Melbourne Truck Accident Attorneys
In the United States, we continue to depend on large trucks to move a significant percentage of our goods and materials across the country. Although these motorized giants are a critical component of our domestic economy, the sheer size and weight of these trucks mean that they pose a significant risk to other motor vehicles sharing the roadway with them. When a truck is involved in a collision, the occupants of the other vehicle(s) often suffer serious, even fatal, injuries.
If you were injured in a Melbourne truck accident you likely suffered physical injuries, emotional trauma, and the accompanying financial hardship. Trying to determine who is liable for your injuries and pursuing compensation on your own adds unnecessary stress to an already difficult situation. The experienced Melbourne truck accident attorneys at Layman Law Firm, P.L. can help. Our experienced truck accident attorneys have extensive experience and a wealth of resources at their disposal to ensure that all responsible parties are identified and that you are fully compensated for all your injuries.
Melbourne Truck Accident Facts and Figures
At any given moment, there are around 12 million large trucks operating within the U.S. according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Each year, those trucks average 300 billion miles of travel and are involved in over 500,000 accidents. As of 2019 (the most recent figures released by the FMCSA), truck accidents resulted in more than 150,000 injuries with about 5,000 of those involving a fatal injury. Unfortunately, Florida consistently ranks in the top 10 truck fatality states, according to FMCSA data, with a fatality rate of 0.16 for 2019.
Melbourne Truck Accident Causes
Trucks are subject to numerous state and federal laws that dictate everything from who may operate the vehicle and for how many hours each day to how often the vehicle must be inspected and maintained. Despite all these laws intended to keep everyone safe, serious injury truck accidents still occur on a regular basis. Common contributing factors in a truck accident include:
- Driver Fatigue. Federal laws that set limits on the number of hours a driver can operate a truck — and that impose mandatory rest periods — have been in place for decades. Driver fatigue, however, continues to be a leading cause of trucking accidents in the U.S.
- Distracted Driving. Handheld electronic devices have dramatically increased the number of accidents attributed to distracted driving over the last decade. Although federal law prohibits the use of these devices by truck drivers, distracted driving continues to cause serious truck accidents every year.
- Impaired Driving. Impaired driving – which includes impairment by alcohol, illicit drugs, and prescription/over-the-counter medications — continues to be a factor in many trucking accidents.
- Lack of Proper Training. Having the required type of driver’s license is necessary to legally operate a truck; however, a driver must also be properly trained. Lack of proper training, or insufficient training, can lead to an accident.
- Equipment Failure. Pre-trip inspections along with regular maintenance are mandated by federal law for large trucks. Despite these requirements, equipment failures often contribute to collisions if a driver rushes through an inspection, or an owner fails to follow the required maintenance schedule.
Steps to Take Following a Melbourne Truck Accident
If you were injured in a Melbourne truck accident, knowing what to do next is the key to ensuring that you are compensated for all the injuries suffered in the accident. With that in mind, take the following steps if you are ever involved in a truck accident:
- Have a medical evaluation done immediately. Always have a complete medical evaluation done immediately, regardless of the severity of your apparent injuries. Many life-threatening injuries do not produce identifiable symptoms until hours (even days) after the injury. In addition, an immediate examination helps provide proof that your injuries are related to the truck accident.
- Document the accident. Call 911 and report the accident immediately. When possible, take photos of the accident scene and the vehicles involved using your cell phone. Obtain contact and insurance information from everyone involved in the collision and all witnesses as well.
- Consult with an experienced attorney. When a truck is involved in an injury accident, there is a strong likelihood that victims will be contacted by the trucking company’s insurance company shortly after the accident. Do not speak to the insurance company without first consulting with an experienced truck accident attorney. Liability in a trucking accident is often complex which is one of the many reasons you should not discuss the accident with anyone prior to consulting with an attorney.
Who Is Liable for Injuries in a Melbourne Truck Accident?
In a trucking accident, it is not uncommon for more than one party to share fault (in legal terms referred to as “negligence”). For example, any of the following parties might be fully or partially liable for injuries sustained in a truck accident:
- Driver. If the driver was distracted, fatigued, or impaired, the driver would be at least partially responsible.
- Trucking Company. If the trucking company that owned the truck violated any state or federal safety rules, they could be held responsible.
- Truck Manufacturer. A defect that contributed to the collision could result in liability on the part of the truck manufacturer.
- Owner of the Cargo. If the cargo itself contributed to an unsafe condition that, in turn, contributed to the crash, the owner of the cargo could be held responsible.
- Maintenance Company. Trucking companies often have a third party maintain their trucks. Negligent repairs or maintenance can contribute to a truck accident in which case the company responsible for the repairs/maintenance could be held accountable.
- State or Federal Government. State and federal agencies are responsible for the condition of roadways, and things such as guardrails along those roadways. Improperly designed, maintained, or repaired roadways can all contribute to a collision, making a state or federal government agency liable.
Am I Entitled to Compensation for My Melbourne Truck Accident Injuries?
If you were injured in a Melbourne truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for both your physical and emotional injuries, including:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation and other care costs
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Diminished qualify of life
If you are a surviving family member of someone who was fatally injured in a truck accident, you may also qualify as a claimant in a wrongful death lawsuit. In a wrongful death lawsuit, compensation may be awarded to a claimant if the victim was a spouse or parent who can no longer provide the companionship, care, and support they provided prior to the accident.
Contact the Experienced Melbourne Truck Accident Attorneys at Layman Law Firm, P.L.
If you suffered injuries in a collision involving a truck, or you lost a family member in a fatal truck accident, contact the experienced Melbourne truck accident attorneys at Layman Law Firm, P.L. to discuss your legal options. We are committed to ensuring that truck accident victims are fully and fairly compensated by the responsible party or parties. Contact the team today for your free initial consultation by calling 321-773-2111 or by filling out our convenient Intake Evaluation Form online.