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Miami Truck Accident Lawyers

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Each year in the United States between 3,000 and 4,000 individuals die in crashes with huge trucks like big rigs or construction vehicles. A myriad of people are injured and/or endure property damage in truck accidents. A completely loaded commercial truck can weigh over thirty times more than an average car.  With such a huge weight difference, many truck accidents bring about damage much more serious than between two passenger vehicles. This is where truck accident law comes in.

Truck accident law includes personal injuries experienced by a passenger vehicle’s occupants due to a crash with a commercial freight truck called a big rig or 18-wheeler. In theses cases, liability is based on the negligence doctrine. Since the negligent party is a professional truck driver, numerous legal sources will apply. These consist of traffic laws and civil liability regulations in addition to rules of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The lawyers who specialize in theses types of cases are truck accident lawyers who usually work in personal injury law firms.

Florida truck accident law can be more complicated than laws governing car crashes because truck accidents frequently involve a lot of various factors and many different drivers. Commercial vehicles and private passenger vehicles were covered by the state’s no-fault law prior to February 2018. If a person has an accident involving a truck or other commercial vehicle in Miami, he or she must consult a Miami truck accident attorney as soon as possible.

modern black truck

Differences Between Truck and Car Accidents in Miami

Size and weight are the main differences between a commercial vehicle, such as a big-rig, or 18-wheeler, and a passenger vehicle. What may have been just a minor accident between two cars can become a catastrophe when a large truck is involved.  The typical passenger vehicle weighs around 3,000 pounds while a completely loaded tractor-trailer truck can weigh 80,000 pounds. In a crash between these two vehicles, it is not hard to realize who the loser would be. Catastrophic injuries can ensue. Due to this, truck drivers and owners must carry insurance with higher liability limits than ordinary car insurance. Commercial trucks need more time to stop than passenger vehicles, speed up more slowly, have more driver blind spots, require more space to maneuver, and need exact control when turning or backing up.

Kinds of Catastrophic Injuries Endured in Truck Accidents

Truck accidents frequently happen at highway speeds and might include rear-end, side-impact, or head-on crashes. Due to the huge size of a truck or tractor-trailer and elevated rate of speed rate, any collision with a smaller vehicle is likely to lead to severe—and possibly catastrophic–injuries and damages. The most usual kinds of catastrophic injuries endured in Florida truck accidents consist of the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): TBI can devastate your life or even kill you. What is most insidious is that in some cases, symptoms do not appear until well after the accident. If you failed to seek immediate medical treatment, believing that you were not injured, this can be used to assert that your condition was not caused by the accident.
  • Fractures: Even a small fracture that is barely noticed can cause debilitating arthritis decades later, especially if it occurs on a joint (the knee, for example).
  • Broken bones: Broken bones are excruciatingly painful. A full recovery is not guaranteed in some cases – you may suffer permanent disability.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries can cause intense pain, paralysis, incontinence and a host of other symptoms. Damages for a spinal cord injury can be immense.
  • Abrasions: If you were driving a motorcycle or were thrown from your vehicle, “road rash” is a common result. Road rash can be excruciatingly painful and can cause extensive scarring.
  • Paralysis: Paralysis not only prevents you from living normal life, it can prevent you from working altogether or cause a drastic drop in your income.
  • Long-lasting scarring: Permanent scarring is not only a physical event; it can also cause great psychological distress.
  • Facial contusions: Facial contusions can result in particularly acute psychological distress if permanent scarring results.
  • Death: Although a deceased victim cannot be compensated for truck accident, his family may be entitled to compensation under Florida’s wrongful death statute.

broken bones x-ray

Catastrophic injuries can lead to extensive hospital stays, extended courses of medical treatment or physical therapy, future medical procedures, and, in the severest cases, long-term nursing home care. Each one of these damages are compensable according to law. In a few cases, injuries endured in a Florida truck accident can be long-lasting and might have an effect an accident victim’s capacity to live and work. For instance, the accident victim may need to engage in a more manageable duty job or alter professions overall since the person can no longer satisfy the physical requirements of a specific job. An accident victim could also play sports, participate in recreational activities, or spend time with family to the same degree that he or she could prior to the accident. All the awkwardness, permanency, and lost quality of life connected to accident injuries and damages are completely compensable according to Florida law.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What should you do after a truck accident?

To the extent that your physical condition allows, you should take the following steps:

  • Call 911 to summon the police and an ambulance.
  • Photograph the scene of the accident and the damage to your vehicle.
  • Collect the contact and insurance details of the other driver(s) in the accident, as well as the contact details of any witnesses.
  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Strictly follow doctor’s orders. Failing to do so could reduce the value of your claim.
  • Stop using social media until your claim is resolved. The insurance company could be snooping for evidence to use against you.
  • Contact an experienced Miami truck accident lawyer.

What are the different types of compensation that are available in a truck accident?

