Tag Archives: Florida Truck wreck lawyer

Big Truck Wrecks, Why Are These Cases So Different?

18-wheelers, big trucks, semi-trucks, however you may refer to them, they are all potentially deadly when coupled with careless operators. When these Big Trucks wreck, they usually have life and death consequences. For this reason, trucking company insurance companies treat every collision in a much different manner than regular automobile insurance companies.

Big Truck Insurance Company’s Accident Response

For example, if you are involved in a wreck between passenger vehicles and the insurance companies are just typical automobile insurance carriers like State Farm or Progressive, they will rarely visit the scene and even less rarely hire law firms to assist with the accident investigation. Big truck insurance companies, however, do both. As soon as a Big Truck insurance company learns that a wreck has occurred, they will immediately dispatch an investigator to the scene of the collision. Within hours or a day or so, they will also usually hire a local law firm to help coordinate the investigation.

Big Truck Insurance Company Investigation

Having an investigation conducted before the injured parties even know the extent of their injuries gives the Big Truck’s insurance company a huge advantage over the evidence in the case. Having a law firm involved early also protects this information from being discovered later since investigations performed in anticipation of litigation are privileged and do not have to be disclosed to any opposing party.

The timing of the investigation is important in these big truck wrecks since the physical evidence and witness testimony will remain fresh for only so long. The sooner an investigation can be conducted, the more reliable the information will be for those conducting the review.


According to truck accident statistics, a great majority of these accidents occur due to mechanical difficulties, especially those related to tires or brakes. Other than that, most accidents are caused by driver fatigue, lack of information regarding the route, as well as job pressure and aggressive driving.

Why It Is imperative For Injured Parties To Also Have An Investigation Done.

Since the Big Truck insurance companies are responding immediately, it is imperative that the families of injured victims also respond as quickly as possible. Ideally, the injured party wants to have an investigation conducted at the same time. If the injured party can get on the scene at least as fast as the big truck insurance company, then it will assure equal opportunities to discover and preserve the evidence and witness statements.

Witnesses and Video Evidence

These days, video evidence is also prevalent. Nearby businesses and vehicles close to the scene of the wreck are all potential sources for video evidence. These sources, however, will remain intact forever. Most systems will record over videos within a week, sometimes less. This means the investigation must contact these potential sources within the first several days following a wreck. As you can imagine, the footage from these big truck collisions can be quite compelling. If the footage is not helpful to the trucking company, you can bet it very well may never see the light of day. If, however, the injured party has their investigator working at the same time, there is less of an opportunity for any improper evidence collection (or destruction).

Five Must-Know Facts About Truck Accidents

  1. A 52% increase in these accidents has been noted since 2009.
  2. 74% of all fatal passenger vehicle cases include a large truck.
  3. Tire defects account for around 30% (the most common cause) of all truck-related accidents.
  4. Most of these accidents occur during the day — between noon and 3 PM, up to 19%.
  5. 68% of all truck fatalities are passenger vehicle occupants.

If you or a loved one is a victim of a big truck wreck, it is vital that you hire a law firm that has experience with these wrecks. This experience will bring with it a law firm investigator that will be on the scene and hopefully be there before the big truck insurance company’s investigator and law firm show up. Feel free to contact our firm at zarzaurlaw.com or 855Hirejoe.


Learn More About What To Do If You Are In An Accident From Our Car Wreck Checklist >

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.


Car Wreck Checklist




24 Disturbing Truck Accident Statistics (2022 Edition)

Trucking Accidents: You Need a Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer

Florida Truck Wreck LawyerTrucking Accidents and a Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer

Anyone who is handling or screening a Florida Truck Wreck case will usually immediately seize upon one or two FMCSR’s which they strongly believe were violated by the truck driver or trucking company. In fact, a thorough investigation of most trucking cases will reveal one or more violations. Once violations are identified, a Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer will then ask the  question: how can I best use the violation in the case?

Like so many legal questions, the answer is – it depends. You may use the violation(s) to establish a general pattern of negligent conduct or you may attempt to prove negligence per se based on the violation. In either case, you can develop a strategy for determining when such violations are advantageous to a Florida Truck Wreck Case case by considering the following:

1) Does the applicable FMCSR apply to the subject vehicle?

2) Is the FMCSR violation the result of an act or omission by the driver, by the company/employer or does it relate to the condition of the tractor/trailer?

3) Did the defendants also violate more stringent internal operating rules?

4) What are my potential theories of negligence based on the violations?

5) Were the violations likely a proximate cause of the collision and/or Injuries?

6) If so, what are the relevant authorities governing the use of FMCSRs for proof of negligence and/or negligence per se in the Eleventh Circuit or other relevant jurisdictions?

7) Will I need, or can I use, an expert, to establish the applicability of the FMCSRs, the violation, and/or proximate causation?

Determine Whether the FMCSR’s Apply to a Florida Truck Wreck Case

The FMCSRs apply to all commercial motor vehicles defined as:

any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle—

(1) Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or

(2) Is designed or used to transport more than eight passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or

(3) Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or

(4) Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C. (49 C.F.R. § 390.5)

Interstate commerce means trade, traffic, or transportation in the United States—

(1) Between a place in a State and a place outside of such State (including a place outside of the United States);

(2) Between two places in a State through another State or a place outside of the United States; or

(3) Between two places in a State as part of trade, traffic, or transportation originating or terminating outside the State or the United States.

