Fort Lauderdale Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck Accident Attorneys Serving Fort Lauderdale Residents
Our Truck Accident Attorneys Help Victims of Commercial Trucking Crashes in Broward County, Florida
I-95 is the commercial lifeblood of Fort Lauderdale. On any given day, thousands of commercial trucks pass through I-95 and the surrounding roads, carrying goods to destinations throughout South Florida. Unfortunately, with all this commercial traffic comes a high risk for commercial truck accidents.
Between 2019 and 2021, there were an average of 3,989 commercial motor vehicle crashes in Broward County alone, most of them involving trucks. In 2021, these same truck accidents involving large trucks accounted for 12 deaths and 820 injuries. And many of these serious accidents could have been prevented.
Indeed, negligence on the part of a truck driver or truck owner is commonly cited as the key factor in a commercial trucking accident. The Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP, can represent you in seeking compensation in such serious truck accident cases. If you have been the innocent victim in one of these crashes, we can advise you on the best legal strategies for seeking damages to cover your out-of-pocket and other losses.
Negligence and Commercial Truck Accidents in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
A “commercial motor vehicle” is defined broadly by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to include any vehicle with a weight of more than 10,000 pounds, commercial trucks are often much heavier. A fully loaded semi truck, for instance, can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds. And many of these large trucks also are used to transport hazardous cargo that can cause serious injury or cause a fatal truck accident if not properly secured for transport.
Because of the inherent risks involved in operating a commercial motor vehicle, many truck drivers must have special licenses. The State of Florida requires truck drivers to carry a Commercial Driver’s License. And any driver who transports goods across state lines is required to follow safety regulations implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
When we speak of negligence as a cause of a commercial truck accident in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, it is often a consequence of negligent truck driver skirting or ignoring these safety regulations. Commercial truck drivers in Fort Lauderdale are often under enormous pressure from their employers and customers to make their deliveries on-time. And too many drivers use that as an excuse to take shortcuts when it comes to keeping everyone on the road in Fort Lauderdale safe. A common truck accident case we see with our clients are due to serious truck accident injuries.
Here are a few more of the more common examples of how such negligence can lead to a multi-vehicle Fort Lauderdale truck accident:
- Driver Fatigue: One of the first things that truck accident investigators will look at before a truck accident lawsuit is filed is whether the truck driver was too tired when the crash occurred. The FMCSA requires all interstate commercial truck drivers to follow an “hours of service” trucking regulations. This restricts the number of hours a driver can spend behind the wheel of their truck without taking a certain number of hours off for rest. Ignoring these rules often leads to a driver pushing themselves to the point where they are too fatigued, and either their reaction times are dulled or they simply fall asleep behind the wheel causing a Fort Lauderdale truck accident.
- Distracted Driving: Even a fully rested and alert truck driver can fall prey to boredom. Driving a truck can mean double-digit hours on the road each day traversing a fairly monotonous interstate like I-95. Many drivers therefore look for any diversion or distraction, such as looking at their phone. But any form of distracted driving is negligent and can lead to an accident, even if the driver’s attention was only diverted for a second.
- Reckless Driving: Any driver knows that you need to obey basic traffic laws. This is especially important for commercial truck drivers. Reckless driving–such as excess speeding or not maintaining a safe stopping distance with the vehicle in front of you–can quickly turn into a multi-vehicle pile-up if an 18-wheeler suddenly spins out of control due to reckless driving.
- Drug and Alcohol Use: We all know that operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal and dangerous. This is why Florida law disqualifies anyone with a DUI/DWI conviction from holding a Commercial Driver’s License. Furthermore, the standard for DUI involving a commercial truck driver is stricter than those for people operating regular cars or trucks.
- Improper Maintenance: A commercial Big Rig is a large, complex vehicle. FMCSA regulations require all commercial trucks be regularly inspected, repaired, and maintained. Failure to do so can easily lead to an accident if a defective part suddenly causes a failure while the vehicle is on the highway.
- Improper Loading: FMCSA regulations also govern how commercial trucks must be loaded with cargo. A key consideration here is ensuring that the weight of the cargo is properly distributed. If the cargo is improperly loaded and/or imbalanced, it can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle during transport and cause a serious accident.
- Poor Road Conditions: There are cases where a truck accident was the result of a state or local government’s failure to properly maintain their roads, particularly during poor weather conditions.
What Steps Should You Take Following a Truck Accident in Fort Lauderdale, Florida?
When you get into a simple traffic accident with another passenger vehicle, it is often a matter of exchanging information with the other driver and filing a claim with your Florida no-fault insurance carrier. But with trucking accidents, truck accidents are almost never that straightforward. For one thing, the physical injuries with these types of accidents are often catastrophic. On top of that, there are often multiple vehicles and victims involved. And then there is the fact the defendant is usually a trucking company with the financial, legal, and insurance resources to stonewall those victims when they pursue compensation for their suffered injuries.
So here are a few things to keep in mind if you are ever involved in a Fort Lauderdale truck accident or Broward County:
- Call 911. It is important to get first responders to the scene of a truck accident as soon as possible. The Florida Highway Patrol or local police can take down an official accident report. And paramedics can provide medical treatment to anyone in need.
