Truck Accidents

Gainesville Truck Accident Attorneys

Experienced Legal Help for Commercial Truck Accidents in Gainesville, FL

If you or someone you love was involved in a car accident with a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, or another large commercial vehicle, you are likely dealing with significant physical, emotional, and financial challenges. These types of accidents tend to be extremely devastating, often leading to catastrophic injury and death. Getting back on your feet after a large truck accident can be difficult, but having an attorney by your side can make all the difference. 

At Schackow & Mercadante, our Gainesville truck accident attorneys have more than 126 years of collective experience. We have successfully represented clients throughout North Central Florida in all types of complex motor vehicle accident claims, including those involving semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles. We understand the ins and outs of the legal system, as well as how to protect your rights and the full, fair compensation you are owed.

Contact our firm today at (352) 261-6767 or use our secure online submission form to request a free initial consultation with a member of our team. 

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

A truck accident refers to any collision involving a large commercial truck, such as a semi-truck, tractor-trailer, or big rig. These accidents can cause significant damage to vehicles, property, and, unfortunately, often result in severe injuries or fatalities due to the size and weight disparity between trucks and other vehicles on the road.

Common causes of truck accidents include:

  • Driver Fatigue: Long hours on the road can lead to driver fatigue, impairing judgment and reaction times. Regulations exist to limit the number of consecutive hours a truck driver can operate, but violations still occur.
  • Speeding: Trucks traveling at excessive speeds have longer stopping distances and are more difficult to control, increasing the likelihood of accidents, especially on highways and curves.
  • Distracted Driving: Just like any other driver, truck drivers can become distracted by using mobile phones, eating, adjusting the radio, or engaging in other activities while driving, diverting their attention from the road.
  • Poor Weather Conditions: Rain, snow, ice, fog, and high winds can all contribute to hazardous driving conditions, reducing visibility and making roads slippery, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Mechanical Failure: Faulty brakes, tire blowouts, steering problems, and other mechanical issues can cause accidents. Regular maintenance and inspections are crucial for preventing such failures.
  • Improper Loading or Cargo Securement: If cargo is not loaded properly or secured adequately, it can shift during transit, causing the truck to become unbalanced or spill its load, leading to accidents.
  • Driving Under the Influence: Operating a truck under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and significantly impairs a driver's ability to operate the vehicle safely.
  • Aggressive Driving: Tailgating, weaving through traffic, and other aggressive behaviors increase the risk of accidents, especially when combined with the size and weight of trucks.
  • Inexperienced Drivers: Lack of experience or inadequate training can lead to errors in judgment or improper handling of the vehicle, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
  • Road Conditions: Potholes, uneven pavement, construction zones, and other road hazards can pose challenges for truck drivers and increase the risk of accidents.

Understanding FMSCA Regulations

Federal trucking regulations are a set of rules established by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations govern various aspects of commercial trucking operations to ensure safety, efficiency, and fairness in the industry.

Here's an overview of some main areas covered by federal trucking regulations:

  • Hours of Service (HOS): HOS regulations dictate the maximum amount of time that commercial truck drivers can spend behind the wheel within specific periods to prevent driver fatigue and reduce the risk of accidents. These regulations include limits on daily driving hours, mandatory rest breaks, and weekly maximums. Electronic logging devices (ELDs) are often used to track and enforce compliance with HOS regulations.
  • Licensing and Qualifications: Federal regulations establish minimum requirements for obtaining a commercial driver's license (CDL), including written tests, skills tests, and medical examinations. Additionally, certain endorsements may be required for specialized types of commercial driving, such as transporting hazardous materials or operating double/triple trailers.
  • Vehicle Maintenance and Inspections: Trucking regulations mandate regular inspections and maintenance of commercial vehicles to ensure they are safe for operation. This includes requirements for brake systems, tires, lights, steering, suspension, and other critical components. Inspections may be conducted by drivers themselves, as well as by certified inspectors and enforcement agencies.
  • Cargo Securement: Regulations govern how cargo must be loaded, secured, and transported to prevent shifting, spillage, or loss during transit. Proper cargo securement is essential for maintaining vehicle stability and preventing accidents.
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing: Federal regulations require commercial truck drivers to undergo drug and alcohol testing as part of pre-employment screening, random testing, post-accident testing, and reasonable suspicion testing. These measures are designed to detect and deter substance abuse among drivers, which can impair their ability to operate vehicles safely.
  • Weight Limits and Load Restrictions: Regulations establish maximum weight limits for commercial vehicles and their cargo to prevent overloading, which can compromise vehicle stability, increase braking distances, and cause damage to roads and infrastructure.
  • Insurance Requirements: Trucking companies are required to maintain minimum levels of liability insurance coverage to protect against potential damages and injuries resulting from accidents involving their vehicles.
  • Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs): ELDs are electronic devices installed in commercial vehicles to automatically record driving hours and duty status information, replacing traditional paper logbooks. Federal regulations mandate the use of ELDs to improve accuracy in tracking drivers' compliance with HOS regulations.

