Representing Victims of Trucking Accidents
Dedicated to Helping You following an Accident
At Moody Law, our personal injury lawyers are dedicated to fighting for those who are injured or killed in truck accidents. We have obtained millions in verdicts and settlements for clients affected by the negligent actions of truck drivers, trucking companies, and equipment manufacturers. We can help achieve a successful resolution to your case. A truck accident lawyer at our offices in Bartow and Lakeland, FL, can protect your legal rights and seek compensation for your losses. Contact us online or call (877) 883-9090 today to schedule a free case review.
Truck Accident Lawsuits
Because of the damage that trucks can cause, truck drivers are held to a higher standard than the average motorist.
Truck drivers have a professional and legal obligation to exercise caution, to be heedful of traffic laws, and to respect other motorists when operating a commercial vehicle. If it can be shown that a truck driver or trucking company was negligent, a truck accident lawyer from our law firm can help you obtain the compensation that you deserve by holding the appropriate parties responsible for their actions.
The enormous size and weight of commercial trucks make them a unique threat on America's roadways – a collision between an 80,000-pound tractor trailer and a 3,000-pound passenger vehicle is likely to be catastrophic. Additionally, the majority of fatal truck accidents occur on non-divided, two-lane roadways.
“A family of four was traveling on vacation using U.S. Highway 27 for their trip to Walt Disney World. They were stopped at a traffic light when a fully loaded semi-tractor trailer rear-ended the family vehicle. One family member was killed and the other suffered serious injuries. In litigation, Mr. Moody took a video deposition of the defendant truck driver who admitted that he was in violation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for sleep deprivation and for too many hours on the job without adequate rest. Punitive damages were claimed, resulting in a $5,600,000 award.”
National Truck Accident Statistics
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, nearly 4,000 died in large truck crashes in 2016. Put another way, about one in 10 highway deaths involve a large truck. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that since the late 1970’s, 12 to 13 percent of all fatal crashes in the U.S. involved a large truck. In 2012, 3,921 persons were killed in collisions between a large truck and an automobile, and of those, 2,843 were riding in the smaller vehicle.
The NHTSA report showed that 95 percent of collisions between a large truck and a car involved either the front of the truck or the front of the other vehicle. The front of the truck was the point of impact in approximately two out of three two-vehicle crashes that included a large truck, and about half of these accidents were head-on collisions. In cases where police reports cited mechanical problems related to an accident, the truck was cited 70% of the time.
Trucking Accidents in Florida
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that Florida consistently holds the #3 position nationally for traffic fatalities involving big rig trucks. Only California and Texas have more fatal truck crashes (and fatal traffic accidents of all kinds) than Florida.
In 2012, there were 214 Florida fatalities involving a large truck, and 185 of the victims were riding in the smaller vehicle. According to a report issued by the NHTSA, Florida was the site of 5 percent of all fatal U.S. accidents involving commercial trucks. Florida was #1 for fatalities involving smaller, single-unit commercial trucks, with 8 percent of these occurring in the state. For every 1,000 miles of public road in Florida, there were 2.6 trucks involved in fatal crashes.
The CSX Rail Terminal
Innovations in the shipping industry offer numerous benefits to our economy. At the same time, they can subject motorists to increased hazards as a greater number of freight carriers are introduced to surrounding traffic. One such innovation is the CSX rail terminal, considered the most technologically sophisticated intermodal terminal in the country. It uses enormous cranes to unload containers from trains directly onto trucks. But while the terminal certainly has its advantages, it will also increase the number of big rigs in our area, which can make the roads more dangerous for motorists. If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial trucking accident related to work at the CSX terminal, our attorneys can determine whether the negligence of a driver or company is to blame, and help you collect the damages you deserve.
What Is the CSX Rail Terminal?
Located off State Road 60 near Lake Wales, the rail terminal opened in early April 2014 and has been heralded as the first facility of its kind in the U.S. Also known as the Central Florida Intermodal Logistics Center, the technologically advanced terminal will increase economic efficiency to an unprecedented level by using massive cranes to load and unload containers directly from trucks to trains. Once it reaches full operating capacity, the terminal is expected to process 300,000 containers a year.
How Will The Development Affect Local Drivers?
Not only will train traffic increase dramatically around Lakeland and Winter Haven (the terminal is adding two inbound and two outbound trains per day), but the number of freight carriers will also increase. Despite the innovative technology that will guide truck movement at the terminal, the increased number of trucks places other drivers at increased risk of accidents on nearby roadways. Additionally, the terminal is expected to increase local manufacturing developments in the future, with even more commercial traffic being generated. In fact, the property on State Road 60 has already been rezoned to accommodate a second business park.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
There are many common causes of truck accidents that may be considered grounds for filing a lawsuit. We can review your case and help determine your lawsuit eligibility.
- Driver negligence (including violations of federal and state trucking regulations)
- Driver fatigue
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to properly maintain the vehicle
- Improperly loading a truck
- Inadequate driver training
- Defective equipment
It may also be possible to file for additional compensation if it can be shown that a truck driver's or trucking company's negligent actions exacerbated the effects of a motor vehicle crash. For example, if a truck driver failed to abide by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles' hazardous cargo regulations, and additional damage occurred as a result, our law firm will help ensure that the liable party is punished for such negligence.