- Seek medical attention for yourself. Even if you do not need to go to the emergency room immediately, it is still important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible following a truck accident. In addition to diagnosing any injuries that were not immediately visible at the accident scene, it is useful to document your treatment history should you wish to seek compensation later.
- Report the accident to your insurance company. Florida has a no-fault auto insurance system. This means you are required to seek compensation for your medical bills and lost wages from your own carrier first. But if you have sustained more serious injuries, you may be allowed to step outside of the no-fault system and pursue a personal injury claim against the truck driver or truck owner.
- Identify potential witnesses. There are often multiple vehicles involved in a truck accident as well as multiple people who may have witnessed what happened. It is a good idea to take down the name and contact information of any such bystanders, which can prove useful later when trying to ascertain what happened.
- Contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer. You should always consult with a personal injury law firm before taking any formal action to resolve a claim arising from a Fort Lauderdale truck accident. In particular, you should never deal with a representative of a trucking company or their insurer without first speaking to your legal team to recover compensation.
FAQ’s about Truck Accidents:
What is the Statute of Limitations for Commercial Truck Accident Claims in Florida?
You have a limited amount of time to bring a semi-truck accident injury claim in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in Broward County. For decades, Florida had one of the longest statute of limitations in the country for these crashes. However, in 2023, a tort reform legislative package was passed that reduced the statute of limitations from four years to two years. Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 95.11), injured victims have two years from the date of a commercial truck crash to bring a fault-based personal injury claim. There are very few exceptions—meaning it is unlikely that you will be able to extend the deadline. Be proactive: Consult with a top-rated Fort Lauderdale tractor trailer lawyer right away after a serious collision.
Note: Florida has a 14-day rule for no-fault insurance claims. Injured victims are required to notify their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage within 14 days of a crash. If they fail to do so, they may not be able to bring a no-fault claim at all.
Can I Step Outside of Florida’s No-Fault System After a Truck Accident in Fort Lauderdale?
As explained by Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), all motorists in Florida are required to obtain no-fault auto insurance coverage. No-fault coverage—Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage—is always the initial path to compensation after an accident. However, the standard PIP policy has a $10,000 limit in Florida. Many truck accidents can cause catastrophic or even life-altering injuries. Truck accident victims in Fort Lauderdale can step outside of Florida’s no-fault system to pursue additional compensation after a serious crash. To step outside of this system and file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, you must demonstrate that you have suffered serious injuries as a result of the accident. Under Florida law, a serious injury is defined as one that causes:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability; or
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
Proving these conditions often involves detailed medical records and expert testimony. If you or your loved one sustained severe injuries in a commercial truck accident in Broward County, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Fort Lauderdale attorney right away.
Who Can Be Held Legally Liable for a Commercial Truck Crash in Fort Lauderdale?
Semi-truck accidents are complicated. A number of different parties may potentially be held legally responsible for a crash through a fault-based claim, including:
- Truck Driver: If negligence, such as distracted or impaired driving, is proven, the truck driver can be held responsible.
- Trucking Companies: A trucking company can be held liable for a crash. Some reasons include poor vehicle maintenance and improper driver training.
- Truck Manufacturer: If a defect in the truck contributed to the accident, the truck manufacturer might be held liable.
- Cargo Loader: Improperly loaded or overloaded cargo can cause accidents, making the cargo loading company potentially responsible.
- Maintenance Company: If the accident was caused by a lack of maintenance, the company responsible for maintaining the truck may be held liable.
How Our Fort Lauderdale Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help You From Truck Drivers
If you can prove that negligence on the part of a truck driver, trucking company or trucking companies, or other multiple parties caused you serious or catastrophic injuries in a truck accident, Florida law allows you to seek a wide range of damages as compensation for your losses. The total to recover compensation includes both your out-of-pocket (economic) damages as well as your intangible (non-economic) losses. In some cases, you may even be in a position to seek punitive damages if a defendant’s actions were especially egregious or unethical.
At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP, we have a proven track record of helping truck accident victims recover full and just compensation under Florida law from truck accidents. Our law firm has obtained over $1 billion in settlements and trial verdicts over the years, and many of those are from truck accidents. Our experienced truck accident attorney knows how to build a winning truck accident case against trucking companies and the insurance company and pursue it through trial when necessary.
We are not a high-volume law practice. This enables our personal injury lawyer to provide dedicated, personal attention to each trucking accident client in Fort Lauderdale. We understand that you have medical bills and a lot of physical, emotional, and financial trauma to deal with following a truck accident. That is why we will do everything possible to take the burden of dealing with the legal issues arising from your truck accident case off of your shoulders.
So if you have been injured in an accident involving a truck or similar commercial motor vehicle in Fort Lauderdale, contact Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP, today at 305-371-2692 to schedule a free initial consultation. We represent many truck accident claim victims in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, and throughout South Florida.
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Grateful to Dr Dobrinsky and his great team for successfully handling my medical malpractice case. A very professional team, with great experience. I always felt confident that I was in good hands. Grateful and 100% recommended.