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Experienced Miami Personal Injury Law Firm for Truck Accident Victims
The issues involved in a trucking accident are very different from those involving another passenger cars. For one example, a tractor-trailer rollover can cause devastating injuries to multiple drivers. Due to several factors, the trailer might become unstable and tip over onto its side, landing on top of vehicles in the adjoining lanes or causing other drivers to swerve to avoid hitting it causing a motor vehicle accident on top of the truck accident. Because these trailers are so large and heavy, victims can suffer some serious injuries.
If you or someone you love was injured in a truck accident, it’s important to seek advice from an experienced attorney who regularly handles these types of cases.
At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP in Miami, we understand the practices and the regulations of the trucking industry. This experience helps us protect the interests of our clients throughout South and Central Florida and create a great attorney client relationship. We have obtained substantial verdicts and settlements for victims of truck accidents. Call (305) 371-2692 to discuss your case with a lawyer at our firm.
Establishing Trucking Company Negligence
The federal government heavily regulates the trucking industry. Evidence that a trucking company violated federal safety regulations can prove negligence in a personal injury or wrongful death case.
When investigating your truck accident case, our lawyers will leave no stone unturned and allow no responsible party to escape legal liability. Common causes of tractor-trailer wrecks include:
- Driver fatigue: Truck drivers operate under very tight schedules and they are under an immense amount of pressure to deliver their cargo in a timely manner. For this reason, drivers often remain on the road longer than they are allowed to by law, and they become very tired. Drowsy truck drivers are not able to pay attention to the road in the manner they should, and they also exercise poor judgment.
- Negligent hiring: An investigation of the truck driver’s record can uncover past violations, tickets, and accidents. Trucking companies are responsible if they hired an unsafe driver.
- Defective equipment: Trucking companies are required to keep truck maintenance records to ensure safety equipment is in working order.
- Improperly loaded semi-trucks: Overweight trucks take longer to stop and are harder to control. Unsecured loads can cause items to fly off the trailer and injure other motorists.
- Driver error: Driving in unsafe conditions, speeding, unsafe passing, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can turn a tractor-trailer into a dangerous missile.
- Improper Lane Changes: Tractor-trailers are sometimes five times longer than passenger vehicles, which also means they have very large blind spots. Before changing lanes or merging into traffic, truckers must know how to properly check their blind spots and how to safely make the lane change. Always give trucks as much space as possible and if you have to pass a truck, do so as quickly and safely as possible to avoid staying in the blind spots too long.
- Reckless Platooning: Platooning is when several semi trucks drive in a tight convoy using wireless technologies that help them move as a unit. If the lead driver is driving recklessly, it can quickly turn into a serious accident.
When millions of dollars may be at stake in the outcome of your case, it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Otherwise, the evidence you need to prove your case could be lost or destroyed.
Determining Liability After a Truck Accident
Under Florida’s no-fault auto insurance laws, you must first file a claim with your own insurance company after a truck accident. However, it is highly unlikely that the benefits you receive will be enough to fully cover the cost of the serious injuries you will incur. To claim the full compensation you are entitled to, you will have to file a claim against the liable party. To do that, you must first determine which party is liable, or at fault for the crash.
Determining liability after a truck accident is never easy. Our Miami truck accident lawyer outlines the potentially liable parties below, and can determine who was to blame for your crash.
It is true that truckers often engage in many negligent behaviors that cause a truck accident. Driving under the influence, operating the truck in a reckless manner, and violating the federal hours of service rule are just a few of these. When a truck driver causes a crash, you can either file a claim directly against them, or against them and the trucking company. A truck accident lawyer can determine whether the trucker is an employee or an independent contractor, which will determine who you must file a claim against.
The Trucking Company
Negligent truckers do sometimes cause accidents, but that is not always the case. Trucking companies have many responsibilities, too. They include training their truck drivers properly, performing background checks on any potential drivers, and maintaining their fleet of trucks. Trucking companies do not always fulfill these responsibilities. Trucking companies also often engage in other negligent behaviors, as well. For example, sometimes they may offer incentives to their drivers for staying on the road longer than they should.
