On August 30, 2021, life changed forever for University of Florida football player Yousef Mugharbil. Just 18-years-old at the time, Yousef was dragged about 100 feet by a semi-truck on University Avenue in Gainesville after being hit. Yousef was riding a scooter in an undesignated driving lane and became trapped between the tires of the truck.
The truck had the right of way when it was making a turn, and Yousef drove his scooter in a lane that was striped off, so the lane directed the scooter directly into the path of the turning truck. Fortunately, Yousef is expected to recover from his injuries. (source)
Earlier that month, Marie Hines of Gainesville was sitting inside her home on Northeast Waldo Road when a truck crashed into her house. The truck had been driving down Northeast Waldo when a car approaching from Northeast 53rd Avenue collided with it, sending the truck flying into the house. Fortunately, Marie and the 2 occupants of the truck were uninjured. The occupants of the car required medical treatment. (source)
On that same day, a crash involving 3 semis and 2 cars tied up I-75. Two people were transported to area hospitals.
Tragically, another multiple-fatality accident happened on I-75 in January 2019. There were 12 passengers in a van struck by a tractor-trailer that crashed through a guardrail. Although everyone in the van, on its way to Disney World, was wearing their seatbelt, 7 were killed — including 5 children and the drivers of 2 tractor-trailers. There were 5 vehicles involved in the crash, with a total of 16 occupants. Only 1 occupant, the driver of a pickup truck, was not injured. (source)
Technically, no. Gainesville is not any more or less dangerous for truck accidents than other cities of its size. However, the area did see a spike in heavy truck crashes between 2011 and 2015, mainly on I-75 in Alachua, Marion and Sumter counties.
Regarding the lethality of truck accidents, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says that:
"The main problem is the vulnerability of people traveling in smaller vehicles. Trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars and are taller, with greater ground clearance, which can result in smaller vehicles underriding trucks in crashes.
The Florida DOT created an I-75 Relief Task Force in 2015 in order to find ways to reduce the incidences of traffic accidents on this busy interstate that cuts right through Gainesville. Its report outlines ways that the highway can be made safer over the next several decades.
Some of the task force's recommendations include:
Whether you or a loved one are injured in a truck accident on a major highway like I-75 or a rural road, the days, weeks and months that follow are bound to be full of extreme physical, emotional and financial challenges.
Fortunately, you don't have to face these challenges alone.
When you're in a car accident that involves just 2 vehicles, you can often settle it directly with your insurance company and you might not need an attorney if the damages aren't severe or costly.
But a truck accident usually needs to be handled differently.
Here are 4 reasons why:
Common truck accident damages include:
Each state follows 1 of 4 fault systems, which determine whether (and how much) a plaintiff can recover for an injury if they share any liability.
Florida follows the pure comparative negligence rule, which means that a victim may recover damages that are reduced by their portion of fault. In other words, if the truck driver caused the accident but you were 20% at fault, your damages would be reduced by 20%.
If you are found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, then you are unable to recover any compensation.
Truck accidents could be caused by a truck driver, car driver, or other factors like road hazards and poor weather.
When a truck driver causes an accident, it's often because of:
When a passenger car driver causes an accident, these are some of the most common reasons:
"Liability" is based on the premise that each person has a certain set of responsibilities and obligations in any situation.
As the driver of a car or truck, you are liable for ensuring that your driving is reasonably safe, according to the laws and road rules wherever you are. It also means you have a duty to every other driver and pedestrian to exercise reasonable care for their safety.
There are 2 types of truck accidents that don't always conform to typical liability laws:
Your first priority is to evaluate your own and your passengers' conditions. If you can do so safely and without pain, you should also check on the physical condition of anyone else involved in the crash. Call for help immediately if necessary.
If you need to call an ambulance and do nothing but wait for it to arrive, that's okay.
Even if there's not a medical emergency, there are several steps you can take to preserve your legal claim:
In most situations, this is 911. If you're on a highway, the 911 dispatcher will route your call to the local law enforcement agency and emergency responders. Let the dispatcher know approximately how many people are involved in the accident (it could be multiple vehicles) so that it can send as many ambulances as needed.
Even if the accident seems "minor," get a police report anyway. A police report is the best way to have immediate documentation of the accident, and the police will maintain accurate records of all of the involved vehicles.
Again, this is something you should only do if you're uninjured and if it's safe to be out of your vehicle and walking around. If you're on a busy highway and the police aren't there yet to direct traffic, you don't want to be wandering around on the road.
Documentation can include photos, contact information for witnesses and everyone involved in the crash, and other notes about road or weather conditions or other factors that might have affected the accident.
It's especially important to take photos if the weather could've played a role in drivers' visibility or the road was slick. Forensic experts can testify about past weather conditions, but a picture can say a thousand words.
Documentation also includes gathering information from other involved parties. Be sure to get as much of the following as possible:
A witness is anyone who saw or observed the crash in any way. It could be someone in one of the involved vehicles, a bystander, or a person in a nearby vehicle that wasn't involved.
You don't have to take witness statements at the crash scene. That's the police officer's job. But if it's a very active scene with a lot of injuries and damage, there could be a lot of emergency situations that require the police's attention before they get to interviewing witnesses. Well-meaning bystanders who stopped to help could leave once it seems like the emergency response team has things under control. Once they leave the scene, it's very difficult to track them down again and they might have valuable information to share.
If you're able to do so, approach several witnesses and ask for their contact information. A name, phone number, or email address is all you need to stay in touch. You can pass that information to your lawyer when you get one and provide it to the police when they're performing an accident investigation.
Even if you don't think you're hurt and you choose not to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance, get a medical evaluation as soon as possible because you might have suffered injuries that don't show immediate symptoms. If you end up requiring medical attention later for an injury related to the crash, it might be hard to demonstrate that it was related to the accident and not some other cause. You also might have an injury like internal bleeding, which could be hard to detect on your own but a doctor will be able to diagnose.
Even if you've been examined by an emergency medical technician at the scene, request a full medical evaluation at a hospital or your doctor's office.
In the case of most truck wrecks, the damage to the passenger vehicle is significant—often resulting in the car being totalled. Even if your car appears to have only minor damage, understand that sometimes the damage is internal and not visible to the untrained eye (like the human body). However, you should NOT go straight to your neighborhood body shop and have your car repaired immediately.
The repair estimate needs to be part of your insurance claim. Each insurance company has different requirements for what must be submitted in order to pay for your damages. Some have apps that require you to photograph each external side of the car, while others require you to bring it to a body shop that's on an approved list.
If roadside assistance is included with your insurance or you belong to a travel association that offers towing, have your vehicle transported to a local body shop. But make sure the shop knows not to perform any work until you've cleared it with your insurance company. Even if you're sure the car is safe to drive, take it to a mechanic or body shop for an assessment.
Finally, talk to a Gainesville personal injury lawyer. Truck accidents are complicated. They can lead to lengthy litigation, and can result in high-dollar settlement or judgment amounts — so it's important to take it seriously and seek immediate help.
Refer to this list of free printable documents to help organize your needs after a truck accident:
A personal injury lawyer helps individuals who have sustained injuries in accidents to recover financial compensation. These funds are often needed to pay for medical treatment, make up for lost wages and provide compensation for injuries suffered. Sometimes a case that seems simple at first may become more complicated. In these cases, consider hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer. Read more