Accidents involving tractor-trailers usually result in catastrophic injuries or wrongful death. Though similar to car crashes, the fact is that accidents involving big rigs are considerably more grievous. If you or somebody you love has been in a trucking accident, you’ll want a seasoned Miami truck accident attorney to seek justice for you.
Sadly, Florida has the highest rate of truck accident fatalities nationwide, following a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report. More often than not, these collisions are caused by trucking companies and truck drivers failing to comply with various regulations put up to ensure their safety and those of others on the road.
Truckers work for extended hours and are usually under tremendous pressure to finish their routes on a strict schedule. This results in drivers cutting corners which amounts to recklessness and catastrophic accidents. Victims often suffer debilitating injuries like brain damage, shattered bones, and even death.
You don’t have to face this alone. Our Miami truck accident attorneys at Klotzman Law Firm can assist hold the responsible party or parties liable for your losses, injuries, and other expenses. We are dedicated to seeking justice and ensuring that our clients get a favorable case outcome.
Get in touch with our Miami truck accident lawyers at 954-915-7405 to arrange a free initial consultation with our injury lawyers. We will review your case and determine whether you have a valid claim. We handle the case first and only take payment after getting you compensated. This means that we will cover the investigative expenses, court fees, and other financial needs of the truck accident case.
Truck Accident Statistics in Florida
Truck wrecks are a nationwide crisis and are not unique to Florida only. In 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 5,237 fatal accidents involving large buses and trucks. This figure reduced by 1.3% in 2020. These crashes also resulted in serious injuries.
The accident statistics aren’t so contrasting in Florida. Here is a rundown of truck accident statistics in Florida for the year 2020.
Florida experienced 341,399 automobile collisions, from which 3,098 were fatal crashes, and 3,332 individuals passed away. From those numbers, heavy/medium trucks weighing over 10,000 lbs resulted in:
-111 debilitating injuries
-389 non-incapacitating injuries
-789 likely injuries; and
-27,044 individuals sustained no injuries
Light trucks weighing under 10,000 resulted in
-43 debilitating injuries
-232 non-incapacitating injuries
-633 likely injuries; and
-5,734 sustained no injuries.
A 2019 report listed Florida among the top three states with the most truck accidents. 182 truck collisions resulted in 202 deaths. The majority of these wrecks occurred on major roadways, with only a few of these tractor-trailers happening on remote or minor roads.
Inattention, speeding, and impairment were listed as the main contributing factors in truck collisions. Victims of commercial vehicle wrecks have grounds to seek reimbursement when the collision was due to somebody else’s carelessness.
What Should You Do After a Truck Accident?
There’s no denying that a trucking accident can be startling and result in confusion. You can easily find yourself not knowing what to do. And given how the crash can be complicated and implicate several parties and factors, it is in your interest to know your next steps if you are to protect your rights.
Following a truck accident in Miami, Florida, here are things to do and snares to avoid if you want to ensure you get fair compensation for losses and injuries suffered.
After the truck accident, you are required by law to call the authorities to the accident scene. Also, this is the first step in obtaining an official police report detailing what occurred. Don’t admit fault, point fingers or hypothesize what could have occurred. Convey the details of the accident to the officer(s) as you remember.
Check on the wellbeing of other people involved in the accident. Get aid for anybody who has sustained a severe injury if you can. Also, inquire from nearby people whether there’s a medical practitioner around to offer aid. To avoid further crashes, move the cars to the roadside.
Make sure to obtain the contact info of the truck driver and other parties involved, including their name, address, phone number, and insurance info. Following a truck wreck, you can file a claim against multiple parties, including the trucking company and the truck driver.
Document the Scene, Speak with Witnesses
If you can physically move, you should document the accident scene by taking a lot of images and videos of the vehicles, along with injuries sustained and other relevant visuals like skid marks or intoxicating substances in the truck.
Take photographs of the weather conditions along with the state of the road, if you feel they may have caused the truck accident. Additionally, to bolster your case, speak with anybody who may have witnessed how the accident happened. Take their contact info so that you can easily track them down later on to give an unbiased account of the incident.
Seek Medical Attention
Given how trucks are considerably larger and heavier compared to normal passenger vehicles, truck accidents usually cause severe and lasting injuries. So it’s integral that you get medical aid immediately after the crash.
Even if you feel fine, you may be suffering from internal injuries that may not be apparent. Also, having a medical record of your injuries will help show the extent of your injuries and can be used as evidence to validate your compensation claim. All expenses relating to your medical care will also be taken into account and included in the final settlement amount.
Contact an Attorney
No matter the circumstances surrounding your accident, make sure to consult with a Miami truck accident attorney right away. The injury attorneys at Klotzman Law Firm will review the intricacies of your case and walk you through your legal options. Your attorney will guide you on what to do to safeguard your rights and ensure you are compensated for the damages suffered.
What are the Laws Regarding Truck Accident Liability?
