Truck Accident Lawyer
18 Wheeler Truck Accident Lawyer
The U.S Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that between 2015 and 2017 fatal crashes involving large trucks, defined by vehicle weights of more than 10,000 pounds, increased from 3,622 to 4,237. The highest number of these accidents included large trucks in a collision with another moving vehicle. The FMCSA also estimated 52.2% of accidents involving semi-trailers resulted in vehicle tows. Truck accidents lead to more costs in towing and vehicle repairs, and more quarreling with insurances. Florida is no exception to this. When the study compared large truck accidents by state, Florida had the third highest number of fatalities involving large trucks in 2017.
Accidents involving large trucks can get complicated. They often include third parties like the truck company, or truck owner, or the governmental entity in charge of the roads. Insurances also try to avoid paying for expenses at all costs, while the victims suffer through everything. More severe crashes involving large trucks need to be handled by someone who has experience with truck drivers’ accountability and the laws and regulations surrounding truck accidents. The best approach is to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Attorney for Truck Accidents in Miami, FL
Large Truck accidents are more severe than regular car accidents, because their weight and size is greater, and they tend to cause more damage. Our truck accidents attorneys are familiar with truck accident cases and understand you may be seriously injured. If you have been involved in an accident with a large truck, you should contact Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys today. Let our Miami-based truck accident lawyers represent your rights for compensation.
Large truck regulations are separate from that of regular sized vehicles, so it is the responsibility of the truck driver and his employer, or the large truck company to following those regulations accordingly. Not only do truck drivers put themselves in danger, but they also put the lives of every other vehicle on the road in danger when they decide to drive negligently. Even if you believe you were partly at fault for the accident, you can still obtain some compensation.
Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys represents clients in the greater Miami-Dade area that include Miami, Homestead, Hialeah, Pinecrest, Miami Gardens, Miami Beach, North Miami, Doral, Coral Gables, Kendall, Palmetto Bay, and Cutler Bay. Call us today at (305) 709-0880 or submit your information via our online form, and one of our attorneys will review your case for free.
Overview of Truck Accidents in Miami, FL
Type of Truck Accidents
Large trucks can crash into other motor vehicles in a number of different ways, and the extent of the injuries and damages often times depend on the type of crash that took place. Some of the most common types of truck accidents include:
- Underride: This occurs when another vehicle travels under the truck from behind. The front end of the vehicle can become wedged under the truck, often resulting in fatalities for those in the front seat.
- Jackknife: This occurs when the brakes are applied and the trailer of the truck is thrown off balance. The trailer can then swing out perpendicular to the truck and collide with adjacent vehicles.
- Rollovers: This occurs when the grips of the tires fail to prevent the truck from rolling over. This can happen because the trucker was driving too fast around curves and turns, or over correcting errors.
- Blind Spots: Similar to what can happen in a normal vehicle, this occurs when another vehicle is in the blind spot of the commercial truck and the trucker cannot see them.
- Tire Blowout: This occurs when the tires on the truck burst while the vehicle is moving, making it nearly impossible to control. Failing to inspect the tires or failing to maintain are often root causes.
- Cargo Spills: This occurs when the cargo falls out of the trailer and onto another vehicle or into the road where other vehicles can crash into them. This usually happens when the trucker fails to check the load at the required regular intervals.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
The injuries sustained during a large truck accident are usually more severe than those sustained during a regular vehicle accident. Some of the most common injuries caused by a truck accident can include:
- Head trauma
- Psychological trauma
- Internal bleeding
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injury
- Internal organ injuries
Truck accidents can require emergency medical attention and lengthy treatment before a full recovery. In some instances, victims may never completely recover from their injuries and may have lifelong disabilities and impartments that will require ongoing medical care. Some of the medical treatment needed for severe injuries caused by a truck accident can include the following:
- Emergency trauma care
- Medications and medical equipment
- Surgical procedures
- Rehab and physical therapy
- Home healthcare
The mentioned treatments often result in thousands of dollars in medical bills that can cause grave stress to the victim. Some of the injures may also require the victim to take time off from work, which can result in loss of wages.