An accident between an automobile and a 10,000-pound truck can have devastating consequences. This is why truck drivers and the trucking industry are held to a much higher standard. The drivers of semi trucks, tractor trailers and 18-wheelers, along with their employers, are strictly regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Florida Department of Transportation.
Companies employing a truck driver (also called motor carriers) may be held liable in the event of an accident resulting from a driver’s infraction. They are expected to maintain a strict standard for hiring and training, and to ensure that their employees take proper rest breaks and otherwise obey laws and regulations.
Truck drivers are required to undergo specialized training and to pass a road test to receive certification. There are strict guidelines for drivers regarding the number of hours they can drive, the freight they can carry, maintenance of their vehicles, and much more. Since safety is paramount, an individual may not be permitted to work as a truck driver if a physical impairment or limitation could affect his or her ability to operate the vehicle.
Traffic Rules for Truck Drivers
In the case of inclement weather, truck drivers are expected to exercise extreme caution, taking measures such as reducing speed or pulling over to stop. Rules for alcohol and drug use are extremely stringent, often prohibiting the use of certain cough medications and prescription drugs.
Other violations that can constitute negligence or reckless disregard on the part of a truck driver include:
- Running a red light
- Excessive speed
- Blocking the road
- Parking to cause a hazard
- Improper turning
- Aggressive driving
- Inattention to road conditions
- Distraction by electronics
- Locking brakes and steering into oncoming traffic
Trucking Company Records
Both state and interstate trucking laws require trucking companies to keep very specific records of their drivers' actions and their vehicles. The information contained in these files can have a dramatic effect on the outcome of your claim. Our experienced trucking accident attorneys can comb through these extensive records and identify data that may swing the case in your favor or influence the amount of compensation to which you are entitled.
Motor carriers have an obligation to inspect, repair, and maintain their vehicles regularly. Federal regulations mandate they are required to keep maintenance records for at least one year. Additionally, the drivers have a duty to perform a pre-trip inspection of the vehicle before departing, and a post-trip inspection upon arrival. Failure on the part of the company or the driver to adhere to these requirements can establish proof of negligence in your case.
Driver Safety Records
Trucking companies must obtain detailed histories of their employees' driving records. During the process of hiring a new driver, employers are required to obtain the driving records for the past three years from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). These records include license suspensions, traffic violations, and any accidents and injuries that the driver was involved with. Motor carriers are also required to ask previous employers if the driver has ever had any safety or substance abuse issues that may affect their driving. The final hiring requirement is a medical examination to identify any conditions that might make the driver unsafe on the road. Although these criteria are outlined in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, some companies fail to complete (or blatantly disregard) these important steps for monetary gain. Similar to maintenance records, failure to meet any of these standards can establish negligence on the part of the trucking company.
Drivers are legally allowed to drive a maximum number of hours per day and week. The records of the trucking companies' delivery schedules will indicate if these rules have been violated. This is especially important to establish liability when driver fatigue is suspected.
Our experienced attorneys can identify these or other rules violations during a records review for your case.
Why Choose Moody Law?
The exclusive focus of our practice is providing legal representation for those who have suffered injury or death because of the negligence of another party. Moody Law has litigated hundreds of personal injury cases, and has represented many individuals and families affected by the negligence of truck drivers and trucking companies. Our attorneys find great satisfaction in helping these clients rebuild their lives following an accident. Beginning with your first consultation, we work to form a bond of trust. We will do everything in our power to ensure that you and your family are justly compensated.
Effective Trial Representation
Daniel Moody and his associates have extensive experience representing clients in cases against large companies and insurance firms, and we are known for an aggressive, thorough approach. We approach each case with research, expertise, and confidence. We have secured multi-million dollar recoveries in several trucking accident cases. In one high-profile case, a family was awarded $5.6 million after their loved ones were killed in a collision caused by the fatigued driver of a commercial semi-tractor trailer truck. This stands as one of the largest jury awards ever obtained in Polk County.
Expertise and Dedication
At Moody Law, we work as a team, so you will receive the expert attention of three experienced attorneys and five paralegals. Our work in the area of trucking law is backed by extensive knowledge of the regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Florida Department of Transportation.
Our clients can expect regular communication, and never have to wonder about the latest developments in a case. We will keep you informed, and you are always welcome to contact us with any questions. Our attorneys are responsive to client calls, making every effort to meet or speak with you by phone as soon as possible.
If you are involved in a trucking accident, you can obtain immediate help from our Rapid Response Team. If you call us from an accident scene, we can dispatch a team of investigators and experts to immediately begin the process of documenting evidence needed to build your case.
Immediate Help at the Accident Scene
With the Rapid Response Plan, a team of investigators and experts can be dispatched to the scene of your accident as soon as it takes place. You can call our office at any time of the day or night, seven days a week, and someone will answer and arrange immediate help. As a new client of Moody Law, you will benefit greatly from the efforts of the team, who will work to secure the scene and gather important evidence that can provide invaluable support for your case.
