Tons of Freight, Tons of Devastation
The results of a commercial truck accident can be catastrophic. When these trucks crash into other vehicles, cyclists, or a pedestrian, the injuries and damages are devastating. The sheer force of a commercial truck is a threat of over 80,000 pounds and 28 feet of piercing metal, which can cause life threatening injuries. If you or someone you know have been injured or killed in a commercial truck accident, South Florida truck accident attorneys at Weinstein Legal can help you secure you the compensation for damages that you rightly deserve. With a detailed knowledge of Florida trucking and traffic laws, he is dedicated to helping clients fight for their rights. Victims of truck crashes deserve compensation for their injuries, lost wages, medical expenses, and mental anguish. Schedule a free consultation with commercial truck accident attorneys at Weinstein Legal today. Fill out our contact form to get started.
Types of Commercial TrucksA commercial truck is any large truck, also referred to as an 18-wheeler or semi-truck, that is operated for a commercial purpose. This means that the truck is considered a part of the business, and is being driven for the purpose of that business.
Commercial trucks may be owned directly by a business, and can be recognized by the logos printed on either side of the vehicle. In Florida, is it common to see larger delivery trucks, such as FedEx and Cheney Brothers Inc., both on the highway and making their presence known on smaller streets. Larger moving vans such as Rooms-To-Go and U-Hauls are also often clearly marked. However, commercial trucks can be leased from an owner by a company. In this case, it can be more difficult to tell from first glance what business the truck belongs too. This is typical of big rigs, tractor-trailers, and even fuel trucks, who move discretely through the state.
Types of commercial trucks commonly seen in Florida include:
- Big Rigs
- Cargo Trucks
- Concrete Trucks
- Construction Trucks
- Delivery Vans
- Dump Trucks
- Fuel Trucks
- Garbage Trucks
- Logging Trucks
- Moving Vans
- Steel Trucks
- Tanker Trucks
- Tow Trucks
Causes of Truck AccidentsMore than 26,000 large truck accidents were reported throughout Florida in 2015, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles. Hundreds of people were injured in these accidents, while nearly two dozen lost their lives.
Drivers can account for many accidents, however, trucking and cargo companies may also be held liable for an accident. If a company hired a driver with a poor record, or if the cargo company failed to load the goods properly, it may have contributed to the crash, and they may be held liable for an accident.
Some of the common causes of these truck accidents include:
- Driver inexperience
- Fatigued driving
- Distracted driving
- Failing to obey traffic signs/signals
- Uneven load weight
- Larger blind spots
- Texting and driving
- Failing to adhere to federal regulations
- Unfamiliarity with roadway
- Drug or alcohol use
- Failing to maintain the truck
Common Truck Accident InjuriesMany vehicles are safer than ever due to the inclusion of various airbags and other safety devices. Still, semi-trucks can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds. When compared to a regular sedan weighing 5,000 pounds, the force of a truck can lead to serious injuries regardless of airbags and other safety devices.
These injuries can lead to exponentially longer recovery times, high medical bills, and wages lost while the person cannot return to work until they are fully healed. Experienced truck accident attorneys at Weinstein Legal can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation by filling out our contact form now.
Some injuries victims may suffer include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
Liability in Commercial Truck AccidentsFollowing an accident with a commercial truck, you might be unsure about how to pay for the damages that are accruing. From medical bills to lost wages, suffering an accident with a vehicle as large as a truck can often put a victim out of work for months. Being hit by tons of freight can result in life-changing injuries. But, you don’t need to suffer in silence. Unlike an accident with another passenger vehicle, being involved in an accident with a commercial truck entails several levels of liability. This is because, as with an Uber or Lyft accident, it’s not just the driver that can be held responsible for your injuries, but also the company that employed the driver. This is because of a legal doctrine known as “respondeat superior,” which states that employers are always responsible for the negligent actions of their employees, so long as the driver was acting in the course of their employment. For instance, if you were struck by a commercial truck that was en route to a delivery, that would constitute as the driver operating under the typical course of employment. In this case, the employer would be just as legally responsible as the driver for an accident. Generally speaking, commercial companies carry much larger insurance policies than their drivers, under the assumption that in the case of an accident, the company will be responsible for compensating a victim for their injuries. However, this larger insurance policy also makes the insurance company far more likely to push back on a claim. With the representation of a knowledgeable truck accident attorney, you drastically improve your chances of successfully securing the settlement you deserve.
