Naples truck accidents can cause devastating injuries, long recovery times, permanent disability, loss of wages – immediate and long-term – and a mountain of medical bills.
As a thriving tourism community with hundreds of thousands of tourists and visitors each year (in addition to the roughly 22,000 who call this Gulf Coast city home), the roads are rife with rumbling delivery trucks, garbage trucks, rental trucks, moving trucks and 18-wheelers. All of these are a potential risk on the roads of Naples in Collier County, FL. This is particularly true on highways like I-75 and US-41, as well as in the downtown areas, where vulnerable road users like bicyclists and pedestrians navigate streets with tightly-packed parking and busy intersections.
As Naples truck accident attorneys with ample experience in this region and this complex area of tort litigation, Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, is committed to helping our clients secure the most favorable outcome possible. That means obtaining compensation for their injuries and losses, but also holding accountable commercial trucking companies and carriers who put profits and deadlines ahead of public safety.Truck Accidents Statistics in Naples
The Naples Police Department reported to state officials that in a single recent year, there were 30 commercial vehicle crashes within the city limits. Commercial vehicles aren’t necessarily all trucks, but typically most of them are.
That may not sound like very many, but it is higher than the national average. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports roughly 438,000 trucks are involved in crashes every year, which is about 8 percent of the total number of crashes (injuring more than 111,000 people and killing nearly 4,000). By contrast, Naples trucking accidents account for 10.3 percent of all crashes in the city. Truck accidents almost always cause at least some injury to occupants of other vehicles. Even when those hit by trucks survive, they very often require emergency medical care and hospitalization.Causation of Naples Truck Accidents
The reasons cited for causation in Naples truck accidents are legion. However, our injury attorneys aware of a few scenarios that occur time and again. As backed by data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, these include:
- Speeding. Traveling above the posted speed limit or faster than what’s safe given the current road conditions is a factor not only in causing truck crashes but in resulting in them being more serious (especially given that some of these trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds). The FMCSA cited in 23 percent of all trucking accidents nationally.
- Drug use. Use of drugs – illicit, over-the-counter and prescription – was cited as a causal factor in 26 percent of truck accidents. Although truckers tend to have lower rates of drunk driving than other motorists, their use of speedy substances that keep them awake – like cocaine and Adderall – were higher.
- Unfamiliarity with roads. This makes sense when you consider that truckers frequently travel into communities, cities and states in which they’ve never been before. They aren’t instinctively aware of the blind curve ahead or the fact that the light at a certain intersection changes abruptly. They must of course be prepared for any scenario, but this is nonetheless a common factor, cited in 22 percent of all truck accidents.
- Truck driver fatigue. Although it’s not the top factor it is often presumed to be, sleepy truckers still accounted for 13 percent of all commercial truck accidents in the U.S. A few years ago, a 51-year-old truck driver from Tampa was seriously injured (thankfully no one else was) after he fell asleep at the wheel and drifted off I-75, resulting in him jerking awake, overcorrecting and slamming into a median, where the truck caught fire, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The good news was no one else was hurt – that time.
- Distracted driving. This is a problem for all drivers. The FMCSA estimates it plays a factor for 8 percent of truck drivers who are involved in crashes.
Other factors cited included road rage/aggressive driving, equipment failure and truck driver inexperience.Determining Fault in a Naples Truck Accident
Because of the severity of these crashes, it’s typically recommended those injured speak to a Naples injury or wrongful death lawyer – regardless of fault. Firstly, Florida is a no-fault state, per F.S. 627.7407, which means everyone involved should be covered by personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. Unfortunately, even loyal customers are often startled to find themselves in for a fight with their insurer over PIP, even though it only covers – at best – up to $10,000 in certain medical bills (80 percent) and wages (60 percent). Secondly, Florida also follows a system of pure comparative fault, which means as long as you aren’t 100 percent at-fault for your injuries, you can still collect damages from a defendant who shares some of the blame. Let’s say your damages are calculated at $500,000, but you were 80 percent at fault. You’d still stand to collect $40,000. That often makes aggressively pursuing a claim still often worth the effort.
Another thing to bear in mind is there are often numerous defendants in truck accident cases. This increases the odds of fully collecting on those damages. Some examples of those against whom you might make a claim:
- Your own PIP auto insurer
- The truck driver
- The truck driver’s employer
- The owner of the truck
- The owner of the trailer or cargo
- The manufacturer of the truck or truck parts
- The company or individual responsible for truck maintenance or repairs
- Government agencies that fail to maintain roads
- Other drivers in addition to the truck driver who may bear some blame
- Private property owners who fail to trim foliage that obstructs drivers’ view
- Your own underinsured motorist auto insurance carrier
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it gives you a good idea of how complicated these cases can be. Your ability to collect damages from a certain defendant may depend on the liability contract they had with another. You need an injury law team that isn’t going to be surprised or overwhelmed by these technical legal issues and has strong connections with some of the most qualified expert witnesses in South Florida to help prove causation of the truck crash and your resulting damages.
Our long-time Naples truck accident attorneys can help you examine your legal options and determine the course of action most likely to result in success.
If you or someone you care about has been hurt, contact the Naples truck accident lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured. You pay us no fees unless we win.