Types of Trucks
- Semi-trailer (non-specific cargo)
- Full-trailer (non-specific cargo)
- Mixer Truck (with mixer trailer)
- Dump Truck (with dump trailer)
- Garbage Truck (with garbage collector and disposal)
- Flatbed Truck (with flatbed)
- Crane Truck (with large crane)
- Tank Truck (with tank trailer)
- Saddle mount truck (with mount trailer)
Truck Description Vocabulary
|Axle||rod used to hold wheels/tires together|
|Tandem Axle||Two axles, one right behind the other|
|Tractor unit||front of the truck, carrying the motor|
|Trailer||a detachable unit of transportation, hauled by another power unit (ex. cargo unit to a truck)|
|Semi-trailer||tractor unit detachable from its trailer, classified by number of axles and trailers (ex.18-wheeler/5 axle truck)|
|Full-trailer||a tractor unit fixed to its trailer|
|Wheels on a Truck||a rim and tire together, (ex. 18-wheeler: an 18-wheeler is composed of a tire and rim on each side of the tractor unit; however, its trailer is composed of eight wheels, or eight rim and tire combinations equaling 18 wheels in total)|
|Single Unit||truck with a with fixed trailer or no trailer, classified by number of axles|
|Single Trailer||A two-unit truck with a power unit and a detachable trailer, classified by number of axles and trailers|
|GVW||Gross Vehicle Weight (mostly used when referring to trucks)|
The U.S Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Vehicle Classification
Note: large trucks begin to appear in Class V
Class I: motorcycles
Class II: motor vehicle for passengers
Class III: A one-unit truck with four tires
Class IV: Buses
Class V: Single unit trucks with 6 tires or two-axle
Class VI: Single unit truck with three axles
Class VII: Single unit truck with four or more axles
Class VIII: Single trailer with four or less axles
Class IX: Semitrailer with 5 axles
Class X: Six or more axle truck with a single trailer attached
Class XI: five or less axle truck with multiple trailers attached
Class XII: Six axle truck with multiple trailers attached
Class XIII: Seven or more axles truck with multiple trailers attached
The U.S Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Truck Weight Class
Note: large trucks begin to appear in Class 5
Light Duty Truck
Class 1: 6,000 lbs or less
Class 2: 6,0001-10,000 lbs
Medium Duty Truck
Class 3: 10,0001 to 14,000 lbs
Class 4: 14,0001 to 16,000 lbs
Class 5: 16,0001 to 19,500 lbs
Class 6: 19,501 to 26,000 lbs
Heavy Duty Truck
Class 7: 26,001 to 33,000 lbs
Class 8: 33,001 lbs or more
Large Truck Regulations
Size and Weight
Florida Highway Patrol enforces specific laws and restrictions based on a truck’s weight and size. The weight includes the total weight of both the vehicle and its load. Page 11 of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Manual of the Florida Highway Patrol displays the height and weight limits of different types of trucks. For example, the maximum allowable Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) for all vehicles on a Florida highway is 80,000 pounds. A single axle’s maximum weight is 22,000 pounds, and a tandem axle’s maximum weight is 44,000 pounds. However, every truck type has specific guidelines for GVW and axle weight.
Additionally, Florida has overweight permits available, but they all have an expiration date. They also depend on the roads they’re traveling. Some Florida roads have specific weight limits of their own. A truck driver is required by law to know their truck’s weight at all times. Weight stations or stop points, such as the ones on Florida’s Interstate 95 (I-95) exist to regulate truck weight limits.
These rules are especially important to consider when the load of the truck’s cargo is a plausible reason for a truck’s rollover incident. A truck’s weight limit knowledge is an essential part of a truck driver’s education requirement that should be taken into account when assessing his or her negligence in an accident. A truck accident lawyer specializing in these types of cases is usually aware of these requirements and can suggest neglect to be a plausible cause for a lawsuit.
A common cause of commercial truck accidents is a cargo spill. Such accidents can be prevented if the trucker followed the proper regulations that are put in place to prevent a cargo spill.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires a tie down to secure loads, such as steel straps, chains and synthetic webbings. Cargo on trucks must also meet the minimum performance criteria that are listed below:
- Tie down assemblies and other fastening devices used to secure cargo must be designed, maintained and installed to ensure the forces acting on the device do not exceed the working load limit in the following conditions:
- 435 g deceleration in forward direction
- 5 g acceleration in the reward direction
- 25 g acceleration in a lateral direction
§ C.F.R 393.104(b) of the United States Department of Transportation prohibits the use of damaged cargo securements. Even a cut or a crack to the component of an assembly could be prohibited.