Identifying Responsible Parties After a Gainesville Truck Accident

Under Florida’s no-fault auto insurance system, you may be eligible for compensation through your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage after a truck accident. However, PIP only covers up to 80% of your medical expenses and up to 60% of your lost wages; it does not provide any compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

For many truck accident victims, this is simply not enough. 

The good news is that you may be entitled to go outside the no-fault system and bring a claim directly against the liable party. This requires proving that your injuries meet the state’s definition of a “serious injury” and that someone else was partly or entirely responsible for the accident. 

Determining who is liable for a truck accident is often much more difficult than identifying the liable party in a standard auto accident claim. This is because there are usually many underlying factors involved in large commercial vehicle collisions. Truck driver error or negligence may be one cause, but it might not be the only—or even the primary—reason for the accident. 

Depending on the specific details of your case, any of the following parties (or others) could be liable: 

  • The truck driver 
  • The trucking company
  • The company that owns or leases the truck
  • The truck driver’s employer 
  • A manufacturer 
  • The entity responsible for loading truck cargo/freight
  • A municipal or governmental agency
  • The party responsible for roadway maintenance 
  • Another motorist 

At Schackow & Mercadante, we have the resources to effectively investigate truck accident claims and determine who is liable for our clients’ damages. We work with accident reconstructionists and other experts to evaluate the cause of the crash, as well as the severity of your injuries and the effect they have had—and will continue to have—on your life. This allows us to develop powerful, evidence-based legal strategies and fight for the full, fair compensation you are owed.

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Why Hire a Truck Accident Attorney? 

 It is not unusual for a trucking company or its insurance company to offer a quick settlement that may be well below your financial needs. Never rush to settle with a defendant's adjuster following a collision with a commercial vehicle—but don't compromise your rights to seek compensation by waiting too long to act. 

Our lawyers can help you obtain the immediate medical care you need, as well as seek compensation for lost wages, long-term rehabilitation, permanent disabilities, and more. If you've been involved in a crash with any commercial vehicle, our truck accident lawyer can meet with you in Gainesville, Ocala, Lake City, or any of the surrounding areas to discuss the specifics of your claim. 

Contact us online or call (352) 261-6767 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Client Testimonials
  • “I met with Marie Banks to go over Car Accident Preparedness. She was awesome and so full of knowledge. Patient with all my questions and I left her office feeling good about the insurance I had and felt prepared if an accident were to happen. She treated me like family. Thank you! 10 out of 10 would definitely recommend.”

Common Causes of Large Truck Accidents 

Some of the most common causes of semi-truck, 18-wheeler, and other large truck accidents include: 

  • Truck driver error, negligence, and inexperience
  • Distracted driving, including using a cellphone
  • Speeding, reckless driving, and other traffic violations
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs 
  • Fatigued driving and hours-of-service violations
  • Negligent trucking company practices 
  • Overloaded or improperly loaded cargo/freight 
  • Poorly maintained trucks 
  • Improper truck inspections and repairs 
  • Defective truck design and/or parts
  • Inadequate roadway maintenance 
  • Dangerous road conditions 

By identifying the exact cause(s) of the collision, our Gainesville truck accident attorneys can determine who is responsible for your damages. We take the necessary time to investigate claims and evaluate all available evidence on behalf of our clients. 

Fighting to Maximize Your Recovery

Large truck accidents often lead to devastating, life-altering injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputation, and more. In many cases, these incidents are fatal. 

The point of filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim in the wake of a truck accident is to recover compensation for certain economic and non-economic losses resulting from the accident. A successful case can also provide a much-needed sense of justice, allowing you and your family to heal.

At Schackow & Mercadante, we fight for the maximum recovery our clients deserve. Our team is often able to recover compensation for the following types of damages: 

  • Emergency medical care 
  • Hospitalization 
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Surgeries and other treatments
  • Rehabilitation 
  • Physical therapy 
  • Future medical expenses 
  • Lost income/wages
  • Loss of future earnings 
  • Diminished earning capacity 
  • Physical and mental pain and suffering 
  • Emotional distress and anguish
  • Disfigurement 
  • In-home assistance and care 
  • Home modifications 

When a loved one passes away due to a large truck accident, our firm may be able to assist you in filing a wrongful death claim and seeking compensation for damages such as funeral/burial costs, medical expenses, lost income, lost inheritance, and loss of love, companionship, support, services, guidance, counsel, comfort, and society.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Truck Accident Lawsuits in Florida? 

After a truck accident, you have just two years to file your claim in court. If someone you love passed away, and you wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you have just two years from the date of death to do so. In any case, if you miss the filing deadline, and the statute of limitations expires, the court will almost certainly dismiss your case. 

We encourage you to act quickly, as two years is not very long when it comes to investigating and litigating your case. The sooner our Gainesville truck accident lawyers can begin reviewing the details of your case, the sooner we can start fighting for the justice you deserve.

Why Clients Trust Us

  • Personalized Advice & Concierge Level Experience
  • Direct Communication With Your Attorney
  • Over 125 Years of Combined Experience
  • Practicing in The Gainesville Area 55+ Years

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