Truck Accidents Frequently Asked Questions

What should you do after an accident with an 18-wheeler, tractor-trailer, semi or large commercial truck?

Contact the police or highway patrol to report any accident involving a commercial vehicle. A police accident report detailing the accident is essential to dealing successfully with the trucking company’s insurer. While waiting for the police to arrive, don’t make small talk with the truck driver or try to comfort the trucker by saying you’re okay or you weren’t really hurt. Injuries aren’t always evident. Sometimes, people walk away from a truck accident, but can barely turn their head or move the next day. If you have a camera phone, don’t be embarrassed about taking photos of the accident damage and the license plate number of the truck. Don’t leave until the police arrive.

An insurance adjuster for an at-fault trucking company called and offered a quick and easy settlement after a collision. Should you accept?

No, do not make any statements or sign anything until you talk to an experienced truck accident attorney and understand your legal rights. Initial settlement offers are generally very low and designed purely to limit the trucking company’s legal liability. Your lack of understanding of victims’ legal rights may work in favor of the trucking company and their insurance adjuster. After talking with a tractor-trailer accident lawyer, then you can make an informed decision.

Is it a good idea to have the lawyer who handled your car crash represent you after a truck accident?

Crashes involving commercial trucks are much more complex than fender benders involving two autos. When two cars collide, usually one of the drivers is at fault. When a tractor-trailer collides with a car, there may be multiple contributing factors, involving the truck driver, the maintenance of the truck and its brakes, the cargo and even the corporate culture of the trucking company. An experienced truck accident lawyer will examine an 18-wheeler accident carefully to determine all the responsible parties and will know the right documents to demand from the trucking company. Trucking companies will have experienced lawyers representing their interests, and you should, too.

If your car is hit by an 18-wheeler while you are driving in the truck’s blind spot on a South Florida highway, is the truck driver at fault?

Yes, generally speaking, if a truck driver changes lanes and hits your car or causes an accident, the truck driver may be held responsible for the injuries and damages they cause. It’s unwise to stay in a truck’s blind spot for any longer than needed to pass the big rig. But in heavy traffic, you may find yourself riding in the blind spot of a large truck and unable to pass because of traffic in front of you. The truck driver is still responsible for the accident, but you’ll need an experienced truck accident lawyer to assert your legal rights.

The truck driver said he was going the posted speed limit. But the Treasure Coast highway was wet and the trucker didn’t stop in time to avoid a rear-end collision with the car in front, injuring the car occupants. Is the truck driver negligent?

Yes, the trucker may be held responsible for the accident. Heavy trucks take a much longer distance to stop than a passenger car, and truckers are aware of this. Even if the 18-wheeler was going the speed limit, the truck driver may have been driving too fast for wet road conditions and can be found negligent in the accident.

Are accidents involving large trucks declining?

Yes, fortunately the number of truck accidents has declined nationwide in recent years. Yet Florida still ranks among the states with the most trucks accidents each year. The overall drop in accidents involving tractor-trailers, semis, semi trailers, flatbeds and other 18-wheelers is due in part to the economic downturn and a weaker demand for transportation of goods. Even so, because of their massive size in comparison to other vehicles on the road, large trucks are involved in a disproportionate number of fatal accidents each year.

Are there any rules about how long truck drivers can operate a big rig?

Yes, federal hours-of-service regulations restrict the number of hours that commercial drivers can be behind the wheel of a truck each day and each week. These rules are on the books because fatigued truck drivers are a hazard to other motorists on Florida highways.  In fact, fatigued driving is a cause of many truck accidents and highway crashes. A drowsy truck driver or automobile driver can cause a deadly accident. Despite their erratic schedule and long distances traveled, truck drivers should get adequate rest to be fully alert when they are driving a tractor-trailer.

Contact a Florida Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney

With more than three decades of experience handling truck accidents and personal injury claims, the law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, can help you and your family move beyond a serious truck accident. I am attorney Philip DeBerard, and I take pride in the personalized legal service our law firm provides people every day. People injured in truck accidents can demand compensation from responsible parties, including the truck driver, trucking company, freight shipper and truck equipment maker. We evaluate each 18-wheeler accident to determine all potentially liable parties to maximize your recovery. You pay no fees unless we win compensation for you.

Philip DeBerard – The South Florida Truck Accident Lawyer

Honest, ethical, hardworking — if those sound like character traits you want in a Florida accident lawyer, then you’ll want to talk with Philip DeBerard. At the law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, we pride ourselves on providing one-on-one attention that other firms fail to deliver. Choosing a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer does make a difference. Our law firm represents truck accident victims in StuartOkeechobeePort St. LucieFort PierceJupiter, Palm Beach and Vero Beach and throughout South Florida and the Treasure Coast.

Call 1-800-299-8878 to speak with a caring tractor-trailer accident attorney or fill out our online contact form.


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