Truck accidents in Immokalee are a source of serious and lasting injury for this small farming community of some 21,000 people in Collier County, Florida. Dump trucks, farm trucks, semi-trucks, farm equipment and delivery and moving trucks are commonplace on Immokalee’s thoroughfares and side roads, and sometimes cause horrific crashes when colliding not only with passenger vehicles but vans and buses carrying migrant farmworkers.
In just one recent year, local traffic investigators reported to state highway safety officials 650 commercial vehicle crashes county-wide in Collier, with a total of 700 commercial vehicle involved (meaning truck collisions involved more than one commercial vehicle).
While our Immokalee truck accident attorneys at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, recognize there is potential for serious injury and even death in any crash, the danger is unequivocally outsized when a large truck is involved. Overwhelmingly, those suffering the most in these crashes aren’t the truck drivers, but those who are struck by the truck, either as occupants in other vehicles or while walking or biking.Why Immokalee Trucking Accidents Are So Catastrophic
In general, trucking accidents aren’t as common as crashes involving passenger vehicles (thankfully), but they still kill 4,000 people a year and injure an additional 95,000, according to federal safety officials. Much of this has to do with size disparity, and the fact that tractor-trailers and semi-trucks can weigh up to 30 times as much as a smaller vehicle, plus they have wider ground clearance and they’re taller.
For that reason, Florida Civil Jury Instruction 401.6 notes the standard of reasonable care expected for those who transport passengers is “the highest degree of care,” meaning it is not simply to act outside of how a reasonable person would, but outside of how a “very careful person would” in like circumstances.
In looking at causation, a three-year sample crash study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration identified crucial reasons for truck crashes, which included:
- Physical driver error – 12 percent. This could be fatigue (fell asleep), heart attack, etc.
- Driver recognition error – 29 percent. This includes things like distracted driving, daydreaming and simply not paying attention.
- Driver decision error – 38 percent. These were things like misjudging the speed gap, traveling too fast for conditions, following too closely, false assumption of another road user’s actions, etc.
- Driver performance error – 6 percent. Panicking/freezing, overcompensating or failure to control a vehicle with the skill one might ordinarily expect.
- Vehicle-related factor – 10 percent. This could be things like failure of brakes, tires, wheels, trailer attachment failure, suspension failure, transmission failure, etc.
Here in Immokalee, it’s notable the region is primarily rural because FMCSA data reveals 61 percent of fatal large truck accidents occurred in rural areas and interstate highways.
Several truck types are noteworthy for their more frequent involvement in crashes in Immokalee. Those include:
- Dump Trucks. Numerous Immokalee dump truck accidents have made headlines for the fact that they have caused horrible collisions on Immokalee roads. The FMCSA reports dump truck accidents caused the second-most fatalities in the U.S. among all commercial vehicles (second to tractor-trailers). Dump trucks are dangerous because they are prone to rollovers. Plus, stringent deadlines placed on dump truck drivers mean they may be more likely to speed, cut corners and jeopardize safety. Just in the last several years, there was a dump truck accident in Immokalee that hospitalized four people when the trucker collided with two vehicles before overturning. He was charged with careless driving. In another case in 2018, a 54-year-old woman was killed in Ave Maria (near Immokalee) after she was struck by a dump truck on Camp Keais Road.
- Farm Trucks. These are designed for agricultural use but can include anything from a pickup truck to eighteen-wheeler trucks. They are employed frequently in, around and to-and-from Immokalee’s tomato fields. In 2017, a 62-year-old farmworker from Immokalee was walking down an aisle of a tomato field off Ballard Road in Myakka City when the driver of the farm truck ran over her as he was backing down the same aisle after he failed to see the woman behind him.
Because Immokalee trucking accidents can be so serious and because the cases against defendants so complex, it’s imperative you speak to an experienced trucking accident attorney in Immokalee as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances, you may have viable claims for workers’ compensation as well as grounds for third-party liability lawsuit against the truck’s driver, owner, commercial carrier, manufacturer, maintenance crew and others.
If you or someone you care about has been hurt, contact the Immokalee truck accident lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured. You pay us no fees unless we win.