Fort Lauderdale Truck Accident Attorney
Protecting the rights and interests of the injured in Florida
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles recorded more than 67,000 total truck accidents involving light, medium and heavy trucks, truck tractors or cabs in 2010. More than 41,000 of these involved injuries, and more than 800 were fatal. Accidents involving commercial trucks — such as 18-wheelers, semi-trucks or big rigs — are especially dangerous because of the immense size and weight of the vehicles.
At Boone & Davis, Attorneys at Law, our Fort Lauderdale truck accident attorneys understand how devastating a truck accident can be for the victims, including truck drivers, drivers and passengers of other vehicles, and pedestrians. Our lawyers use their more than 35 years of practical experience in injury litigation and their background in insurance law to help victims obtain the compensation they need for medical costs, lost wages and disability, pain and suffering, and other damages.
- Car/Truck Collision
- Cement Truck Accident
- Commercial Truck Accident
- DUI Truck Accident
- Dump Truck Accident
- Flatbed Truck Accident
- FMCSA Regulations
- Garbage Truck Accident
- Heavy Truck Accident
- Mack Truck Accident
- Preventing Tractor Trailer Accident
- Rental Truck Accident
- Tanker Truck Accident
- Truck Driver Fatigue
- Truck Accident Insurance
- Unsecured Truck Load
- 18-Wheeler Accident
Who is liable for truck accident injuries and fatalities in Florida?
When a trucking accident occurs, many parties may be liable for the resulting injuries, fatalities or other damages. Florida state and federal trucking regulations are strict and require minimum hours of rest breaks, maximum allowable driving times, maximum load allowances, maintenance and inspection requirements, and many other rules. When truckers or their employers violate these rules, they may be held liable for the injuries that result.
In many cases, a truck driver or other driver may be at fault because they were speeding, distracted, drunk or otherwise driving negligently. When a truck driver is negligent, the trucking company that employs the driver is often liable for injuries caused as long as the driver was working at the time. This may include interstate truck drivers, drivers of delivery trucks, construction vehicle drivers and others. However, if a driver is not working at the time of the accident, the employer is not liable. This means that drivers of rental vehicles, such as U-Haul trucks, would be liable for their own negligence unless they were renting the vehicle for work purposes and during working hours.
At Boone and Davis, our Fort Lauderdale truck accident attorneys provide attentive, no-nonsense representation for victims of truck accidents that are caused by the negligence or fault of all types of other people and companies, including:
- Truck-driver negligence or recklessness
- Negligence or recklessness by drivers of other vehicles
- Employer liability for trucker negligence
- Improper driver training or safety requirements by employers
- Negligent hiring of drivers by employers
- Inadequate truck maintenance or inspections
- Improperly loaded or oversize vehicles
- Defective auto or truck parts
Following an accident, victims often have no idea what happened. The entire collision happened in a blur, and all they know is that they are in incredible pain in the back of an ambulance or still in their crumpled car. Let an experienced Fort Lauderdale truck accident attorney untangle the legal issues to determine liability for the wreck. Now is the time to focus on getting well, not trying to perform an investigation on your own.
Truck accident injuries: serious and life-changing
Trucks are so heavy and large that they can cause shocking injuries when they collide with pedestrians or the occupants of smaller vehicles. As seasoned Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyers, we meet with victims and their families all the time to discuss how they are trying to recover from the accident. They are very courageous and honest about how hard it is to come back from a serious injury.
Some of the worst truck accident injuries include:
- Many victims suffer multiple fractures, including shattered bones which require screws, plates, and pins to keep together. Fractures also have many complications, including malunion and permanent pain.
- Nerve damage. An accident can permanently damage nerves, leading to chronic pain.
- Some victims lose a limb, either because it is damaged beyond repair or because of a crush injury which necessitates an amputation to save the victim’s life. An amputation can obviously impede a person’s ability to return to their old life.
- Back injuries. These injuries are some of the most disabling that a person can suffer, especially any injury involving the spinal column. Trauma to the spinal column can lead to narrowing and chronic pain.
- Head injuries. A person can suffer intracranial bleeding and other injuries to the head when involved in a truck accident. Any delay in treatment can be fatal.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Heavy blows to the skull can permanently alter how the brain operates. Many people suffering from a TBI report difficulty walking, talking, and remembering. TBIs can also lead to mood and personality changes.
- Spinal cord damage. A person can suffer permanent paralysis or impaired sensation when the spinal column itself is nicked, torn, severed, or bruised.
These devastating physical injuries do not even account for the psychological distress that our clients suffer after a wreck. Some are terrified of riding in a vehicle again and will avoid it at all costs. Some sink into a deep depression or relive the accident over and over as they struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Unsurprisingly, the entire family often suffers. More than one family needs family counseling to try and deal with the changes wrought by the truck accident.
What are common types of trucks and truck accidents?
