Accidents involving large trucks usually cause the most serious injuries. The reason for this is that trucks can be hard to navigate and require extended stopping time. If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a truck accident, the skilled Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyers atKlotzman Law Firm can help you recover the financial compensation you are entitled to.
Call us today at 954-915-7405 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our lawyers.
Truck Accident Statistics
According to the most recent data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), in 2021:
– 36,592 accidents were reported involving trucks.
– Of these accidents, 30 people suffered fatalities, 148 were incapacitated, and 560 suffered other types of injuries.
If you compare the statistics above to those of previous years, it doesn’t appear that truck accidents in Florida are slowing down. Rather, accidents regularly result in numerous deaths and devastating injuries.
What Should You Do After a Trucking Accident?
Any auto accident is often traumatic for the victims. If you’re involved in a Fort Lauderdale truck accident, however, it can be particularly overwhelming. Oftentimes, injuries suffered are substantial and the shock of the crash can be crippling. Still, you should follow certain guidelines after a truck accident:
If you’re involved in a truck accident, you should call 911 immediately. Police officers will arrive at the accident scene, examine it, and prepare a report containing critical information that will be highly beneficial if you decide to pursue a claim for compensation against the at-fault party.
You are required to provide reasonable assistance to others injured in the accident, which includes arranging transportation of those injured to hospital. Check on the well-being of passengers in your vehicle and determine whether anyone needs to go to the emergency room. Call an ambulance for each person injured.
Ensure that you note down the name, driver’s license number, insurance information, and contact information of everyone involved in the accident. Include documentation about the type of truck involved in the crash, the company the truck driver was hauling for, and the goods that were being transported.
Document the Scene
If you can, take as many photos or videos of the accident scene as you can. Make sure that you include pictures of the trucks and vehicles involved in the crash, any visible skid marks, injuries, weather conditions, traffic signs near the accident scene, and any other important details.
Speak with Witnesses
If any witnesses were present at the time of the crash, ensure that you get their name and contact information. Eyewitness testimony can help corroborate your version of events and increase your chances of recovering compensation.
Seek Medical Attention
It might not always be apparent whether or not you have suffered injuries in the accident, but you should seek medical attention without delay, even if you believe you aren’t injured. In some instances, injuries aren’t known until hours or days after the accident happens.
The EMTs at the accident scene can give you a preliminary examination and recognize symptoms of serious injuries like traumatic brain injuries that you might not be aware of yet. Furthermore, seeking medical attention creates a record of your injuries that helps establish the extent of damages in your case.
Contact an Attorney
A detail-oriented attorney, such as those at Klotzman Law Firm can help you collect evidence, interview witnesses, file the paperwork to recover damages on your behalf, and correspond with insurance companies.
If you suffered injuries in a Fort Lauderdale truck accident, our lawyers can relieve you of the burden of having to do all the aforementioned and instead focus on your recovery. Call us today at 954-915-7405 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation.
What Are the Laws Regarding Truck Accident Liability?
Commercial vehicles in the United States are heavily regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which creates and enforces trucking regulations. Florida also has its own laws meant to keep commercial motor vehicle operations safe that are enforced by the Florida Highway Patrol Office of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (OCVE).
Truckers and trucking companies in Florida are required to follow many trucking regulations, which include:
– Hours of service regulations that define how long truckers are allowed to drive within a certain time period.
– Intoxication regulations that place the legal limit for a trucker’s blood-alcohol-content (BAC) at .04 percent as opposed to the .08 percent.
– Load regulations that include the maximum size and weight of the weight of the vehicle with the cargo.
– Inspection regulations that include when and how often a truck driver is required to inspect the vehicle.
– Hiring regulations dictate that trucking companies aren’t allowed to hire drivers with histories of poor driving records, DUIs, or other issues that make them unable to drive safely.
– Licensing regulations that require truck drivers to have a valid commercial driver’s license and any extra endorsements required for specific truck and cargo types.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
If you have been involved in a truck accident, you may find that Fort Lauderdale truck accident attorneys from Klotzman Law Firm invaluable. Here are the various ways we can help you:
Our lawyers can conduct a thorough investigation of your accident to obtain evidence, including truck black box recordings, inspection logs, driver communications, medical reports, vehicle manifests, accident reports, and other information to build a strong claim for damages.
Filing a Claim
Our lawyers will then evaluate all aspects of your case. Then, we will determine who the defendants are in your case and how much compensation you’re eligible to claim. We will also file your claim before expiry of the statute of limitations.
Our lawyers will also ensure that the insurance company negotiates in good faith and makes a fair settlement offer, accounting for your damages as well as their value. We have the resources, skills, and experience to handle negotiations and ensure that you receive maximum compensation.
