Suffering injuries from a truck accident can devastate your life and those who depend on you. Large, heavy commercial trucks can cause significant damage to other vehicles on the road, destroying your automobile and leaving you with astronomical medical bills. When the truck driver or someone else is to blame, you are entitled to seek compensation.
At Howell & Thornhill P.A., we believe in standing up for victims and helping them fight back against the wrongful and careless actions of others. During a free initial consultation, you can speak with an accomplished Florida truck accident lawyer who will explain your options for financial relief. Contact us to schedule a meeting today and learn more.
When you are hurt and overwhelmed after a truck accident, you need to focus on healing. You must also trust that the legal professionals handling your case understand your needs and are committed to protecting your rights. At Howell & Thornhill, we put our knowledge, experience, and integrity to work for every client.
Howell & Thornhill has been the choice of thousands of clients since 1975 because:
● We are local: Our truck accident attorneys were born, raised, and live in the communities they serve. We understand the laws and people of our state and are committed to helping them.
● We work directly with you: Some firms rely on impersonal call centers to answer calls from prospective clients. When you choose us, you will speak directly with our attorneys.
● We meet you where you need us: Call us as soon as you need help, and we will meet you at your home, our office, or the hospital. We have seven locations across the Sunshine State, so we are always nearby.
● We supply vital resources: Our team has five attorneys, a full-time investigator,, and a registered nurse to research your injury claims.
● We offer a contingency fee structure: You pay nothing upfront for our services, and we only take our fees as a percentage of your settlement. You do not have to pay if we do not win your case.
In 2021, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles recorded 44,271 truck-related crashes across the state. Florida consistently leads the country in the number of injury and fatality accidents involving commercial trucks, and those in passenger vehicles often pay the price. While some Florida victims may play a role in some accidents, many causes of truck collisions are the fault of the truck driver, the trucking company, or other entities.
Our firm sees cases where truck accidents are caused by factors such as:
Drivers are under tremendous pressure to move freight more quickly than ever to meet shipping quotas. They may cut corners and drive for longer than allowed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations. By doing so, they put themselves at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel and causing disastrous accidents.
Loss of attention while driving a big rig can lead to sideswipe crashes, rear-end collisions, and jackknife accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that drivers who work continuously for more than eight hours double their chances of causing a crash. Fatigued driving has also been found to be nearly as dangerous as drunk driving.
Truck drivers often use special GPS devices to guide their trips and may need to adjust them en route. Just like other motorists, they may look at or use their cell phones while driving, taking their eyes off the road. Eating, personal grooming, changing music apps or the radio, and other behaviors can cause a truck driver to ignore changes in traffic.
Commercial trucks that measure over 70 feet long and weigh 80,000 pounds do not stop as quickly as other vehicles. A tractor-trailer can plow through cars and smaller trucks in front of it and experience a jackknife crash where the trailer damages vehicles beside it.
As with other driver mistakes, speeding becomes significantly more dangerous due to the size and weight of the 18-wheeler. Trucks take much longer to come to a complete stop, so drivers must obey the speed limits for any roadway. They should also consider weather and road conditions that may affect their ability to slow down in time to avoid accidents.
The use of alcohol or drugs while driving is dangerous enough for drivers in smaller automobiles. It becomes substantially worse when you add a massive truck with potentially unstable or heavy cargo. The use of alcohol while driving is a proven contributor to accidents, but truck drivers may also use energy drinks or other substances to keep themselves going for longer routes. Even prescription medications can impair a driver’s ability to react in time or make the right decision to avoid an accident.
A lack of training or experience can be blamed on the trucking company that hired the trucker. Ultimately, drivers must be honest with themselves about whether they are familiar enough with their routes to drive them responsibly.
Having to check a GPS indicator too often or not being fully comfortable with driving in all kinds of traffic and weather conditions can lead an inexperienced driver to cause devastating accidents.
When a truck or component for big rigs is poorly designed or manufactured, those who produced, sold, or marketed the component can potentially be held responsible for any accidents that result. While it may not be the only reason for a crash, if the tires are not manufactured to stand up to the demands of long-haul trucking or a steering system is poorly designed, it can make any other factor worse.
Our trucking accident lawyers are highly skilled in researching all aspects of your case to determine all liable parties. We will gather evidence to hold each of them accountable.
Even correctly manufactured and installed truck parts can fail if they are not inspected and repaired regularly. Routine maintenance is required to ensure systems and components do not malfunction at a critical time of need on the road. Trucking companies and drivers are responsible for performing regular safety checks and inspections.
Nearly 55% of trucks involved in an accident displayed at least one mechanical violation, according to the IIHS. Nearly 30% of tractor-trailers in that same report violated a regulation so seriously that the truck should have been taken out of service for repairs. Trucking companies that fail to keep their fleet safe put you and your family at tremendous risk, but our big rig accident lawyers will seek justice in your case.
When trucks are overloaded, they are more at risk for rear-end collisions when they cannot stop in time and are more likely to roll over or damage roadways. Most bridges have posted weight limits, and a too-heavy commercial truck could cause a catastrophic accident if the bridge fails.
Unbalanced cargo can shift during transport, pulling a trailer over and causing the truck to swerve uncontrollably. Your trucking accident attorney can help you file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the loading company.
Blind spot crashes can be especially dangerous for other drivers. Even though you should avoid these areas, it does not mean the driver is not at fault if you have a collision. However, it pays to understand where these areas are and how to stay out of them.
Blind spots are located on tractor-trailers’ front, rear, and sides. These vehicles are so large that their bulk makes it difficult for their drivers to see you if you are in these “no-zones.” It is easier to stay out of these areas on rural roads or city streets but much more challenging when traveling in heavy traffic on multi-lane highways.
