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Truck Accidents Are In A Class Of Their Own

Traffic accidents are, unfortunately, a regular occurrence all over America, including right here in Florida. In some ways, the mild Florida weather that makes the climate so forgiving raises the risk of various accidents. Not only are residents driving during the day and night for work and recreational purposes, but tourists are also too. Florida's reputation as a year-round haven of good weather brings in "snowbirds" from other states and countries who take up residence here for part of the year, as well as tourists enjoying the landscape or the numerous attractions. On top of that, the gentle weather also makes it possible for motorcyclists to take to the highways and streets throughout the year, so there's a lot of traffic to keep an eye out for.

Unfortunately, one of the largest vehicles on the road, the freight hauling truck, is not immune to accidents. Due to the large size and considerable mass of a truck and its cargo, accidents involving trucks are a special case unto themselves. Here's why truck accidents should be approached carefully, with a unique set of considerations all of their own.

They Are Always More Serious

One of the most prominent and tragic consequences of any truck-related accident is that the potential for severe injury and death is much greater. This is because of the size and mass of a truck. In the same way that a person riding a bike doesn't have to worry about a collision with an insect causing them to crash, other vehicles on the road always lose in a confrontation with a truck.

The physics of a traffic accident with a truck always favors the truck. The truck's size and mass, combined with the speed at which a truck travels, means that a truck in motion carries massive kinetic force. It also means that trucks lack the agility of cars or motorcycles to make quick, evasive maneuvers.

All of this is to say that when a smaller, lighter object, such as a car, motorcycle, bicycle, or person, gets hit by a truck, in most instances, the truck will only get slowed down. However, the other participant is much more likely to get more than just a dent or a fender bender. Serious injuries or even death are common consequences of accidents where trucks are involved.

It's Not Just The Truck

Beyond the truck's potential damage, there is another factor with truck accidents to contend with, and that is the freight. It's not just the mass of the truck itself that is a factor; cargo is another extremely dangerous variable. Logs, for example, have been hauled by trucks and come loose, spilling onto the road and endangering other vehicles.

In other even more dangerous cases, trucks hauling combustibles like gasoline, bound for gas stations, have overturned on the road. This has sometimes resulted in breached storage tanks, creating a conflagration that endangers all the people and vehicles in the immediate area. A car or motorcycle accident is only focused on the vehicle's damage and the passengers. Depending on the type of accident and cargo involved, trucks can cause much more worry and damage.

Finding Accountability

However, the one area where trucking accidents enter a league of their own is placing responsibility on the right shoulders. With a typical car accident, this procedure is simple. In a car accident involving two drivers, for example, one driver is usually at fault. Once it is determined which driver is at fault, that driver—and the driver's insurer—now take responsibility for any financial compensation that may be due.

In the case of professional trucking, however, it is not always this cut and dried. In some instances, it may be this simple, such as if a truck driver is drunk. But there are numerous other scenarios where the truck driver is not responsible. Therefore, assigning blame and seeking compensation becomes more complex. These situations include:

Improper Maintenance

Another factor that can affect accountability is mechanical failure. Depending on the situation, a truck driver may not be responsible for the maintenance of a truck. Another company may be under contract to repair and maintain a vehicle fleet. So if a truck accident is the result of mechanical or engine failure, that may be the responsibility of the repair and maintenance company, not the truck driver.

Logistics Errors

In some cases, such as cargo coming loose and spilling into the road, the fault with a cargo-related accident may fall upon the company responsible for loading and securing the freight. This is another duty that does not fall upon the truck driver, meaning that an investigation must be carried out to determine whether the cargo was loaded negligently or not.

If you find yourself injured in a truck accident, you may be due for compensation. However, assigning responsibility for that compensation may be complex. Talk to an experienced trucking accident lawyer to find out how to proceed.

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