Accidents involving big rigs are unlike other kinds of automobile accidents. The trucking industry is held to stringent regulations compared to conventional passenger cars. Truckers and trucking companies in Miami must adhere to several state and federal laws.
Some of these truck safety regulations and laws include:
-Ascertaining that truckers get the right training.
-Ensuring the trucks meet safety standards.
-Submitting to regular alcohol or drug tests.
-Frequent truck servicing and inspections.
-Limit on the number of hours a trucker spends on the road.
There are additional codes of practice to adhere to when shipping hazardous material. Speak with a Miami truck accident lawyer to learn more about the laws and regulations that apply to your exact situation.
It’s important to note that Florida follows a no-fault auto insurance doctrine. This implies that you’ll have to pursue reimbursement from your own insurance carrier using your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance policy. But when your damages go above the maximum amount permitted, you can pursue extra compensation from the liable party using a third-party insurance claim.
All motorists must take up a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage. If you believe a trucker was responsible for a Miami truck accident, you can file a lawsuit against the trucker or their employer. The latter can be held culpable for the negligence of their driver and truck safety.
Florida also adheres to the pure comparative negligence principle, in that the compensable amount you are owed will take into account your percentage of fault in the truck accident. Consult with a Miami truck accident attorney at Klotzman Law Firm now for help distinguishing the various laws and regulations.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
Accidents involving 18-wheelers or semi-trucks are usually violent and have harrowing consequences. If you or somebody you love has sustained an injury in a truck wreck, you are likely dealing with serious and painful injuries. You may be necessitated to take time off work to nurse your injuries and regain your strength.
Recalling the crash may even elicit crippling fear or anxiety, inhibiting your mental faculties from getting over the ordeal and moving on with life. You have legal grounds to seek financial restitution if the poor decisions of somebody else led to the crash.
Truck accident cases are complicated enough without insurance adjusters and carriers trying to devalue or deny your claim. You’ll want to enlist our knowledgeable Miami truck accident attorneys at Klotzman Law Firm to navigate the legal side of things as you concentrate on recuperating.
Here’s how we will help:
You must have concrete proof showing how the truck driver acted negligently if you are to receive full compensation for losses and injuries suffered. To determine all the responsible parties, our team will conduct a thorough and independent investigation to uncover what really happened.
We will track down and collect witness statements, hire forensic experts, preserve available evidence, gather police reports and medical documentation showing that your injuries are related to the crash, and acquire any pertinent piece of evidence.
Filing a Claim
Filing a claim properly isn’t as simple as you may presume. The judicial system is elaborate, and numerous legal jargon and procedures need to be adhered to. You risk invalidating your compensation claim by filing a claim wrongly.
When we have built an airtight compensation claim, we will move to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party or parties. We are familiar with the corridors of justice and how the courts work. We know precisely where the pitfalls are and will ascertain your claim is filed properly and within the time limits.
Not all cases are decided in court. Most civil cases are resolved through out-of-court negotiations. Don’t try to engage with insurance carriers or their representatives alone. Their goal is to pay as little reimbursement as possible.
We will undertake the negotiations in your stead after computing the cost of your damages. We will be present in all settlement negotiations and provide our opinion if any offers made are too low or fair, so you are not tricked into accepting a lower amount than you deserve.
At times, negotiations fall through, and when this occurs, the next course of action is heading to court. We are more than prepared to advocate on your behalf in court and ensure that your rights are protected and that justice is served. We will fight to ensure you get the highest possible compensable amount.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive?
The goal of truck accident attorneys is to hold all negligent parties that contributed to your trucking accident or injuries culpable for their actions. Following a truck wreck, an individual may be entitled to several kinds of compensation to cover damages suffered.
Victims of Truck accidents in Miami may be entitled to seek the following types of damages:
These damages are meant to reimburse accident victims for any monetary loss they may have incurred due to the truck accident. Economic damages can be computed and include expenses like lost earnings, medical bills, property damage, lost earning capability, funeral costs, etc.
These damages are more subjective and losses suffered cannot be quantified. They include emotional trauma, mental distress, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, permanent disfigurement and disability, etc.
In Florida, these damages are rarely awarded but the court may decide to grant it if the responsible party is found to have acted particularly carelessly or maliciously and with utter disregard for the wellbeing of others. It’s meant to act as a punishment as well as a deterrent to would-be perpetrators. Florida caps punitive damages at $500,000, or three times the compensable amount.
No injury attorney can give you a definitive figure on how much money in damages you will receive in the end. Nevertheless, a seasoned Miami truck accident attorney can assess the details of your case and come up with a rough estimate.
To find out what damages you can seek, book a no-cost consultation with Klotzman Law Firm now.
How Much is My Truck Accident Claim Worth?
The fact is that determining the exact worth of your truck accident claim is not a straightforward process. This is largely because every case is unique and has unique parameters. You cannot determine the actual value without taking into account the specifics of the accident.