Just like any other manufacturing company, the companies that manufacture trucks must also ensure their products are safe to use. Trucks are made up of hundreds of moving parts. Any time one of these is defective or faulty, it could result in a very serious crash on the road.
Truck drivers do not always load and unload their own cargo. Sometimes, a third party is used to do this. It is essential that cargo is loaded properly onto a truck. If the cargo is not secured properly, it could fall out of, or off of, the truck. Additionally, cargo must be loaded properly inside the truck because it may shift during transport otherwise. That throws off the balance of the truck, making it incredibly difficult for the trucker to control the vehicle.
Common Types of Miami Truck Accidents
Rear-End Crashes: Trucks are extremely large and very heavy, so it takes much longer for them to slow down and come to a complete stop. When truck drivers are negligent and speed or fail to see a stopped vehicle in front of them, they can easily cause a rear-end accident. Avoid stopping abruptly and always slow down gradually to give truckers as much time as possible to stop.
Underride Accidents: An underride accident occurs when a smaller vehicle is pushed under a larger tractor-trailer. This can occur when a truck does not stop in time and hits another vehicle from behind, or if a truck stops too suddenly and the following vehicle does not have time to stop. Underride accidents are some of the most catastrophic types of truck crashes, and victims often do not survive them. Always keep a safe distance from trucks when following them in traffic, and slow down gradually when a truck is behind your vehicle.
Defective Truck Parts: A truck is made up of many important moving parts and when one of those parts is defective, it can cause a serious accident. It is not always easy to identify when a defective truck part caused a crash. It is important to work with a Miami car accident lawyer that can help you determine when to hold a manufacturer liable for a faulty part.
Injuries are More Severe After a Truck Accident
Any car accident on the road can result in serious injuries, but the chance of truck accident victims sustaining a catastrophic injury is far greater. This is not only due to the fact that trucks are so much larger, but also because these crashes typically happen at higher speeds. Trucks are most frequently seen on interstate and highways, where the speed limits are much higher than they are on residential and city roads. Accidents that happen at higher speeds are usually much more serious.
The most common injuries to occur after a crash involving a truck include spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, burn injuries, amputations, organ damage, and internal bleeding. Tragically, not all truck accident victims survive these crashes and wrongful deaths occur.
Liability is More Difficult to Determine After a Truck Accident
It is always difficult to determine which party is liable after any accident on the roads, but it becomes much more challenging after a truck accident. This is because the party liable for a truck accident may not even be at the scene. While the truck driver may be found negligent for acting carelessly, the trucking company may also be found liable if they did not follow proper hiring and training practices. Any company that improperly inspected or maintained the truck, or that did not load the truck properly can also be found at fault for a crash.
Representing 18-Wheeler Accident Victims In South And Central Florida
Why Are Tractor-Trailers so Dangerous?
Tractor-trailers are long, thin vehicles with a high center of gravity, so they are vulnerable to instability and rolling over. However, either the truck driver or other personnel can contribute to an accident:
- The driver might be going too fast, which increases the odds of a rollover.
- The driver might allow one side of the vehicle to rise or fall quickly, which can lead to a rollover.
- Cargo could be loaded improperly, which increases the trailer’s instability.
Truck drivers are trained on how to make turns properly, but excessive speed and unsafe steering can lead to accidents. For example, a driver might “overcorrect” too quickly, which can lead to a crash.
Drivers are typically not responsible for how cargo is loaded. If the load is sealed, then the driver might never inspect it before driving. In other accidents, the driver could have sped through his checklist too quickly and failed to account for how the load will impact his driving.
Tanker Truck Accidents Present Additional Danger
Collisions involving tanker trucks are fortunately rare. These large vehicles transport fuel and other cargo around the city and are very large. Not only are these trucks dangerous due to their size and weight, but their flammable or toxic cargo can also cause horrifying injuries.
Common Tanker Truck Cargo
These trucks carry many types of cargo, including:
- Diesel fuel
- Radioactive material
- Toxic substances
Any crash can be catastrophic if the cargo tank is breached. Chemicals and fuel can come pouring out of the truck, directly impacting other people on the road and possible nearby homes and businesses. If fuel catches on fire, an explosion will be felt for a considerable distance around.