If negotiations fail to work out, our experienced truck accident lawyers won’t hesitate to sue and take your case to court. Furthermore, we will ensure that you meet the 4-year statutory deadline for filing a personal injury claim in Florida.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive?
Here are the different types of compensation that you can receive:
Economic damages are the losses that hold a fixed monetary value. You can usually prove that you suffered these damages through pay stubs, medical bills, vehicle repair and replacement invoices, or other kinds of receipts. Examples include but aren’t limited to:
– Medical Expenses, which includes reimbursement for doctor’s appointments, medications, physical therapy, surgeries, medical equipment, ambulance transportation, etc.
– Loss of Wages: Your injuries may prevent you from ever working again. If you’re self-employed and are unable to work, you can claim loss of business opportunity.
– Property Damage: In a truck accident, your vehicle and other personal belongings may be damaged beyond repair. The at-fault party may be liable for your destroyed property.
Non-economic damages cover the physical and psychological pain suffered because of the accident. It is almost impossible to assign a dollar amount to these damages, which is why you need to hire a lawyer to help you. Examples include but aren’t limited to:
– Loss of consortium: The truck accident could have taken a toll on your relationship with your spouse or partner.
– Pain and Suffering: The truck accident may have been an incredibly traumatic experience. You may experience anxiety, flashbacks, and depression on top of the physical pain.
– Scarring and Disfigurement: You may have lost temporary or permanent use of a body part or received some scarring that restricts your overall movement and function.
In rare cases, courts in Florida may award injured parties punitive damages if they find that the defendant’s negligent behavior was reasonably and extremely careless or reckless. Courts usually award these damages in addition to other recoverable damages.
How Much Is My Truck Accident Claim Actually Worth?
It is usually almost impossible to provide a precise dollar amount of what your truck accident claim is actually worth since there’s no standard settlement or value. Instead, what you are able to recover typically depends on factors specific to your life and the accident. Key considerations include:
– The number of vehicles involved
– The type of truck involved in the accident
– Your age at the time of the accident
– How your life has been impacted by the accident
– Changes in your earning capacity
– Your injuries, including the types and severity
– Your shared responsibility for the accident.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Claim?
Yes. Your time to file a claim after a Fort Lauderdale truck accident is limited. The time within which you are required to file a claim is known as the statute of limitations and it is 4 years from the date of the accident in Florida.
While the 4-year period might sound like a long time, a truck accident investigation and claim may easily take anywhere from 1 to 3 years. If there was a death resulting from the truck accident, then the statute of limitations is 2 years to file a wrongful death claim.
How Is Fault in a Truck Accident Determined?
Determining fault in a truck accident can be rather challenging, especially without legal representation. This is because you have to understand certain legal concepts before saying for certain that a truck driver or another motorist is liable for your damages. That’s why you need to hire a lawyer.
To prove fault in a truck accident, your lawyer must prove the following 4 elements of negligence:
- Duty of Care
All drivers are legally obligated to take reasonable care not to cause injury to other road users with their conduct while behind the wheel. Truck drivers, however, are held to a higher standard of care especially during extreme weather.
Trucking companies are also obligated to ensure that their fleet is properly maintained to keep their drivers and other road users safe. They must also take reasonable steps to hire qualified drivers by conducting employee background checks and offering regular training and health checks.
- Breach of Duty
A breach of duty may occur when a trucking company, truck driver, or any other party related to the operations of the trucking company engages in negligent behavior, which includes but is not limited to the following:
– Failure of trucking companies to maintain their fleet
– Distracted driving
– Speeding and other reckless actions
– Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
– Faulty mechanical parts, such as tires or brakes
– Improperly loading a truck’s cargo
– Overloading a truck’s cargo
– Trucking companies disregarding safety to speed up deliveries
– Trucking companies not conducting proper background checks before hiring new drivers
– Unreasonable work schedules of trucking companies, resulting in truckers violating safety rules and regulations.
Once it is determined that there was a breach of duty, your lawyer will have to prove that the breach of duty directly caused the accident that resulted in your injuries. This is known as causation. Proof of causation usually comes from evidence gathered by your lawyer, such as expert testimony, medical reports, etc.
Causation is often that part of the claim that’s usually the focus of any defense against your case. The legal team representing the at-fault party will always seek ways to create doubt surrounding the question of whether your injuries were a direct result of the accident.
Damages include your injuries and losses resulting from the accident, which can be:
– Financial losses, which include lost wages, medical bills, and reduced earning capacity. Other losses include rehabilitation costs as well as other expenses related to your long-term care.
– Non-economic losses, which may include compensation for your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), etc.
Can a Lawyer Prove the Truck Driver Was Negligent?