The insurance requirements for large truck drivers in Florida is separate from the insurance requirements that rule regular motorists. Whether independently owned or big company large trucks, the Florida insurance requirements are mostly based on the type of cargo that is carried and the truck’s gross vehicle weight (GVW). Liability requirements as determined by Fla. Stat. § 627.7415 state the following:
Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)
- 26,001 lbs. to 34,999 lbs. – $50,000 per occurrence
- 35,000 lbs. to 43,999 lbs. – $100,000 per occurrence
- 44,000 lbs. or more – $300,000 per occurrence
If the cargo involves hazardous material (HAZMAT), the limits will be different, depending on the cargo that is been transported. This is in addition to the federal regulations required for trucks who are traveling interstate. Federal insurance requirements as set forth by 49 C.F.R. § 387.9 are based on weight and type of cargo as well. Large commercial trucks carrying nonhazardous materials with a GVW greater than 10,001 lbs. have minimum responsibility limits set at $750,000. While, large commercial trucks carrying hazardous materials (HAZMAT) have limit requirements that can range from $1,000,000 to $5,000,000. Other insurance limits they can carry include underinsured/uninsured coverage, cargo insurance, property damage, etc. 49 C.F.R. § 387.7 establishes that all commercial truck drivers should have a copy of their insurance policy on board.
Keep in mind that Florida follows pure comparative negligence rules. You will still be able to receive compensation determined by the percentage of your contribution to the accident. The state of Florida will take into account each party’s actions. A truck driver’s negligence is to blame if he or she did not follow evident traffic rules, or made careless decisions on the road. Other factors can characterize a negligent truck driver. One of them includes a truck driver’s driving knowledge; the other can be the truck company or a third party.
A truck driver must usually meet a specific skillset to obtain truck driving certification. A truck driver can be liable for the truck accident if he or she did not follow the following reasonably:
- driving methods
- safety practices; and
- situational awareness
A truck driving company or third party can be at fault if either has made a significant impact on the truck driver’s behavior such as setting impracticable delivery times or thoughtless incentives. A truck accident can occur when a truck driver displays the following:
- Drives at a higher speed limit which is a more probable cause for an accident
- Rests fewer hours which can affect cognition on the road
- Improper vehicle maintenance or check-up which can impact vehicle function
Truck Accidents Resources
Florida Statutes | Commercial Vehicles – View full text of the statute that governs the requirements for vehicles to be considered commercial trucks Florida. The statute goes in-depth about the difference between large truck types, such as an 18-wheeler or other common large trucks.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) | Cargo Regulations– The following link takes you to the FMCSA’s page for performance requirements and standards for commercial truck cargo. Cargo regulations are critical to follow, because cargo involving hazardous materials (HAZMAT) requires special handling.
Truck Safety Coalition | Truck Crashes Information – The Truck Safety Coalition has the latest news involving commercial truck accidents. The list of reported truck crashes is updated regularly and listed by month and year. The abundance of reported crashes on the pages shows the severity of commercial truck accidents.
Lawyer for Truck Accidents in Miami-Dade County, FL
Bringing a lawsuit for injury caused by a commercial truck accident can be a stressful, time-consuming, and frustrating experience. Still, with Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys on your side, it does not have to be that way. We have seen the impact large truck accidents can have on families’ lives. We want to let you know you are not alone. Our attorneys are experienced with commercial truck accidents, and they will fight to achieve the best possible outcome for your situation. We will fight aggressively for your right to compensation.
Because of their large vehicle weight and cargo, large truck drivers have certain obligations. Large truck drivers must follow Florida state regulations for large trucks at all times. The moment they choose to neglect any of their regulations, or the rules of the road, they are breaking the law. If you were in an accident with a commercial truck driver, they may be at fault for the accident. At Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys, we can help you gain your peace of mind back.
We proudly serve clients in the greater Miami-Dade area that includes Miami, Homestead, Hialeah, Pinecrest, Miami Gardens, Miami Beach, North Miami, Doral, Coral Gables, Kendall, Palmetto Bay, and Cutler Bay. Call us today at (305) 709-0880 for a confidential consultation or submit your information in our online form and one our attorneys will review your case for free.