Trucks are a very real part of life on the road, from delivery and repair vehicles on local streets to big rigs clogging up busy highways. These vehicles play an important role in helping people and products get from one place to another, but they also pose a serious safety threat.
Nearly 5,000 large trucks and buses are involved in fatal accidents across the country each year, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The size of these vehicles and the speeds at which they often travel make them particularly hazardous to anyone on the road, including drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Large commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Additionally, trucking companies often push their drivers to meet tight pickup and drop off deadlines, forcing them to spend long hours behind the wheel without appropriate rest.
Boca Raton truck accident lawyer Gregg Hollander helps people throughout South Florida and across the state who have been injured in crashes involving commercial trucks. Gregg has more than two decades of experience fighting for clients in the courtroom and in negotiations with major insurance companies. He understands the pain and stress that can come with suffering injuries in a collision, especially when it is caused through no fault of your own, and he is passionate about getting clients the full compensation available under Florida law.Truck Driver Fatigue and Other Causes of Accidents
Truck accidents can be caused by a number of factors, from vehicle malfunctions to inclement weather. Often, however, truck accidents are the result of dangerous, careless, and inexperienced driving. This includes drinking and driving, driving while distracted, speeding, changing lanes without signaling, disregarding traffic lights and signs, and failing to remain aware of other vehicles.
Driver fatigue is a common factor in many truck accident cases as well, largely because of the long stretches of time that truckers are forced to spend operating their rigs. Federal and state laws limit the number of hours that commercial drivers can spend behind the wheel. Florida law, for example, caps interstate truckers at 12 hours of driving and 16 hours of “on duty” time when coming off of a 10-hour break. It also generally limits total trucker on-duty hours to 70 hours in seven consecutive days or 80 hours in eight consecutive days, with 34 consecutive hours off constituting the end of a seven or eight-day period.
Unfortunately, however, truck drivers often push these limits because of pressure from their employers to make tight deadlines. When a driver who is fatigued causes an accident, both the driver and his or her employer are likely to be legally responsible (liable) for any injuries that result from the crash. Anyone injured in a crash in South Florida that was caused by a fatigued driver should seek the counsel of an experienced Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer like Gregg Hollander.18-Wheeler Truck Accidents
An 18-wheeler is a large truck that consists of a tractor that can be connected to and disconnected from a trailer. 18-wheelers are commonly used to ship large quantities of commercial products across Florida and across the country. The tractors – often referred to as “semi trucks” – typically run on 10 tires, while the trailers are equipped with eight tires.
18-wheelers pose a particular safety hazard because of their sheer size. It is often difficult for truckers to see all of the traffic around them on busy highways and to slow and stop their trucks in the event of an emergency.
For these reasons, state law requires truckers to complete certain training and meet certain requirements in order to be authorized to drive these big rigs. Truckers must have a “Class A” commercial driver’s license to operate an 18-wheeler in Florida. To obtain that license, a driver must pass a number of knowledge and skills tests. These exams include testing the driver’s understanding of how the truck works, how to inspect it for potential hazards and how to operate a big rig in a safe and effective manner.
Even the best trained and most experienced truckers can make mistakes. For people injured in truck accidents in South Florida, Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer Gregg Hollander can help get to the bottom of what caused their collision and who is responsible for their losses.T-Bone Truck Accidents
A T-bone or broadside accident is a type of crash in which the front end of one vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle. Commercial trucks are particularly susceptible to causing these kinds of collisions due to their sheer size and weight, which often makes it difficult for truck drivers to stop in time to avoid dangerous collisions.
T-bone accidents can happen in a number of different ways and can be caused by a variety of different factors, and most often occur at intersections as a result of a sudden traffic light change.Jackknife Truck Accidents
Jackknife accidents are also common among 18-wheelers because of their unique size and shape. This kind of collision occurs when a truck’s cab and the trailer fold in, forming a “V” shape. That often leaves the truck occupying much of an intersection or multiple lanes on a highway.
These accidents typically happen when a truck driver hits the brakes too hard while traveling at high speed. The truck may collide with traffic in other lanes as it jackknifes. It can also cause collisions with vehicles behind the truck if other drivers do not have enough time to brake or swerve to avoid an accident. Serious injuries, and even fatalities, may result from these pile-up crashes.Hit-and-Run Truck Accidents
Hit-and-run accidents involving commercial trucks present unique challenges when it comes to seeking just compensation.
Truck drivers, for instance, may flee the scene of a crash in order to make a deadline to drop off their cargo. In other cases involving big rigs, a trucker may later claim that he or she was not aware that his or her truck had collided with a smaller car or a pedestrian.
Florida law makes it a crime for a driver involved in a crash to willfully leave the scene of the accident without providing his or her name, address, driver’s license, registration and other information to the other drivers involved in the crash. Although leaving the scene alone is not enough to prove that a driver is responsible for the collision, it may be part of the larger case for establishing liability. If you have been injured by a hit-and-run truck driver, it is important to have an experienced West Palm Beach hit and run accident lawyer like Gregg Hollander by your side.FAQs
What compensation is available to people injured in truck accidents in Florida?
Florida law gives people injured in truck accidents the right to seek money damages from those responsible for the crash. The compensation available in these cases includes money for medical bills, missed wages due to time away from work and property damage. Damages are also available for certain expected future impacts of the crash, including additional doctors’ bills and any long term restrictions on an injured person’s ability to work. In Florida, truck accident victims can also seek just compensation for their pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other non-financial losses.
How do I pursue compensation for my injuries?
Securing compensation for your accident-related injuries often requires filing a lawsuit. Negligence is the primary legal theory that people injured in truck accidents use to prove liability. Truck drivers, like other vehicle operators, owe others on the road a “duty of care” to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. A driver who causes an accident by speeding or as a result of distraction or fatigue (or any of the other driving mistakes listed above) is likely to be found negligent and can therefore be held liable for all victims’ financial and non-financial losses.
Can the trucking company be held responsible for my injuries?
A trucking company is liable for accidents caused by its employees while those employees are acting within the scope of their employment, with only very limited exceptions. A truck driver carrying a load from point A to point B, as directed by his or her employer, is certainly acting within the scope of the job.
Can I still collect compensation if the crash was partly my fault?
Florida is a comparative negligence state. That means that a person who is partly responsible for his or her own injuries can still sue a negligent party and recover damages proportionate to that party’s fault. In other words, a driver found 20 percent responsible for an injury will be able to recover 80 percent of his or her total losses.
Can I collect compensation if a family member dies in a truck accident?
The family of a person killed in a truck or other collision has the right to seek compensation from those responsible. This is known as a claim for wrongful death.
Do I need a lawyer?
Truck accidents can raise a number of complicated legal issues. In many cases, large insurance companies will push aggressively to persuade people injured in these crashes to sign low-ball settlements shortly after the collision. In South Florida, it is vital that you have an experienced West Palm Beach truck accident lawyer in your corner. An attorney like Gregg Hollander can guide you through the legal process and help you build the strongest possible case for the maximum compensation available under the law.Speak with a Boca Raton Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a South Florida truck crash or other accident, the Hollander Law Firm can help.
For over 20 years, Boca Raton truck accident lawyer Gregg Hollander has been helping people injured in 18-wheeler and other commercial truck accidents. He knows how insurance companies, judges and juries approach these cases, and he has a strong track record of success in the courtroom and at the negotiating table.
Our offices are conveniently located in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. We are pleased to represent clients throughout South Florida, including Broward and Palm Beach counties. Call (888) 751-7770 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with a Boca Raton truck accident lawyer today.