The Rapid Response Team spends as long it takes at the accident scene, collecting and preserving evidence for accident reconstruction. This documentation process can include:
- Extensive photography
- Vehicle inspections
- Measurement of tire tracks and other relevant evidence
- Recorded witness statements
- Drug or alcohol testing
- Securing log book records
Building Your Case
With the help of evidence gathered by the Rapid Response Team, the attorneys at Moody Law will begin their strategic preparation of your case. We will meet and speak with any and all victims as soon as possible, and will work to establish a bond of respect and trust. We want you to know we will do everything possible to ensure that justice is served, and that you and your family are compensated for all pain and suffering. A team of three attorneys and five paralegals may be involved in your case.
Because of the damage that an 18-wheeler, tractor trailer, semi or other large commercial truck can cause, truck drivers are held to stringent safety standards under the law. Trucking companies and their employees are expected to follow rules and regulations regarding time spent driving, truck maintenance, hazardous road conditions, and alcohol and drug use. Truck drivers must also obey an extensive set of specialized traffic laws.
We examine all circumstances and aspects of trucking accidents to help our clients collect the damages they need to rebuild their lives following an accident. These damages can cover medical costs, loss of current and future wages, and possibly punitive damages for pain, suffering, and loss of quality of life.
Coping with Fatal Trucking Accidents
In some cases, a charge of wrongful death may be included in your personal injury lawsuit. There is no amount of financial compensation that can make up for the loss of a loved one. Still, the loss of a family member has lasting financial as well as emotional repercussions. Victims' families need outstanding representation to ensure that they collect damages they will need to cope with these losses. Our compassionate attorneys are here to help you collect the damages you will need to cope with your loss.
Damages may be awarded for actual losses, such as medical costs and loss of current and future wages, as well as punitive damages for pain and suffering. Punitive damages are more likely to be awarded when reckless indifference is established on the part of the driver or motor carrier, in addition to negligence. Motor carriers also must keep detailed records and carry mandatory insurance, usually the MCS-90 endorsement, that pays judgments for negligence even if the truck is not covered under its insurance policy.
Trucking Accidents FAQ
Who can be held liable in a truck accident case?
Each truck accident case is unique and can be very complex. Over the years, Mr. Moody has handled numerous high profile large trucking accident cases. A lawyer from Moody Law can review your claim and help determine which parties to file a lawsuit against. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, it may be possible to file suit against the following parties:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The truck or trailer owner
- The owner or loader of the hazardous freight
- The manufacturer of a defective part
- A third-party maintenance company
- A Federal or State Motor Carrier
What compensation can I receive?
Even though every case is different and it is impossible to determine the value of your case or the compensation that you may be eligible to receive without first conducting a thorough case review, the plaintiff can typically obtain financial compensation for medical costs, rehabilitation costs, loss of wages (including future wage loss stemming from an inability to work or lost earning capacity), loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience and pain and suffering. If a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury or wrongful death, it is also possible to obtain financial compensation on his or her behalf.
How do truck accident cases differ from auto accident cases?
Truck drivers are trained and certified professionals who have an obligation to operate their vehicles with due care under specific regulations and laws dealing with commercial truck drivers. Because truck drivers are held to a higher standard than regular motorists under the law, and the cases are often worth far more than a standard accident claim as a result of the defendants' resources, it cannot be overstated that truck accident cases differ greatly from standard auto accident cases. Truck drivers also must obey strict federal and state guidelines on the number of hours they drive, repair schedules, warning signals, as well as what type of freight is carried and on what roads that freight is carried. Failure to obey these strict guidelines may have been the cause of the crash.
Is there a statute of limitations for personal injury claims?
Yes. If the statute of limitations expires, you permanently waive your right to file a lawsuit for financial compensation. If you believe that you have a claim, it is important to contact the personal injury attorneys at Moody Law as soon as possible. We can review your case and determine whether you have met the statute of limitations. It is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible, as filing a personal injury lawsuit can be a long, involving process. Providing your attorney with ample time to prepare your case can prove advantageous. Also, an attorney may be needed to preserve valuable evidence. If you do not act quickly, this valuable evidence may be destroyed or lost.
Why should I hire a personal injury lawyer?
Large trucking companies and insurance companies have the resources to mount an extensive defense strategy. To give yourself the best chance of obtaining the financial compensation that you are entitled to, it is important to seek the legal counsel and representation of an experienced attorney. In most cases, the faster you hire a lawyer the sooner evidence and facts supporting your personal injury or wrongful death case can make a difference on the outcome. It is important in trucking accident cases and automobile accident cases that an investigation to preserve the crash scene with photographs, measurements, and an inspection of all of the vehicles. At Moody Law, we have our own investigative experts who are skilled at accident reconstruction and preserving scene evidence.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a truck accident, an attorney from Moody Law can provide the guidance and advocacy you nee. Our attorneys can help you obtain compensation for your losses and expenses.
To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, or obtain immediate assistance from our Rapid Response Team, please give us a call at (877) 883-9090 today. We look forward to helping you and your loved ones rebuild your lives.