Lawyer – Protecting Truck Accident
Injury Victims in Palm Harbor
Palm Harbor Truck Accident Attorney - Representing Clients in Pinellas County for Over Two Decades
- Attorney Jeffrey W. Hensley has a unique and aggressive set of skills that are vital to maximizing your compensation.
- Our award-winning attorneys have secured million dollar verdicts for our clients, making us one of the best law firms in Pinellas County.
- Based on our years of experience and multitude of positive reviews, we have been deemed a top injury law firm.
- Our honest lawyers are equipped with the skills needed to go to trial if necessary.
The images are haunting. Pictures of large trucks crumpled with smaller vehicles under them with damage so severe that you can’t tell the make and model of the car or small truck. Annually, there are approximately 700 drivers and passengers in semi-trucks, 18 wheelers or other large trucks who lose their lives with more than 4,000 drivers and passengers of smaller vehicles who die each year in those crashes. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, (DOT), there are many dangers for anyone on the road who’s involved with these types of semi-truck crashes. It’s not uncommon for a trucking company to implement regulations and requirements in an effort to minimize their liability and risk. But even with these efforts in place, safety can be compromised by factors such as truck overload, fatigued drivers, inexperienced drivers or drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol. That’s not to say that the truck driver is at fault in every serious trucking accident, but there are a number of cases where a motor vehicle accident involving a tractor trailer is the result of a negligent driver. If you’ve been injured in a big truck accident on Florida’s roadways, you have legal options to protect your rights and to cover your financial losses.
What is a Large Truck?
They are sometimes referred to as 18 wheelers, semi-trucks or trailer trucks. Technically, a truck is rated “large” when its weight exceeds 10,000 pounds.
These big trucks remain the preferred method of transportation and continue to be the major carriers in the shipment sector. It’s not at all uncommon to see a single truck carrying two or even three trailers, similar to a train, across the nation’s roadways. Unfortunately, when they’re involved in accidents on the road, the trauma is significant and loss of life is not uncommon. Medical treatment is always necessary and many wisely seek legal guidance right away. Our successes in these types of transportation cases are due to years of experience in representing clients who did nothing wrong, but who suffered injuries and losses anyway. We are aggressive in our representation; our clients depend on it.
I have known attorney Jeff Hensley for over 10 years. He is an exceptional personal injury and insurance attorney with a strong portfolio of multimillion dollar jury awards, hundreds of satisfied clients and an impeccable reputation of a highly qualified professional. Jeff is a perfectionist with a strong and detail oriented acumen, ambitious and humble. – Kalina Pagano
How Can a Lawyer Help in a Large Truck Accident?
Driver fatigue has been the cause of many accidents. Truck drivers can seriously injure or even kill victims, who can include motorcyclists, pedestrians and even a bicycle rider. Many clients believe that these cases are impossible to win because it’s impossible to determine whether a truck driver was exhausted to the degree of impairment. It’s subjective, they say. But many cases can successfully move forward toward litigation or settlement, as trucking companies are required to keep meticulous records for how long a driver is on the road. Drivers are required to take breaks to prevent over-tired drivers who endanger drivers’ safety. Trucking logs can often reveal violations in this regard, leaving the driver and trucking company potentially liable. Both the federal government and Florida laws are specific and if you’ve been involved in an accident with a big truck, a knowledgeable truck accident attorney who is experienced in these types of accidents can protect your rights and help ensure your future is protected against loss of income and overwhelming medical costs.
Recently, the Department of Transportation issued new rules to prohibit fatigued driving by making changes to the “hours of service” rules for truck drivers. It’s a bit complicated; however, it comes down to two major points. The first is that a driver must take a 30-minute rest break within the first 8 hours of their shift so they remain alert while driving on the roadways. The second updated rule is the requirement of a 34 hour rest period. It restricts drivers to just one rest period, which means they may not drive continuously for days with only a few rest periods thrown in for good measure.
Further, between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., regardless of the time they expect to be on the road, they must take at least two rest periods. In essence, it requires drivers to take a very real rest to catch up on sleep before working another stretch. These changes effectively meant that the average maximum work week for large truck drivers would be no more than 70 hours.
Many wondered why the rules were specifically targeted to fatigue issues when fatigue isn’t always the culprit. One need only to look at the statistics to understand why. National statistics, along with our law firm’s own research, shows that the top three causes of 18 wheeler crashes are driver fatigue, faulty maintenance practices and distracted driving.
Driver tiredness and fatigue is by far the number one culprit in these types of accidents. While this career brings with it its own stresses, many drivers face tough deadlines by their employers. It’s not uncommon for a big truck driver to earn his living solely by the number of miles he’s driven. The longer and further a driver drives, the bigger his salary. That means he may be willing to take a chance drive tired “just this one time,” especially if he’s facing financial difficulties at home. Commercial drivers often set unreasonable expectations for themselves and as a result, others must pay with their lives. Our firm can determine how long it had been since a driver had rested before an accident, how far he’d driven already and how far he had to go to make his delivery. Drivers are required to maintain immaculate logs and often, they are digitized using technology that makes it extremely challenging or even impossible to tamper with or falsify records.
The second most common culprit behind these crashes is poor maintenance. Whether it’s worn out tires, poor or absent braking systems or simple laziness, when lives are at stake, it’s never worth the gamble. Again, an experienced Palm Harbor truck accident lawyer can secure the documentation that supports claims of maintenance upkeep. Our legal team does this every day for our clients as our accident lawyers leverage a range of resources to help our clients secure compensation for their damages.
Finally, distracted driving rounds out the top three reasons. Let’s face it, it can become boring for anyone who’s on the road with nothing but endless miles ahead of him. Their phones, music and texting can become a form of entertainment and a break in the monotony. The bans that are in place are often ignored as more drivers refuse compliance. The records don’t lie, though.
Why Strong Legal Representation Matters
In order to present an effective case to a judge and possibly a jury, a personal injury lawyer has several requirements. Only those who are experienced and well versed in Florida law can handle many cases like these with any degree of confidence. They can be challenging. Palm Harbor truck accident lawyer Jeffrey Hensley one of the leading national authorities on traumatic brain injuries and other medical injuries common in these types of cases. His commitment to his clients is unmatched. He has successfully argued many cases involving these big trucks and understands the complexities. As a litigator, he has aggressively pursued insurance companies and other big industries. He has secured fair compensation for those who have suffered or watched helplessly as a loved one suffered serious losses and pain from another person’s negligent actions.
We invite you to contact our offices today to learn more about the options available for you and your family. Your initial consultation won’t cost you anything and you owe us nothing unless we win your case. Our clients rest easy knowing the full force of our Palm Harbor legal team is working for them to lessen the odds of the same tragedy being visited upon other families. Contact our law firm today to learn more about protecting your rights and your future, whether you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident, medical malpractice case or premises liability case. Speak with an experienced truck accident attorney to arrange a free, confidential evaluation by calling 727-781-3433.