Homestead Truck accident Lawyer
Serving Homestead Residents
We Fight for People Injured Due to the Negligence of Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies
With thousands of trucks passing through Homestead and Miami-Dade County each day, accidents are inevitable. In 2021 alone there were nearly 8,000 accidents involving commercial motor vehicles in Miami-Dade, according to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV).
Truck accidents may be less frequent than car crashes. But the truck accidents that do occur often result in more fatal and serious injuries to innocent persons. You do not need to be an expert in truck accidents to understand that when an 80,000-pound semi-truck overturns or hits a passenger vehicle, everyone else on the road is placed in immediate risk.
Truck accidents are often the result of negligence on the part of the driver, the trucking company, or other parties responsible for loading and maintaining the vehicle. If you have been injured, or lost a family member, due to such negligence, you have a legal right to demand compensation. Our experienced Homestead truck accident lawyers can help. At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, we can investigate the circumstances and factors that led to your truck accident, represent you in dealing with insurance companies, and if necessary file a lawsuit on your behalf against the responsible individuals and companies.
What Should I Do Immediately Following a Car or Truck Accident?
The first moments following a crash are often crucial from both a health care and a legal standpoint. While you will understandably be in shock and processing what has just happened, there are a few general things you can do following a car or truck accident that can benefit you:
- Stop and Exchange Information. Under Florida law, you must stop and exchange information with the other drivers involved in an accident where there has been personal injury or property damage. Leaving the scene of an accident can be prosecuted as a criminal offense. At the same time, you are not required to discuss the accident itself or who might be at-fault. You only need to provide your contact and insurance information.
- Get Medical Attention. If you or anyone else appears seriously injured, call 911 right away and go to the nearest emergency room. Even if you “feel fine” and are able to walk away from the accident scene without assistance, you should still visit your primary care doctor or clinic as soon as possible to confirm you did not suffer a serious injury.
- Report the Accident. Once again, Florida law requires drivers to report any accidents involving personal injury or significant property damage. Miami-Dade or Homestead police can take an official accident report at the scene.
- Document What Happened. While the police will often conduct their own investigation into a serious car or truck accident, there is nothing preventing you from gathering evidence on your own. Write down the contact information and license plate numbers for all vehicles involved. If there were any third-party witnesses who might have seen something, take down their contact information as well. If you have your smartphone with you, take pictures of the vehicles and the overall accident scene.
- Notify Your Insurer. Since Florida is a “no fault” state with respect to car and truck accidents, your own insurance company is expected to pay you certain medical and wage replacement benefits following a crash. You must promptly notify your insurer of an accident. But you do not have to give a recorded statement before speaking with an attorney.
- Contact an Attorney. Ultimately, your insurance company is looking out for its own bottom line and not your best interests. If you want someone who will serve as your advocate following a car or truck accident, you need to work with an experienced Homestead personal injury attorney. At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP, we offer no-obligation consultations for car and truck accident victims, so there is no risk in speaking with us about your case.
What Are the Common Factors in Homestead, Florida, Truck Accidents?
Most truck accidents are preventable. While the truck driver is not always responsible for causing a crash, it is the most common factor in such accidents. There can be many reasons for this. Some of the more common examples of driver negligence leading to a truck accident include:
- Fatigue. All commercial truck drivers have one overriding mission: To transport their cargo from Point A to Point B on-time. This often means driving long hours without stopping to take adequate breaks. Federal regulations actually limit how long a driver can stay behind the wheel without taking a certain amount of time off. But far too many drivers–sometimes pressured by their bosses–ignore these rules and end up too tired to safely operate their vehicle.
- Distractions. Driving long hours on the highway is often a monotonous job. So it is understandable that truck drivers would look to relieve their boredom by looking at their phone, eating or drinking, or doing something other than keeping their eyes on the road. The problem is that distracted driving is dangerous driving, especially when you are dealing with a semi-truck. Even a few seconds of diverted attention can lead to disaster.
- Speeding. A truck driver looking to make up time on a delivery may decide they need to simply travel faster, even when it violates the posted speed limit or is unsafe for current road conditions. Speeding accidents are especially common when truck drivers try to pass or overtake other vehicles on the highway.
