truck-related fatalities.
A private passenger vehicle weighs an average of 5,000 pounds. When fully loaded with cargo, a large truck’s weight legally maxes out at 80,000 pounds. A truck’s weight-driven power easily crushes a smaller vehicle. It prevents seatbelts, airbags, and steel reinforcements from effectively protecting the occupants. Truck accident victims often require emergency treatment, extensive medical care, and rehabilitation.
Victims may suffer from lifetime disabilities, career and income losses, and lifestyle changes due to these and other injuries.
- Head trauma and traumatic brain injury
- Multiple fractures
- Spinal cord trauma and paralysis
- Severe sprains and strains
- Traumatic amputations
- Soft tissue injuries
- Fractured and herniated discs
- Severe fire and chemical burns
- Internal organ damage
- Fatal injuries
Liability for a Jacksonville Truck Accident?
A truck driver bears responsibility for his negligence behind the wheel. When he’s operating the truck on behalf of his employer, their relationship makes the employer responsible for the trucker’s actions. Commercial trucking involves several complex relationships. Some companies create contracts that spell out specific responsibilities.
When other relationships exist, they all share some degree of liability for the injured person’s damages.
- Employer/Transport Company: Employers may bear liability for their negligent actions and for the actions they failed to take. Often, this involves hiring and supervision. For example, a company that knew or should have known that a trucker had an adverse driving history but hired him anyway may face responsibility for that decision. Another example involves a company that doesn’t take steps to intervene when an employee has a substance abuse problem.
- Truck Owner: Vehicle owners sometimes share liability when they lease or rent a truck to a negligent driver. Often, contracts include a hold harmless clause that minimizes the owner’s liability. These agreements don’t eliminate liability if a truck defect causes an accident, and the owner knew but leased it anyway.
- Shipper/Loader: A shipper or loader may bear responsibility when their actions caused or contributed to a jackknife or overturn accident that caused damages or injuries.
- Maintenance/Repair Contractor: Independent repair contractors may bear liability for their negligent repairs or maintenance when they cause or contribute to an accident.
- Truck Manufacturer: A truck manufacturer shares liability when their defective truck or a component caused or contributed to an accident.
Damages Recoverable From a Jacksonville Truck Accident
In Florida, we work to produce the best settlement possible for our injured clients. Recoverable damages often include Economic Damages, General Damages, and sometimes Punitive Damages.
We base this portion of our clients’ claims on out-of-pocket costs incurred during treatment and recovery. A financial expert also helps us calculate future costs for settlement purposes.
Economic damages often include:
- Lost income
- Hospitalization costs
- Doctor bills
- Mobility structures and devices
- Physical and psychological therapy
- Medical transportation
- Replacement services
- Funeral expenses
General damages include costs to reimburse damages based on your accident and injury-related feelings and emotions.
General damages often include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Marital and family disruption
- Functional losses
- Temporary disabilities
- Permanent disabilities
Florida law allows a jury to award punitive damages. An injured plaintiff must show clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s actions in causing your injury constituted “intentional misconduct or gross negligence.”
Call Our Jacksonville Truck Accident Attorneys Today
If you sustained serious injuries due to a large truck accident, you need immediate, aggressive legal assistance. Truck accidents involve complex legal and injury issues. Let the Jacksonville truck accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Jared Spingarn deal with these challenges while you take the time to heal. Give us a call at (866) HIRE-JARED or send us a message through our contact form, and we will provide a free case evaluation and answer any questions you may have about your Jacksonville truck accident claim.
“What a great team. Took care of my accident case and got me a very great settlement. Thank you so much to the team for their great efforts and always being transparent with all the information they provided. Highly recommend they will take care of you like family.”
5011 Gate Parkway, Building 100, Suite 100
Jacksonville, FL 32256