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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

If you have been involved in an auto accident involving a large truck, you should contact Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys today. Our attorneys are experienced with truck accidents in Florida and are ready to help those who have been seriously injured.

We represent 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


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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.

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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
  • Burns
  • 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:

  • Hospitalization
  • 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.


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Different 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

Axlerod used to hold wheels/tires together
Tandem AxleTwo axles, one right behind the other
Tractor unitfront of the truck, carrying the motor
Trailera detachable unit of transportation, hauled by another power unit (ex. cargo unit to a truck)
Semi-trailertractor unit detachable from its trailer, classified by number of axles and trailers (ex.18-wheeler/5 axle truck)
Full-trailera tractor unit fixed to its trailer
Wheels on a Trucka 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 Unittruck with a with fixed trailer or no trailer, classified by number of axles
Single TrailerA two-unit truck with a power unit and a detachable trailer, classified by number of axles and trailers
GVWGross Vehicle Weight (mostly used when referring to trucks)

 

The U.S Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FWHA) 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 (FWHA) 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

 


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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.

Cargo

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

Section 393.104(b) prohibits the use of damaged cargo securements. It is stated that even a cut or a crack to the component of an assembly could be prohibited. Also, structural points on the truck such as wall or anchor points are required to meet the same requirements in section 393.102 listed above.


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Liability Determination

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. The truck driver was more likely to exhibit some of these reckless behaviors:

  • Drive at a higher speed limit which is a more probable cause for an accident
  • Rest fewer hours which can affect cognition on the road
  • Improper vehicle maintenance or check-up which can impact vehicle function

 


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Truck Accidents Resources

Florida Statute 320.01 – View full text of the statute that governs what is considered a commercial vehicle and motor vehicle in Florida on Online Sunshine. The statue also covers what is considered a truck, trailer and semi-trailer. Online Sunshine is the official Internet site of the Florida legislature.

FMSCA Cargo Regulations– The following link will take you to the FMCA’s regulations for performance requirements and standards for commercial truck cargo. The main points are summarized above, but it can be helpful to read the exact literature for yourself.


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Lawyer for Truck Accidents in Miami, FL

Bringing a lawsuit for injury caused by a commercial truck accident can be a stressful, time-consuming, and frustrating experience, but with Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys on your side, it doesn’t have to be that way. Our attorneys are experienced with commercial truck accidents and they will fight to achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.

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 or submit your information in our online form and one our attorneys will review your case for free.


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