Articles Posted in Truck accidents

matthew-t-rader-1shWwOrkxEM-unsplash-copy-300x199It is common for the driver of a smaller vehicle to be severely hurt in a Miami truck crash, but these incidents also put any occupant in the car at risk of serious, catastrophic injuries. Some experts would argue that the threat of bodily harm is even greater for passengers who are not in the driver’s seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that many sedans, SUVs, pickups, and other vehicles have major weaknesses when it comes to protecting occupants who are not behind the wheel. 

Fortunately, you do have rights as an injured passenger, including legal options for recovering compensation for your losses. You should trust a Miami truck accidents lawyer to handle the details, but you may find some general information useful.

Liability in Miami Truck Crash Claims

Trucker fatigue has been a severe problem on US roadways for decades, as drivers push the edge of their physical limits in the rush to deliver cargo on time. All this time behind the wheel takes its toll and wears them out, potentially leading to fatal and injury-causing truck accidents. Years ago, the federal government implemented regulations to reduce the frequency of fatigue-related crashes. Hours of Service (HOS) rules impose strict restrictions on how long drivers can work and requirements for breaks, among others. Recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced proposed changes to HOS rules, enabling more flexibility for truck operators. 

However, opponents of the proposed regulations argue that increased flexibility could lead to safety issues. If you were involved in a crash, it is important to work with a Miami truck accidents attorney when filing a claim for compensation. A summary HOS rules and modifications may also be helpful.

Overview of Hours of Service Regulations

matthew-t-rader-1shWwOrkxEM-unsplash-copy-300x199You are probably not surprised to learn that crashes involving semis and other large trucks are among the most serious accidents on Florida roadways. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, these vehicles and their trailers can outweigh a passenger vehicle by as much as 20-30 times, depending on the cargo. Plus, in terms of distance, 18-wheelers can take up to 40% more space to stop as compared to cars.

Considering the severe, potentially catastrophic injuries that result from these crashes, you are probably wondering what you can recover as compensation if you are a victim. The question is difficult, since every case is different and depends upon your unique circumstances. However, Miami truck accident attorney can provide information on the factors that affect the amount of monetary damages, including:

The Costs of Medical Treatment

matthew-t-rader-1shWwOrkxEM-unsplash-copy-300x199Truck accidents are an unfortunate reality in Florida and across the US, as motorists frequently share the road with semis, box trucks, and other commercial vehicles. Based upon the difference in size, it is typically the occupants of the smaller vehicle who will suffer the most severe, potentially catastrophic injuries. However, two pieces of federal legislation recently introduced in Congress seek to reduce the frequency of deadly truck crashes and extend protections for victims. TruckingInfo.com, an online resource for trucking professionals, summarized the details of the measures that raise insurance coverage and require new safety features for trucks. 

Both bills remain under consideration, with opponents in the trucking industry decrying the cost and proponents emphasizing the implications for safety. Regardless, even if they both pass, the laws are no guarantee of eliminating crashes. A Miami truck accidents lawyer can assist with your claim if you were hurt, but an overview of the proposed legislation is helpful.

The INSURANCE Act

matthew-t-rader-1shWwOrkxEM-unsplash-copy-300x199Any truck collision can lead to serious injuries due to the size difference between an 18-wheeler and a passenger vehicle, but underride crashes are among the most horrific. An “underride” impact occurs when a smaller car slides underneath a truck’s trailer, often smashing the roof, shearing it off, or penetrating into the cabin. Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has enacted numerous rules requiring trucks to install preventative safety equipment, these crashes are still a severe threat. They can lead to catastrophic injuries that change the lives of victims forever.

If you were hurt in an underride crash, a Miami truck accident attorney can explain your rights and potential legal options to seek compensation. You may also find some general information to be useful.

What You Should Know About Underride Accidents

matthew-t-rader-1shWwOrkxEM-unsplash-copy-300x199According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, truck accidents in Miami-Date County make up just 13% of all traffic crashes. However, these incidents are far more likely to result in life-threatening or catastrophic injuries to occupants of the other vehicle. The losses for victims can be devastating, including sky-high medical bills, excruciating pain, and indescribable suffering. As such, it’s important to seek compensation from all available sources if you were injured in a truck crash.

Fortunately, state laws do extend liability in many truck accident claims – even beyond the truck driver and insurance company. You should discuss your situation with a Miami truck accident attorney, but some examples may help you understand what individuals and entities may be potential parties.

