Due to the size and design of semi-trucks, those unfortunate enough to get into an accident with one often suffer dire consequences. It seems as though every week, there’s another devastating truck accident on the I-4 or I-75 heading in and out of Tampa Bay. While many accidents are caused by human error, there have also been incidents involving self-driving truck accidents in the news as well.
As a driver, it’s vital to know how to handle this unfortunate situation if it arises. Here is everything you need to know about truck accidents that you will, hopefully, never have to use.
Important Stats About Tampa Truck Accidents
While truck accidents can happen anywhere, some places are more susceptible to accidents than others. Every city has those few notorious on-ramps or intersections where people tend to collide, such as Himes Avenue North and Waters Avenue in Tampa – one of the area’s most dangerous intersections. Ask any local truck accident lawyer, and they’ll identify the hot spots for your area.
When it comes to truck accident fatalities, Florida is third in the country, following Texas and California. It’s estimated that 10% of all accidents in the state occur with commercial vehicles. Of course, not all commercial vehicles are semi-trucks, but the Federal Highway Administration surmises that at least 42% of commercial vehicles are semi-trucks, with travel logs upward of 100,000 miles per year.
All of this is to say that there are a lot of trucks on the road, especially on major highways. If you’re someone who commutes on a major highway, you’re at increased risk for experiencing an accident.
Leading Causes of Truck Accidents
Unsurprisingly, the leading cause of truck accidents is driver error — up to 87%. It’s worth noting that the truck driver doesn’t necessarily cause that high percentage of human error; car drivers are often at fault.
Still, truck drivers are more likely to experience fatigue due to long hours while driving a vehicle with limited visibility. It’s always wise to remember that if you can’t see a truck’s mirrors, the driver can’t see you. Still, the truck driver has a responsibility to be vigilant on the road.
Common Injuries From Truck Accidents
Truck accidents tend to be catastrophic, and it’s rare to walk away unscathed. Many car drivers who get in a truck accident experience:
- broken bones
- internal bleeding
Even those with considerably minor physical injuries often experience mental health disorders like depression, anxiety and PTSD.
What To Do if You’re in a Truck Accident in Tampa
If you’re in a truck accident in Tampa Bay, there’s a good chance that you won’t be able to do anything at the scene. Getting the medical attention you need is the top priority. It’s still worth knowing the steps to take in case you experience or witness a truck accident.
Contact the Tampa Police Department
The first step is to contact the authorities. The police will need to document the accident and start an investigation into the cause of the accident. At this time, you should be mindful of what you say to avoid accidentally assuming fault. If you’re a witness who is calling for help, stay on the scene and share your recollections as clearly as possible.
Document the Scene Of The Truck Accident
If possible, take some photos of the scene for your records. While the police will also capture this information, having your own copies is crucial during a lawsuit.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Skip ahead to this step if needed. Even if you feel fine immediately following the accident, you should still proceed to the nearest emergency room. Adrenaline has a way of shielding the extent of one’s injuries, and issues like internal bleeding are both fatal and hard to detect. Getting medical assistance will also start a paper trail of your injuries for insurance, time off, and other potential legal matters.
Contact a Tampa Truck Accident Lawyer
In addition to the physical and mental side effects of a truck accident, you could also experience financial repercussions. Paying a deductible, covering medical costs, or making up for lost employment adds up quickly. Call a truck accident lawyer in the Tampa Bay area as soon as possible before talking to the police further or settling an insurance claim.
A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer will help determine if you have a viable case. Florida is a comparative negligence state; fault can be legally shared. That means if you’re 40% responsible for the accident, you can still seek damages for the other 60%.
The aftermath of an accident is a lot of work. You’ll have many phone calls and paperwork to navigate in the days and weeks following the accident. It’s essential to prioritize self-care during this time, allowing yourself permission to rest and heal.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help or delegate tasks as you recover from your accident. Working with a truck accident lawyer will also help you offload some of the communication process to an expert.
Driving Safely Near Trucks To Avoid Accidents & Injuries
Remember that prevention is the key to never having to use this guide. Avoid sitting on a truck’s blindspot, always give trucks the space to stop, and be vigilant.
With this guide, you’ll know what steps to take if you experience or witness a truck accident in Tampa.