- Drugs and alcohol. It should go without saying that driving a commercial truck while intoxicated is never acceptable. But an equally significant problem with commercial truck drivers is the impact of drug use. Even taking over-the-counter or lawfully prescribed medications can seriously impact a truck driver’s reaction time and performance, especially when mixed with fatigue and other factors.
- Lack of training. Trucking companies need to have procedures in place to ensure they hire qualified drivers. But even a qualified driver still requires proper training. For example, the truck company needs to ensure their drivers know what to do when operating in poor weather conditions.
- Lack of maintenance. A truck company needs to regularly inspect their vehicles before they are allowed out on the road. Truck drivers also need to be responsible in checking their vehicles and reporting any problems. In many truck accidents, a single defective part turned out to be the underlying cause.
- Improper loading of cargo. There are strict federal regulations governing the maximum load and weight of a commercial truck. Both truck drivers and the companies responsible for loading the vehicle need to ensure all cargo is properly secured and within the acceptable limits. If cargo shifts or becomes loose during transport, it may throw off the truck’s center of gravity, which can lead to a loss of control. Or in some cases, the cargo may fall off or spill out of the truck and collide with another vehicle on the road.
What Are the Common Injuries in a Homestead, Florida, Truck Accident?
Any motor vehicle accident can lead to serious injury or death. Truck accidents are considered especially dangerous for a couple of reasons. First, in the event of a direct impact, a truck has an enormous weight advantage over a passenger vehicle. Second, if a truck overturns or slides across a highway, it can lead to a multi-car pile-up in a matter of seconds.
Some of the more common truck accident injuries that we see with our clients include:
- Back and neck injuries. Whiplash may be the most common non-fatal truck accident that we see. Basically, if the force of an impact causes your head and neck to snap forward while the rest of your body remains in place, that is whiplash. Even if you do not feel any immediate pain or symptoms, damage to your neck and back can manifest itself hours or even days later.
- Spinal cord damage. There are no “minor” spinal cord injuries. Any damage to the spinal column can lead to paralysis or disability. Such injuries often require extensive medical treatment and extended rehabilitation.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Brain injuries are another common result of a truck accident where symptoms do not always present themselves right away. In fact, many people who sustain a traumatic brain injury do not lose consciousness and can walk away from the scene of an accident. But any damage to the brain can lead to serious and permanent consequences for your health and overall lifestyle.
- Burn injuries. Depending on the amount of fuel and the type of cargo a truck is carrying, there can be a significantly heightened risk of a fire in the event of an accident. This can lead to serious second-, third-, and even fourth-degree burn injuries.
- Crushed limbs and internal injuries. The force of a collision with a truck often crushes victims underneath thousands of pounds of twisted metal and other wreckage. In many cases this leads to crushed limbs that need to be amputated or internal organ damage that requires emergency surgery.
- Death. Unfortunately, truck accidents often lead to fatal injuries. In 2021, there were 27 people killed in commercial motor vehicle accidents in Miami-Dade County.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident in Florida?
Sorting out responsibility for a commercial trucking accident in Florida is often more difficult than the typical car crash. This is because a number of individuals and corporate entities may be potential defendants. Aside from the truck driver, there is also the trucking company that owns the vehicle, the manufacturer of the truck (or a potentially defective part), and third-party firms responsible for loading the vehicle’s cargo.
How Do You Seek Compensation Following a Homestead, Florida, Truck Accident?
In any personal injury case, Florida law requires you prove the defendant was negligent in causing the underlying accident. Negligence means that you do not have to prove a defendant acted willfully, only recklessly. In the context of a truck accident, for example, it is enough to show that the driver acted in an unreasonable manner for someone in their position, such as by ignoring traffic laws or driving drunk.
Florida also requires proof that an accident was serious enough to step outside of the state’s “no fault” insurance system. All Florida motorists require drivers to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage of at least $10,000. This coverage is meant to cover minor accidents. But more serious accidents, such as those resulting in permanent injury or disfigurement to the victim, are beyond the scope of what PIP can cover.