Four different types of damages are commonly awarded in truck accident cases:

  • Economic damages such as medical bills and lost wages;
  • Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or inability to enjoy life;
  • Punitive damages (rarely awarded); and/or
  • Wrongful death damages, which are paid to close relatives if the victim died in the accident:

What are the most common causes of truck accidents?

The five most common causes of truck accidents are:

  • Driver error (following too closely, for example);
  • Substandard maintenance (driving on worn tires, for example);
  • Equipment failure (faulty brakes, for example);
  • Bad weather (wet or icy roads, for example); and
  • Faulty cargo loading (overloading, for example).

Who might I be able to file a truck accident claim against?

Depending on the circumstances of your case, there are many possible defendants in a truck accident case, including:

  • the truck driver;
  • the trucking company;
  • the city or state government (for bad road conditions or a faulty traffic light);
  • the truck manufacturer or distributor;
  • a third-party truck maintenance or cargo loading company;
  • a traffic light manufacturer or distributor;
  • a third-party motorist who caused the accident; or
  • a bar that sold alcohol to the defendant prior to the accident.

In almost all cases, the insurance company will be the real defendant.

truck driver sitting next to truck

How can I prove that the defendant was negligent?

Under Florida personal injury law, you must prove four “elements” to win your claim:

  • the defendant owed you a duty of care (to drive safely, for example).
  • The defendant breached his duty of care (by driving at night with his lights off, for example)
  • The defendant’s breach of duty caused the accident.
  • You suffered damages (you will have to prove every penny of the damages you collect).

You must prove each of these four elements under the “preponderance of evidence” standard – roughly, you must prove that each element is at least 51 percent likely to be true.

What can I do to reduce my chances of being injured or killed in a truck accident?

Below are some basic tips:

  • Wear a seat belt, or a helmet if you are a motorcyclist.
  • Make sure your airbags are working – airbags have saved thousands of lives.
  • Keep your vehicle in good repair with regular maintenance. A blowout for example, could cause you to swerve into the path of a truck.
  • Drive defensively. If a truck is tailgating you, for example, let him pass even though he is the one creating the dangerous traffic condition, not you.
  • Avoid driving in a truck driver’s blind spot. If you can’t see his mirrors, he can’t see you.

What are some defenses that the defendant might raise?

courtroom 

The following are some of the most popular defenses:

  • Comparative fault (see below)
  • Expiration of the statute of limitations: You generally have four years after the date of the accident to file a lawsuit, although exceptions exist in some cases.
  • Failure to mitigate damages: This means not doing all you can to limit the amount of harm you suffer — not following doctor’s orders, for example. A successful defense will reduce the value of your claim.
  • Pre-existing injury: Insurance companies love to claim that your injury was caused by an event that predated the accident.
  • Dangerous road conditions: If successful, this defense would still allow you to file a claim against whoever was responsible for the dangerous road conditions – the state government, for example.
  • A third vehicle was at fault: The driver might argue that he swerved into you to avoid a vehicle that stopped suddenly, for example.

Other possible defenses exist as well, depending on the circumstances.

What is comparative fault and how might if affect my claim?

Comparative fault comes into play when more than one party was at fault for the accident. Perhaps you changed lanes in front of the truck without signaling, while he was exceeding the speed limit and driving on bald tires.

In that case, a court will calculate liability on a percentage basis – you were 33 percent at fault and the truck driver was 67 percent at fault, for example. In that case you will pay 33 percent of the truck driver’s damages and he will pay 67 percent of your damages.

How Can a Miami Truck Crash Lawyer Help?

A person might not comprehend how much a proficient accident lawyer can assist him or her. Not only will personal injury law firms assist the individual in filing his or her claim paperwork, they will also walk the person through each step of the personal injury claim process so he or she will not have to be concerned about missing a deadline or failing to present the court with the correct paperwork.

A successful result for an individual’s case is too crucial to risk by fighting his or her Miami truck crash case by themselves. The person’s lawyer can speed up the process and move much easily for him or her. The following is a list of a few of the many things an individual’s lawyer will handle for him or her when he or she hires one:

  • Assisting the person in filing all required paperwork
  • Offering legal advice and clarify the whole process to the individual in a self-explanatory way
  • Investigating the person’s accident, interviewing witnesses, and gathering evidence
  • Helping the individual gather all the medical documentation required to substantiate his or her case
  • Talking to insurance companies on the individual’s behalf
  • Negotiating an adequate compensation package or take the person’s case to trial, as required

miami truck accident lawyer jimmy de la espriella of dle lawyers

Talk to a Miami Truck Accident Attorney

Being injured by a negligent truck driver is a situation no one ought to have to endure. Regrettably, truck drivers do bring about severe injury to other people, and if they were being careless, they should be held liable if an individual’s truck crash was brought about by negligence, that person can find justice and compensation for all he or she has endured.

If you have been injured in a truck accident in the Miami-Dade metro area, contact DLE Lawyers at (305) 363-7855 or simply fill out our online contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.

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