The general rule about blind spots is that if you cannot see the driver’s mirrors, the driver cannot see you, especially when you are behind the truck. When you are “invisible” on the side of the trailer, you could get squeezed between the big rig and another vehicle when the truck driver starts to change lanes.
Be aware of these critical no-zones around a commercial truck:
● Front no-zone: Extending about 20 feet in front of the truck, you should not travel or change lanes into this area. The driver cannot see you over the nose of their truck.
● Side no-zone: Nearly all of the right side of a truck and trailer is the side no-zone. Avoid passing a truck on this side.
● Rear no-zone: Stay at least 200 feet behind the back of the trailer, making sure you can see the driver’s mirrors. If the truck driver brakes suddenly, you cannot see past the truck, and they cannot see you are there.
Victims of truck accidents often suffer life-altering injuries. They may be left with permanent disability or pain and need multiple surgeries to recover. Usually, the entire vehicle is heavily damaged, meaning all passengers could experience severe injury or death.
Our big rig accident attorneys have helped many clients recover emotionally, physically, and financially from these conditions. Examples of the injuries you could have after a truck accident include:
● Blunt force trauma
● Broken and fractured bones
● Head, neck, and back injuries
● Internal bleeding
● Loss of limb or amputation
● Organ damage
● Traumatic brain injuries
Any of these injuries can lead to months of recovery and treatment, accompanied by high medical bills and other costs. You could sink into a financial crisis without skilled representation from the 18-wheeler accident attorneys at Howell & Thornhill. We will develop a powerful case demonstrating negligence by the driver, trucking company, and all other at-fault parties to secure the maximum compensation available to you.
Trucking companies maintain extensive insurance coverage to protect themselves against accident claims, but getting a fair and appropriate settlement is rarely easy.
Since Florida is a no-fault state, your obstacles are even more difficult. Florida requires all drivers to rely first on their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to cover medical bills and other losses after any accident. This coverage includes:
● 80% payment for reasonably incurred medical expenses up to $10,000
● 60% payment for your lost wages while you cannot work
● $5,000 in benefits paid to your beneficiaries if you pass away from the accident
Fighting with your own insurance provider may come as a shock, but all carriers are in business to protect their profits. Rather than pay you what you owe, insurance adjusters will haggle and delay as they debate over what counts as “reasonably incurred” medical expenses. When your coverage is not enough, or your pain and suffering damages are significant, you may need to file a lawsuit against the trucking company’s insurance company.
You can also file a third-party suit against the company itself with the help of trial-seasoned truck accident attorneys who are not afraid to take on large trucking corporations. This allows you to recover all your losses in full, including the cost of future treatment and care.
Every claim is unique, but if you are forced to pursue a lawsuit against the trucking company or any other entity that played a part in your crash, you can potentially secure a larger settlement. In a trial, you can request compensation for all your losses, including the subjective ways your life has been affected.
Common damages include:
Your doctor, hospital, and rehabilitation bills will likely form the largest portion of your financial demands in a lawsuit. If you are rushed to the ER, your ambulance or helicopter fees can be included, as well as the cost of emergency treatment, ICU care, medications, and any special equipment needed to save your life. Afterward, you may need rehabilitation therapy, additional surgeries, or mobility devices.
If you need to renovate your home because you are left with a permanent disability, these expenses can form part of your damages. Losses like this are considered economic because they can be quantified with records and receipts.
Another economic loss you will likely suffer is the lack of income while you recover. If you are self-employed, this can be especially damaging. If you are injured so severely that you can no longer return to your previous job, you can request reimbursement for your lost earning capacity.
Likewise, you will miss out on time accrued for vacation, retirement benefits, pensions, or bonuses. You could miss important job assignments while you are injured, and your personal and professional reputations could be irreparably damaged.
Although they do not have a price tag, the pain and suffering you experience after a truck accident are no less valid than your medical bills. Because your injuries can be so severe from the size of the tractor-trailer, you will have a number of non-economic damages that will substantially impact your quality of life while you recover. They may even change your life permanently.
Examples of these subjective losses include isolation, fear, embarrassment, and grief from the loss of a limb or permanent disability. You could lose enjoyment in activities you formerly enjoyed or be unable to provide guidance and comfort to your family members. You could suffer emotional distress, mental anguish, anxiety, or depression. Many victims develop PTSD after a terrible truck crash. Every penny of these losses must be repaid by those responsible.
Our team is intensely focused on discovering the truth of each accident claim and identifying every avenue for compensation. You want to see justice for how you have been harmed, and we are dedicated to making that happen for every client. Our team works as a family, and we share that atmosphere with everyone who trusts us with their case.
Your Howell & Thornhill big rig accident lawyer provides critical services, such as:
● We investigate and gather evidence to support your claims of negligence and damages.
● Our in-house investigator will create a compelling presentation of how the crash happened and who is to blame, allowing us to persuade insurance representatives and juries to your side.
● We stay educated on recent changes and precedents in Florida and federal law that can impact the outcome of your claim.
● You can contact us anytime with your questions or concerns.
● We can conduct all conversations with insurance representatives for you, ensuring they do not take advantage of you when you are vulnerable.
● We negotiate fiercely to obtain the settlement you deserve for your losses.
● We prepare for court from the beginning, so we are ready if we must move to trial to secure the jury award you need.
Facing significant injuries that take time to heal means you already have enough on your plate after a truck accident. You need a team who will listen to your story with concern and then get to work making things right. When you work with a big rig accident lawyer from Howell & Thornhill, you can rest easy knowing that we are building the strongest case for your circumstances.
Contact us to schedule a free consultation with a Florida truck accident lawyer today.