Trucking accidents may involve all types of trucks, from an enormous 18-wheeler or semi-truck, to a medium size box truck, delivery vehicle or garbage truck, and a smaller tow truck, pickup truck or other light truck. When accidents with these trucks occur, catastrophic injuries or even multiple fatalities can result, which makes it in your best interests to have an attorney on your side with the skills and resources to obtain full compensation for you. Our seasoned Fort Lauderdale truck accident attorneys have extensive experience helping victims of all types of truck accidents:
- Tire blowouts
- Brake failure
- Equipment failure because of defects or poor maintenance
- Inadequate braking distance or improper braking technique
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end accidents
- Side-impact crashes
- Blind spot accidents
- Wide-turn crashes
- Truck overloading or unsecured load accidents
- Underside accidents
- Truck rollovers
- Detachment accidents
Evidence for a truck accident case
The heart of any case is the evidence our clients have that someone else is responsible for the accident that injured them. Without this evidence, you cannot make a claim for compensation no matter how injured you are. Florida law is very clear: a person or business is on the hook to pay compensation only if their negligent or wrongful conduct caused your injuries.
How do you find this evidence? For one thing, you might be so injured that you literally can’t move following a wreck. Unfortunately, quite a bit of valuable evidence is at the accident scene. If possible, someone should try to collect it for you if you cannot move yourself.
For example, someone should get the names of anyone who saw the accident, coupled with their contact number. Witnesses could include the driver or passenger of another vehicle which stopped after the wreck. They might have enlightening information to share about how the accident happened.
You should also try to take some pictures of the vehicles involved following the wreck, including any debris field. Often, this information proves helpful at establishing how the accident unfolded. If possible, use your cell phone to take pictures or ask someone else at the scene to take pictures for you.
Few people realize it, but the trucking company usually sends a representative or an investigator to the scene of the accident within hours. This person begins identifying witnesses, interviewing people, and taking photographs. The trucking company realizes that evidence can disappear, so it focuses on collecting it as soon as possible. Injured victims need someone in their corner who can do the same.
Truck accidents differ from regular car wrecks in another critical way: the truck itself usually has important information. Newer trucks are rigged with electronic systems that continuously store information about the truck, such as when it is in motion and whether the driver hit the brakes. This information often proves vital when trying to reconstruct what happened in the moments leading up to a crash.
Are truck accidents on the rise?
For years, the trucking industry has been struggling with a worker shortage, so they have begun to aggressively recruit workers. One strategy has been to pay retired drivers to come back into a cab and drive again.
Unfortunately, a CBS news story has shown that older drivers are responsible for more accidents involving commercial vehicles. According to their study, drivers over the age 65 now make up 10% of all drivers. And accidents involving drivers aged 70 and older increased nearly 20% over a three-year period. Although most older drivers are careful, the odds of an accident do increase, endangering everyone on the road.
The trucking industry has also tried to broaden the applicant pool by letting drivers under age 21 get commercial driver licenses and begin hauling. The federal government has recently agreed to start a pilot program allowing those aged 18-21 to work as apprentices for trucking companies. Putting inexperienced drivers on the road carries considerable risk, since these drivers are less experienced than adults.
As the industry struggles to find workers, we anticipate that some will cut corners. Perhaps they will not report when their drivers fail drug tests or physicals, or they will pressure workers to drive longer than currently allowed. In many cases, filing a lawsuit is the only way to keep the industry accountable to the public. Over the past few years, the government has loosened rules under pressure from the powerful trucking industry and public safety has been endangered. Fight back.
Comparative negligence applies to truck accidents, too
In Florida, an accident victim’s own careless action could have contributed to an accident. This is also true of truck collisions. For example, you might have been looking on your phone while driving too close to a truck, or you could have tried to pass in the truck’s blind spot. In other situations, you might have cut off a truck that was going too fast. These actions illustrate carelessness on the victim’s part, even if the truck driver was also careless.
Under Florida Statute § 768.81, a victim’s own negligence must be compared to that of the defendants in a lawsuit. Fortunately, Florida is not like other states that bar a person’s ability to sue if their fault is equal to or greater than the defendants’. Instead, Florida always allows a victim to sue provided someone else is at least 1% to blame.
However, our clients will receive less compensation. For example, if you were 55% to blame, then you will receive only 45% of your damages.
For these and other reasons, trucking companies often defend their cases by pointing a finger at our clients and blame them for their own wrecks. These companies might subpoena a driver’s cell phone records to see if they were on the phone in the moments before the wreck. They might also use other witness testimony to cast doubt on the victim’s driving.
At Boone & Davis, our Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyers anticipate these tactics—and we know how to counter them. We carefully review what happened in the moments before the collision with our clients and make sure that trucking companies do not twist our client’s words out of context.
Contact trusted Fort Lauderdale truck accident attorneys to recover compensation from insurers and negligent parties
Truck accidents are generally complicated, often involving complex state and federal laws, employer liability, insurance issues and accident reconstruction. Through in-depth investigation, a network of supporting experts and lawyers with more than 35 years of experience, our Fort Lauderdale truck accident attorneys at Boone & Davis, Attorneys at Law has the skills and resources you can rely on. To learn more about our services, contact us online or call 954-566-9919 for a free initial consultation today.