Tanker Truck Accident Injuries
These accidents can cause devastating injuries. Let’s start with burns. When fuel ignites, it can cause a fireball explosion. Many people can suffer serious burns over large parts of their bodies. Even if fuel doesn’t ignite, it could be so hot that it burns someone when it makes contact with skin or clothing. Burns have many complications, including amputation, disfigurement, infection, and sometimes death.
If a toxic substance was in the tanker, then it could be absorbed through the skin. Someone could suffer serious toxic exposure, leading to complications such as poisoning and cancer.
Other injuries stem from the sheer weight of the truck. Our clients have suffered fractures, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries in collisions with tanker trucks. These injuries can exist in combination with poisoning or burns.
Who Can Be Held Accountable for a Crash Involving a Truck?
The party we sue will depend on who is responsible for the truck becoming unstable. If the driver made some error—taking a turn too fast, for example—then the driver can be held personally liable. Under Florida law, an employer is also automatically liable when an employee injures someone negligently while working.
In other situations, the trucking company might have its own individual liability. For example, it might not have trained drivers property or not fixed trucks with a defect.
The loading company might be to blame if an unbalanced load contributed to a jackknife accident or rollover crash. They must perform their job with sufficient care, otherwise they are on the hook for compensation.
Many victims have no idea who is to blame for their truck accident. All they know is that the truck rolled over and they were hurt. Let your attorney carefully sift through the evidence to apportion fault. In some accidents, multiple parties might share blame, and we can sue them all.
Our Miami Truck Accident Attorneys
Our Miami attorneys have decades of experience handling truck accident cases. To discuss your case with a member of our firm, call (305) 371-2692 or use our online contact form. Your consultation is without cost or obligation.
Avoid These Common Mistakes When Pursuing a Truck Accident Claim
Truck accidents tend to lead to particularly devastating injuries, often leaving victims suffering from chronic pain or permanent disability. Individuals who are hurt in these kinds of accidents because of someone else’s carelessness deserve to be fully compensated for their losses.
Avoiding certain mistakes after a truck accident can make all the difference in strengthening a case and increasing your chances of success. To learn more, please reach out to our dedicated Miami truck accident lawyers today.
Failing to Report the Accident
One of the most important things that a person can do after being involved in a truck accident is to call the police. Besides being able to provide emergency medical care, law enforcement officers can immediately begin investigating the cause of the crash. Often, it is the police report that insurance companies use as their primary source when evaluating a claim.
Waiting to Seek Medical Attention
Accident victims often experience a surge of adrenaline after their crash, which can mask physical injuries. As a result, many people choose not to seek medical attention immediately after their accidents, assuming that they are injury-free. This can have serious repercussions down the road, as insurers are much more likely to argue that a person’s injuries aren’t as severe as he or she is claiming if a doctor didn’t confirm the injury immediately after the crash. Failing to get medical attention can also make it harder to diagnose or treat an injury, setting back a victim’s recovery time.
Failing to Take Photographs of the Accident Scene
Besides the police report, photographs from the scene of the accident can be some of the most convincing proof of fault for a crash. If possible, accident victims should consider taking pictures not only of the damaged vehicles, but also of any road markings, road signs, and physical injuries. This evidence can be used at a later date to help prove whose negligence was responsible for the collision.
Talking to People About Your Claim
While speaking with others about an accident can be cathartic, it usually isn’t a good idea. To avoid any misunderstandings, accident victims should speak with an attorney before giving a recorded statement to insurers and should also avoid talking with the other drivers at the scene of the accident about who was at fault. Similarly, photos and posts on social media should be avoided, as they can be used against a person by insurers to counter a claim of injury.
Need Help Filing a Truck Accident Claim?
If you were injured in a Florida truck accident, the dedicated Miami truck accident lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP may be able to help. Our team has the skill, experience, and resources necessary to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of your crash and to help you seek a fair recovery. Call us at (305) 371-2692 today to set up a consultation. We are available to answer your questions and concerns 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us by phone or online message at your earliest convenience.
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