Miami Truck Accident Lawyer
Due to their size and mass, accidents involving trucks can be particularly harmful and sometimes deadly. Commercial trucking is an important component of our economy and is used as an efficient tool for transporting goods across the country. The downside to these types of vehicles is that when they are involved in collisions with smaller motor vehicles and motorcycles on the highway, the outcomes are usually calamitous and deadly.
People who are injured in accidents involving trucks often suffer from injuries that require long term medical care and observation. It is important for anyone who is injured during this type of crash to seek the advice and counsel of an experienced truck accident attorney. If you or someone you love has been injured in a trucking accident, call a truck accident attorney right away to learn about the types of compensation you can receive for the injuries you have suffered.
Common Truck Crash Injuries
The size of the truck, the speed at which the truck was traveling at the time of collision, and the location of impact are three determinants for the types and severity of injuries a person can suffer from in a trucking accident. Below is a list of the most common injuries sustained in this type of collision:
- Broken and fractured bones
- Back and neck injuries
- Rib and torso injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Seat belt and airbag injuries
- Amputated limbs or extremities
- Wrongful death
- Internal injuries
- Head wounds and brain damage
Causes of Truck Accidents
There are numerous factors that can cause a trucking collision. Often times, there is not a smoking gun that caused an accident to occur, but rather there is a combination of factors that caused the crash. Some of the most common causes of trucking accidents are:
- Aggressive Driving – Abrupt lane changes, speeding, and tailgating are just a few examples. Unlike smaller vehicles, larger semi-trucks and 18 wheelers require more time to slow down and move around. Truck drivers must compensate for their larger vehicles by exercising greater caution than other drivers on the road.
- Driver Fatigue and Drowsy Driving – The United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provides strict guidelines that regulate how much time a commercial truck driver can spend on the road. Unfortunately, many drivers and the companies they work for abuse these regulations to save time and money.
- Alcohol, Illegal Substances and Prescription Drugs– Drug and alcohol abuse among commercial truck drivers continues to be a major problem and cause of many deadly accidents. The most commonly abused substances include alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and amphetamines. Drivers often use amphetamines to stay awake longer and reach their destination sooner.
- Inexperienced Drivers
- Distracted driving – Truck drivers spend a great deal of time away from their family and friends. Their entire work day/night is spent behind the wheel. Many commercial drivers routinely use their cell phones to send text messages, make calls, and browse the internet while driving a truck that weighs in excess of 80,000 pounds.
- Improper maintenance – Companies and their drivers have a duty to routinely inspect their vehicles. These simple maintenance checks of brakes, tires, fluid leaks, and even wipers can make all the difference between a safe truck and a dangerous one. Truck brakes wear down and must be replaced.
- Loss of Control Due to Weather Conditions
Types of Compensation for Injuries Suffered During Semi-Truck Accidents
There are two types of compensation that an injured person can receive upon filing a personal injury claim: compensatory and punitive. The purpose of compensatory damages is to make a plaintiff “whole.” Compensatory damages are divided into two subcategories: monetary and nonmonetary. Some examples of monetary damages include:
- Present and future medical expenses
- Present and future lost earnings
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Household services
- Property damage
- Wrongful death claims
Nonmonetary damages are more difficult to calculate, but they are still recoverable nonetheless. Some examples of nonmonetary damages are:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
A person injured during a trucking accident may also receive compensation in the form of punitive damages. The purpose of punitive damages is to make an example out of the defendant so as to deter people from committing similar acts in the future. Punitive damages are awarded in cases where a court finds that the defendant’s actions were intentional or particularly egregious and outrageous. Florida has a cap on the amount of punitive damages that may be awarded in a personal injury cause of action. A plaintiff may recover three times the amount of compensatory damages that are awarded or $500,000, whichever is greater.
Liability in Truck Crash Cases
To pursue a personal injury cause of action for injuries sustained in a trucking accident, typically a victim’s attorney will use a theory of negligence to prove the victim’s case. There are three elements that need to be proved in order for a plaintiff to succeed in a personal injury cause of action based on a negligence theory:
- The defendant owed a legal duty of care to the plaintiff;
- The defendant breached the legal duty of care that was owed to the plaintiff; and
- As a result of the breach, the plaintiff suffered damages.
Sometimes, multiple parties are liable for the injuries sustained by a victim of a trucking crash. Potential third-party defendants could include the truck driver’s employer, contractors, insurance companies, and/or manufacturer of the truck or other materials.
Florida Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims
There is a four year statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Florida. Thus, an individual who is injured in a trucking accident has four years from the date of the accident to file a claim. Families of victims who wish to file wrongful death claims have a two year statute of limitations. This means that the family of a victim who died in a trucking accident has two years from the date of the victim’s death to file a claim.
Call a Miami Truck Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love have suffered injuries caused by a trucking accident, consult with an experienced truck accident attorney today. The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked can provide you with an honest assessment of your claim and can develop a plan of action going forward so that you can be justly compensated for your injuries. Call the Law Offices of Prosper Shaked today at (305) 690-0244 for a free and confidential consultation.