  • Trucking Company: It may be possible to pursue a trucking company that employs the truck driver or somehow contributed to the crash. For instance, the organization may have not checked the operator’s credentials and training, so it was negligent in hiring the individual. The company could also be a party if it encouraged speeding or noncompliance with Hours of Service laws.

Statistics issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that an estimated 116,000 people were injured in accidents involving large trucks in 2015. This means that, on average, nearly 318 people were hurt in truck accident every day in the United States.

Large commercial vehicles like semis, 18-wheelers, tanker trucks, and others pose risks to motorists not posed by smaller vehicles. For example, large trucks are much more prone to rollover accidents than smaller vehicles, due to their higher center of gravity. When trucks are involved in rollover accidents, they are impossible to control, often resulting in extremely serious injuries to those around them.

According to a report published by nbcmiami.com, a tractor-trailer ended up on its side after a rollover accident on a ramp from I-595 to the Florida Turnpike in Davie just north of Miami. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the crash, but the incident highlights the fact that these accidents can occur anywhere and without warning.

Large commercial trucks like semis, tankers, and others are common sight on Florida highways and interstates. As any driver with even moderate experience can confirm, the people who drive these vehicles sometimes drive in excess of the posted speed limit and may even engage in driving that makes others nervous or even downright afraid. This should come as no surprise, as long hours on the road and tight schedules often incentivize truck drivers to get to their destinations as quickly as possible.

These feelings are reasonable, as a speeding semi-truck traveling at 70 or 80 miles per hour could easily crush a smaller passenger vehicle, and truck accidents injure tens of thousands of people each year in the United States. In an effort to make our roadways safer, last year the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed equipping all newly manufactured trucks, buses, and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a gross vehicle rating of more than 26,000 pounds with speed limiters that would set their maximum speed at 06, 65 or 68 miles per hour.

Will the Rule Take Effect?

Traffic accidents involving commercial motor vehicles can cause substantial injuries. Unfortunately, these accidents occur all too often. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that in 2014 there were 3,424 injuries in large truck crashes that resulted in at least one fatality while 82,000 of the accidents resulted in at least one nonfatal injury.

Commercial motor vehicles are subject to a variety of regulations both state and federal. Some of these include the number of hours a driver can operate and other physical conditions and limitations that passenger vehicles are not required to follow including acceleration, braking, and visibility-related issues which are all more likely to result in substantial injuries than accidents only involving passenger cars. There are several important factors to consider when analyzing why commercial motor vehicle accidents are more likely to cause injury than automobile accidents involving passenger cars. Our Miami injury and accident attorneys have years of experience representing clients injured in auto, truck, and commercial vehicle accident cases. Some other factors our lawyers will analyze in a truck or commercial vehicle accident case include:

  • Size and Weight: Commercial motor vehicles weigh between 16,000 to 20,000 pounds. For example, any commercial motor vehicle that weighs beneath 80,000 pounds in gross is permitted to operate without a special permit. Commercial motor vehicle collisions involve objects of much greater size and force coming to a stop, which greatly increases the likelihood of injuries occurring.

If you are a bartender, or if you own a bar, there is an important law that you should be aware of: Florida’s dram shop law. This law was recently argued in a Florida court following a fatal car accident. Terry Dinkins of Water Park, the owner of Acme Comic Superstore, caused said accident. The night of the accident he visited a bar for an event hosted by Acme. He then drove away from the bar with a blood-alcohol level of 0.20, and began driving in the wrong direction down State Road 436. Mr Dinkins then collided head-on with a gray Nissan. Sylvia Barajas and Brandi Cole, passengers of the Nissan, were killed on impact. Three civil lawsuits followed, one being against the bar. This lawsuit alleges that the bar was negligent under Florida’s dram shop law. This post will define Florida’s dram shop law and hopefully provide some clarity.         

How the Dram Shop Law Works in Florida

Upfront, various states have dram shop laws that allow injured people to seek compensation from a third party, such as a bar or a host at a social gathering, if that third party provided alcohol to someone who then caused an alcohol related accident. Florida’s dram shop law differs from other states’ dram shop laws. In Florida, per Florida Statute Section 768.125, if an individual willfully and unlawfully provides alcohol to a minor under 21 years of age or knowingly provides alcohol to a person habitually addicted to alcohol, that person, or bar, may be held liable for any injuries caused by the minor or the person who is habitually addicted.