Seven Levels of Liability in Truck AccidentsIn the case of a commercial truck accident, the levels of liability continue to extend. The list of parties that could be held liable for your injuries includes:
- The Owner of the Truck: Oftentimes the individual who owns the truck does not belong to the company that leased it. According to Florida law, owning a vehicle that is used in an accident caused by a negligent driver can still allow an individual to be held liable.
- The Broker of the Truck: Brokers are responsible for aligning the vehicle with a business that could use it for their services, such as delivery of cargo. These individuals have the responsibility of inspecting the vehicle as well as the safety record of the drivers they’re contracting, and can be found liable if an issue is found with either.
- The Shipper or Loader of the Truck’s Cargo: If the truck was hauling freight or transporting a material or liquid, such as fuel, whoever loaded the cargo can be held liable if something goes wrong and causes an accident.
- The Manufacturer of the Truck or the Truck’s Parts: If an accident was caused by an issue with the vehicle, such as faulty brakes, the manufacturer can be held liable.
- The Truck’s Mechanic: When something mechanical occurs with the truck that causes an accident, the vehicle’s mechanic can be found liable for the damages. It is assumed that with regular services, an issue of that caliber would have been recognized and fixed by the mechanic before the truck returned to the road.
- The Driver of the Truck: Of course, the driver operating the truck at the time of the accident can be held responsible for any injury incurred in the accident.
- The Company who Employed the Driver: As per respondeat superior, the company who employed the driver can be found equally as liable for the accident.
What to Do After an AccidentAs with all automobile accidents, the most important thing to do after an accident with a commercial truck is to seek medical attention for yourself and your passengers. Get the names, addresses and phone numbers of all parties involved, as well as any witnesses. Be sure to take photographs of all injuries, as well as any damage to any of the vehicles. In the days following a truck accident, obtain a copy of the police report for your crash or a qualified truck accident attorney can also assist. Begin to keep track of all doctor’s visits and treatment you receive, as well as collecting copies of all test results, medication prescriptions, treatments, and any other relevant medical information. Likewise, begin a detailed list of any out-of-pocket expenses you incur, including the cost of your transportation to and from the doctor’s office. Additionally, it is recommended to keep a journal of any symptoms or pain you experience, as the severity of your injuries can inflict a variety of side effects as time wears on. Record missed days of work or other activities, and get an evaluation of the property damage from your insurance company. Most importantly, never accept a settlement offer from an insurance carrier unless you have consulted with a trusted truck accident lawyer.
Building a Case After a Commercial Truck AccidentBuilding a case after a commercial truck accident can seem intimidating at first. Between needing to keep track of countless medical bills and expenses, and paying out of pocket for services you might not necessarily be able to afford, the pain of your injuries and stress of the accident can be overbearing. This is where an experienced commercial truck accident lawyer comes in. From the initial consultation, truck accident attorneys at Weinstein Legal can begin to advise you, taking the necessary steps to build you a compelling case. Commercial truck accidents require thorough investigation. Immediately after an accident, the insurance companies of each involved party will likely dispatch its own investigators, looking for a way to shift liability for the accident away from themselves. A personal injury lawyer will take on the role of investigating your case, collecting necessary evidence including all medical documents and proof of damages.
The sooner you enlist the help of a trusted truck lawyer, the quicker we can get to work building you a case for compensation. Florida law only gives victims four years to file a claim after an accident, and that clock begins ticking immediately following an accident.
Your attorney will also be obtaining:
- Police reports
- Motor carrier records
- Witness statements
- Photographs of the scene and the resulting injuries
- Safety logs
- Expert witnesses for truck accident cases
- Medical witnesses to support your injuries