These factors come into play when trying to figure out how much your claim is worth:
-The seriousness of injuries suffered
-The degree of property damage
-Present and future medical costs
-Present and future lost earnings
-If there will be a lasting disability
When you reach out to Klotzman Law Firm, an accident lawyer will evaluate the factors affecting your case and provide you with an estimate of the compensation amount you are entitled to. Arrange for a case review to learn the worth of your truck accident claim.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Claim?
Yes. There is a time limit for victims who have suffered losses or injuries to file a claim in Florida. Unless you can give a justifiable reason for allowing the time to lapse, accident victims are required to submit their claim within four years of the accident date.
You will have relinquished your right to get compensated if you or your lawyer don’t make a claim within this 4-year timeframe. Our personal injury attorneys will begin working on your case as soon as you reach out. This period may seem like a long time but it isn’t. Focus on recovering as we deal with the paperwork.
How is Fault in a Truck Accident Determined?
It can be challenging to prove who was liable in a truck wreck. You’ll have to definitively show that the trucker or the trucking company was legally mandated to ensure your safety and that that responsibility was breached, resulting in the accident, and subsequent injuries.
With regard to truckers, you must demonstrate how their inaction or actions played a role in the crash and your losses. The same reasoning is used when dealing with trucking companies and other likely responsible parties like truck manufacturers and independent maintenance providers.
The capable Miami truck accident attorneys at Klotzman Law Firm can probe the truck wreck and build a compelling case using reconstruction specialists and other relevant evidence.
Thus, to establish liability in Florida, the following doctrines of negligence must be proven:
Duty of care – Being the plaintiff, you will need to prove that the trucker or company were responsible for your safety. To put it differently, you must point out the connection between the truck driver and yourself.
Breach of duty of care – You must definitively highlight how the trucker, company, or any other liable party failed to exercise reasonable care and put your safety in jeopardy. For instance, the driver was intoxicated in the moments leading to the crash.
Causation – This will involve showing how the reckless actions of the company, trucker, or any other party involved caused the crash, which an otherwise reasonable driver wouldn’t. For instance, if the accident was a result of drinking, you can present visual evidence of the drunk driver or bottles of alcohol at the time of the accident.
Damage – You will need to show that because of the accident, you incurred certain damages and need financial restitution to cover expenses. This includes economic and non-economic damages. Can a Lawyer Prove the Truck Driver was Negligent?
Yes. There are methods a competent truck accident attorney can prove negligence. Even with the heavy regulations imposed on the trucking sector, breaches are increasingly becoming prevalent. Any accident that occurs due to regulation infringement usually results in devastating injuries.
For the truck driver to be found guilty of negligence, your attorney will need to show the four doctrines of negligence were upheld.
After a truck accident, the ensuing expenses can be overwhelming to bear. You may need extended care and possibly have to miss work because of injuries sustained. A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in Miami knows exactly what evidence to use when establishing liability.
Your lawyer can prove the trucker was negligent by examining the data collected in the black box of the truck. This tool is basically an electronic device that tracks the number of hours driven. Other devices even record the speed the driver is going in real time.
Other pieces of evidence your lawyer can use to prove the trucker’s negligence include:
-Images and videos of the accident scene
-The police report
-Witness statement or testimony
-BAC limit and drug tests
-Accident reconstruction specialists
Who Can be Held Liable?
In contrast to many traffic accidents where liability is evident, multiple parties may share blame in a trucking accident. Here are some of the parties you can hold liable for your injuries and losses.
-Truck Driver: This is the first party to allocate blame since they had physical control of the vehicle and acted negligently resulting in the accident. Hence, if the driver was drunk or distracted at the accident, they will be held accountable for their actions.
-Trucking Company: Following the principle of vicarious liability, the trucking company is responsible for the actions of the driver. Trucking enterprises are required to subject their driver to extensive training and conduct a background check highlighting their conduct.
If the company employs an unqualified driver or fails to conduct scheduled maintenance and inspection on their commercial vehicles, you have grounds to sue both the trucker and their trucking business.
-Company Who Loaded the Truck: Chances are that the trucker isn’t tasked with packing, loading and securing the products in the rig. The loading company or the cargo loader may be deemed culpable if improperly secured cargo results in a crash.
-Vehicle or Parts Manufacturers: Malfunctioning vehicle components can result in truck wrecks. In this case, you can pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the defective parts.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Similar to how no two truck accidents are similar, several factors can play a part in the truck accident.
Oversized or Poorly Secured Cargo
Inexperienced or unqualified Drivers
Poor Road Conditions
Lack of Truck Maintenance
Understand Your Options By Consulting with a Miami Truck Accident Attorney!
If you have been the victim of a trucking accident, or have lost somebody you love in the crash, there’s a lot to take into account following the incident. Recuperating from injuries suffered or undergoing the grieving process should be the number one priority. You don’t have to carry the financial weight of someone else’s negligence. Call a Miami truck accident lawyer to recoup compensation in your stead.
Our dedicated accident attorneys at Klotzman Law Firm are conversant with Florida truck accident negligence laws and will aggressively push to get you fully compensated. You can contact us at 954-915-7405 to arrange a complimentary case evaluation.