Intrastate commerce means any trade, traffic, or transportation in any State which is not described in the term “interstate commerce.”1

A Florida court will have to first decide whether the “essential character” of the shipment was INTRAstate versus INTERstate before determining whether to apply the FMCSR’s to a Florida Truck Wreck Case.  The key question to determine is whether the FMCSR applies is again a surgery of the “essential character” of the particular shipment.  Texas v. NOR Co. v. Sabine Tram Co., 227 U.S. 111, 122, 33 S. Ct. 229, 233, 57 L. Ed. 442, 447 (1913).  Crucial to a determination of the essential character of a shipment, is the shipper’s fixed and persisting intent at the time of the shipment.  For example, whether at commencement a specific interstate destination for the shipment was definitely planned.  Middlewest Motor Freight Bureau v. ICC 867 F. 2d 458, 460-61 (8th Cir.).

If you fail to prove that the FMCSRs apply to the vehicle in your case, the court will likely refuse to consider charging the jury on the regulations or negligence.

Is the Violation the Result of an Act or Omission by the Driver, by the Company/Employer or Does it Relate to the Condition of the Tractor/Trailer?

In determining which regulations were violated, and by whom, it is important to remember that the FMCSRs set a minimum standard of care for the entire commercial trucking industry.


d) Additional requirements. Nothing in Subchapter B of this chapter shall be construed to prohibit an employer from requiring and enforcing more stringent requirements relating to the safety of operation and employee safety and health.


State and local laws, effect on.

Except as otherwise specifically indicated, Subchapter B of this chapter is not intended to preclude States or subdivisions thereof from establishing or enforcing State or local laws relating to safety, the compliance with which would not prevent full compliance with these regulations by the person subject thereto.

Did the Defendant Have More Stringent Internal Operating Rules?

Since the FMCSRs are the minimum requirements, a Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer cannot succumb to a defendant’s ability to show that it simply complied with the regulations. Discovery and expert development should focus on whether the company: 1) actually complied with all relevant FMCSRs, 2) whether the relevant state laws require a higher degree of care, and 3) whether, like similar companies within the industry, the defendant developed more stringent internal criteria for drivers, record retention, inspection, maintenance etc.

What are the potential theories of negligence-based on the violations for a Florida Truck Wreck Case?

Negligent Operation

Failure to place (or provide) warnings near disable vehicle; placard placement; fatigued driver; improper securing of loads; improper driving during hazardous conditions.

Negligent Inspection and Maintenance

Improper brake calibration; tire tread; light and reflector placement; cracked windshield.

Negligent Hiring, Retention, and Entrustment

Failure to do background check; failure to properly train; allowing to drive after repeated violations; young driver without co-driver; log book violations; fatigue.

This potential theory should never be overlooked. The FMCSRs have detailed and stringent requirements for the hiring and training of all drivers. The regulations require an employer to maintain all employee records at the carrier’s principal place of business for as long as the driver is employed by that carrier and for three years after. The employer must administer, and the driver applicant must pass, tests covering FMCSRs and pass road tests demonstrating driver competence. The employer must also check the applicant’s driving record for the past three years in every state where the applicant has held a license. The employer must do an extensive background check on the driver including contacting prior employers for the past three years. The employer must conduct an annual driver review and take actions based on the driver’s performance.

Failure to comply with these regulations can lay the foundation for a theory that the company was negligent in allowing the driver to be on the road at the time of a collision. Consider the following case in which driving with falsified log books was considered unreasonable risk of harm and evidence of negligent hiring and entrustment

Osborne v. Pinsonneault, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29695 (W.D. Ky. 2008). Refusal to grant partial summary judgment on negligent hiring and entrustment claims where logbooks were falsified. Court found that such falsification showed trucking company created an unreasonable risk of harm to the Plaintiffs in its entrustment, hiring, training, and supervision of driver.

Florida Truck Wreck cases require attention to Spoliation of Evidence Issues

From the initial intake, Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer should be very concerned with the intentional destruction of evidence by the defendant Trucking Companies.  Florida has a specific tort for the intentional destruction of evidence but in order for this to apply to a Defendant Trucking Company, they must be placed on “notice” that the evidence they have in their possession, custody or control may be relevant to the Florida Truck Wreck Case being prosecuted.  The essential elements  a Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer will look for in a spoliation of evidence case in relation to a Florida Truck Wreck case are the following:

1. Existence of a potential civil action

2. A legal or contractual duty to preserve evidence which is relevant to the potential civil proceeding.

3. Destruction of that evidence.

4. Significant impairment in the ability to prove the lawsuit;

5. A causal relationship between the evidence destruction and the inability to provide the lawsuit; and

6. Damages.

A Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer that knows this area of the law will be very aware of these concerns and will provide the necessary notice letters relating to spoliation concerns.  For more information about any Florida Truck Wreck case please contract Zarzaur Law, P.A. at 855-hire-joe or zarzaurlaw.com.

Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer , Joe Zarzaur, founder of Zarzaur Law has created this blog in an effort to educate the many citizens and visitors of Pensacola, Florida about their legal rights. Joe Zarzaur knows the ins and outs of Florida law, and offers friendly-quality legal help whether you have experienced an auto accident/car wreck, have been a victim of a trucking accident or are in need of a Florida Truck Wreck Lawyer.

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Pensacola, FL 32502

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