It is also important to note that no-fault coverage only provides limited medical and loss-of-income benefits. It cannot compensate victims for non-economic damages like pain and suffering. And it is often not even enough to cover their medical bills, as PIP only requires insurers to pay 80 percent of expenses up to the policy’s limit.
In a personal injury lawsuit, in contrast, a truck accident victim can seek full and fair compensation for all of their damages. This includes all of your hospital bills, the costs of your future medical care and rehabilitation, damage to your vehicle, and compensation for your mental anguish, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life, among other things. In some cases it may also be possible to seek punitive damages if a truck driver or trucking company’s actions in causing an accident were intentional or especially reckless.
Homestead trucking accident FAQ’s:
Are Semi-Truck Accident Cases Still Governed By Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law?
The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) explains that all motorists are required to purchase at least $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. An initial claim is a no-fault claim. Semi-truck accident cases in Florida are governed by Florida’s no-fault insurance law. In the event of an accident, each driver’s insurance pays for their initial injuries and damages (lost wages), regardless of who is at fault.
However, Florida’s no-fault insurance law has its limitations, especially in severe accidents involving semi-trucks. If you sustain significant or permanent injuries, Florida law allows you to step outside of the no-fault process and file a lawsuit against the at-fault truck driver or trucking company. As many commercial truck accidents are serious crashes, many of these cases end up being fault-based claims. All semi-truck collisions in Homestead, FL require a thorough investigation.
What is Comparative Negligence and How Could It Affect My Rights?
Florida is a modified comparative negligence state (Florida Statutes § 768.81). Prior to 2023, our state had a pure comparative negligence law. However, the regulations were reformed. An injured victim can recover compensation for a semi-truck accident if they are found to be partially at fault as long as they are responsible for no more than 50 percent of the blame for the collision.
How does comparative negligence work? If you are involved in a truck accident and are found to be partially at fault, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are deemed to be 20 percent responsible for a truck accident in Homestead, your financial recovery would be reduced by a proportional 20 percent. It could be thousands of dollars.
Given our state’s comparative negligence standard, it is vital that all semi-truck accidents in Miami-Dade County are thoroughly investigated by an experienced attorney. Our Homestead, FL attorneys will proactively investigate your crash, gathering all of the evidence that you need to establish liability and secure the maximum financial compensation.
Can I Rely On the Trucking Company or Its Insurance for a Fair Settlement?
No. Trucking companies—and their commercial insurance providers—are for-profit businesses. Their primary goal is to protect their own bottom line. You cannot trust them to look out for what is best for you and your family after a serious collision in Homestead. Indeed, trucking companies and their insurers employ various tactics to limit their liability—from arguing that they were not actually at fault for the crash to downplaying the extent of your injuries.
You need a top Homestead, FL semi-truck accident on your side. Among other things, your lawyer will gather essential evidence, negotiate with the truck company and its insurer, advocate on your behalf in settlement negotiations, and take aggressive action to help you obtain the best outcome. As every truck accident claim in Homestead involves its own unique set of circumstances, it is imperative that you work with an attorney who provides personalized legal representation.
How Does Federal Law Affect My Florida Truck Accident Lawsuit?
Since trucking is a key component of interstate commerce, most truck drivers and trucking companies must follow rules established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These regulations govern everything from how many consecutive hours a trucker can work to weight limits and safety standards for loading cargo. Many truck accidents in Florida are the result of ignoring or taking shortcuts with respect to these regulations.
Do You Need to Speak with a Homestead Truck Accident Attorney?
A truck accident is not a simple “fender bender.” There are often complicated factual and legal questions that need to be sorted out, especially since there are often multiple potential defendants who may be liable for injuries sustained by multiple victims. That is why if you are one of those victims, it is in your best interest to work with a qualified Homestead truck accident lawyer.
The personal injury team at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, can review all kinds of Homestead truck accidents and conduct a full investigation into what happened. Just as important, we can take the burden of dealing with insurance companies off of your hands as you struggle to recover from your injuries. Many trucking accidents, car accidents, and their personal injury cases do result in a fair settlement with the insurer. But you are far more likely to obtain a favorable result by working with attorneys who are prepared to take your case to court if necessary.So if you would like to speak with one of our truck accident lawyers, call us today at 305-371-2692 to schedule a free initial consultation.
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