A fully-loaded large truck weighs more than 80,000 pounds. Even a very experienced driver usually has problems controlling such a large machine. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing truck driver shortage, such operators are often in short supply. In fact, in many cases, truckers go straight from driving school to the open road. As a result, the number of large truck accidents has increased significantly since 2009.
The diligent semi-truck accident attorneys at Payer Law work hard to obtain maximum compensation in these complex cases. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Since truckers have such a high duty of care, and since these incidents often cause catastrophic injuries, additional punitive damages are often available as well.
What Causes Truck Wrecks?
Fatigue, mechanical problems, and substance abuse are three of the most common causes of large truck accidents in Florida.
Generally, shipping and transportation companies pay drivers by the load instead of by the mile. So, unless they stay behind the wheel as long as possible, they often lose money on their runs. Drowsiness and alcohol have much the same effect on the brain and body. In fact, driving after eighteen consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level. That’s above the legal limit for commercial operators in Florida.
Furthermore, most people are naturally drowsy early in the morning and at midday, no matter how much rest they had the night before. Circadian rhythm fatigue is especially bad if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) recently changed work shifts.
Pre-existing conditions, such as sleep apnea, exacerbate these problems. These individuals basically doze all night. They get little, if any, deep, restorative rest. So, when they get up, they are already dangerously fatigued.
Bad brakes, non-working signals, and other mechanical problems often affect large trucks. These vehicles are designed to withstand considerable wear and tear. But every design has its limits. The duty of care requires these operators to frequently inspect their trucks and immediately take appropriate corrective actions.
As for substances, many truckers take mild stimulants, such as drinking lots of coffee, to stay awake. Then, they take over-the-counter sleep aids at night. Driving under the influence of stimulants, like caffeine, is dangerous. These substances impair judgement and motor skill control. And, the effects of a sleep aid often last for hours after the person wakes up.
Commercial operators, like truck drivers, have a high duty of care in Florida, as mentioned above. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. The higher duty of care makes it easier for an Orlando semi-truck accident lawyer to establish negligence, or a lack of care.
Velocity is a good example. The posted freeway speed limit is usually designed for small, passenger vehicles which are operating under ideal conditions. Truckers have a duty to slow down even more, especially when the sky is dark or conditions are otherwise less than ideal. Speed is usually a critical factor in vehicle collision claims. It increases the risk of a collision as well as the force in a collision.
Individual drivers are legally responsible for damages. The company which owned the truck is typically financially responsible for them, because of the respondeat superior doctrine. Employers are responsible when their employees are negligent during the course and scope of their employment.
Count on a Hard-Working Orange County Lawyer
Injury victims are usually entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced semi-truck accident attorney in Orlando, contact Payer Law. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.