Yes. A lawyer can prove that the truck driver was negligent and therefore at-fault for the accident by reviewing key pieces of evidence, which include but aren’t limited to:
– Witness statements as well as the contact information of the said witnesses
– Visual evidence such as photos and video footage of the accident scene
– The official police report detailing the accident.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
Under Florida law, liability for a truck accident can be assigned to one, or several parties and is usually shared by everybody that plays a role in the crash. Depending on the specific facts of your case, liable parties may include:
– Truck Driver: If the truck driver was found to be the negligent party (i.e., fell asleep at the wheel, was driving under the influence of alcohol and/drugs), they may be found responsible for the accident.
– Trucking Company: A trucking company that fails to properly maintain its fleet, or requires its drivers to drive longer hours than allowed by federal regulations, or it doesn’t follow proper hiring procedures, can be held liable.
– Company Who Loaded the Truck: If the company responsible for loading the truck failed to properly secure or balance the cargo, which resulted in an accident, they can be held responsible for the accident.
– Vehicle or Parts Manufacturers: If the accident was caused by an issue with the vehicle, such as faulty brakes, then the manufacturer of the vehicle or the defective part can be held liable for the accident.
A careful review of all available evidence by our experienced truck accident lawyers at Klotzman Law Firm can help you identify all the parties liable for your injuries. Call us today at 954-915-7405 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation where we can help you identify the liable parties in your truck accident that you can pursue compensation from.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents in Fort Lauderdale and throughout the United States are often the result of driver error. In fact, truck driver error is a component in about one-third of all fatal truck accidents. Here are some common causes of truck accidents:
Fatigued or tired driving is usually a significant problem in the trucking industry. Truck drivers often have to work long hours due to their schedule and don’t get the sleep they need. As a result, this type of fatigued driving may lead to serious accidents.
Distracted driving is perhaps one of the most common reasons for the occurrence of truck accidents. It’s usually tough for drivers to remain focused, and typically, drivers are trying to do many things at once such as talking on the phone, drinking, eating, etc. Just a few seconds of distraction, however, can prove deadly on the road.
Unfortunately, some drivers decide to drive recklessly, regardless of the danger that it poses to themselves and other road users. Actions such as speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and tailgating are all examples of reckless driving that can lead to a serious accident.
The blood-alcohol-content (BAC) limit as specified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is 0.04 percent, which is half of the BAC limit for all other drivers on American roads, showing how serious the law is against drunk or drugged driving.
The law also prohibits the consumption of alcohol by truck drivers within 4 hours of operating a commercial vehicle for their trucking company. Truckers are also not allowed to drive while on duty. DUI is a felony regardless of the circumstances.
Oversized or Improperly Secured Freight
While there are strict limits on the amount of cargo a truck may carry, in some instances, the company will go overboard with the cargo. Loading trucks in an unsafe manner can cause them to become unbalanced thereby causing tip overs and other accidents
Oversized or improperly secured freight doesn’t just make the truck heavier, it also makes the cargo more likely to move inside the truck, which affects the entire vehicle’s balance. Unfortunately, this can prove to be very dangerous especially around corners and sharp bends.
Poorly Trained or Inexperienced Drivers
Poor training isn’t a cause of truck accidents that can be attributed to the driver, since it is the trainer rather than the trainee that’s responsible for providing proper driving training. A poorly-trained driver might not even be aware of their lack of experience and skills.
Lack of Truck Maintenance
All trucks, by law, must be maintained and the trucking company is required to keep an active logbook of all maintenance work and repairs. However, since trucks are in great demand, some companies usually cut corners and neglect maintaining their trucks.
Just about every day, there are trucks on Fort Lauderdale highways and highways throughout Florida with balding tires, poor brakes, steering when problems, and more. Unfortunately, all these issues can lead to accidents.
Malfunctioning equipment is one of the leading causes of truck accidents in Fort Lauderdale. Tire blowouts, broken headlights, defective brakes, defective trailer hitches, and defective steering columns are just a few examples of equipment malfunction that may lead to a serious accident.
Poor Road Conditions
Poor road conditions caused by poor road maintenance can easily cause a truck to lose control resulting in an accident. In particular, road construction, large potholes, unexpected detours, and confusing traffic signals can all cause accidents.
Need an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale? Call Us Today!
Trucking accidents often cause catastrophic injuries, loss of life, and property damage and the resulting legal cases can be highly complex. If you or a loved one has been negatively impacted by a Fort Lauderdale truck accident, you deserve to have the best legal representation.
At Klotzman Law Firm, our compassionate and experienced Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyers will be your trusted partner during this difficult time. Trust us to fight for the justice you deserve. Call us today at 954-915-7405 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and case review.