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Miami Truck Accident Lawyer | Miami Truck Accident Attorney

Accidents involving commercial trucks can present a significant financial burden to the victims and their loved ones. Since the injuries incurred in a truck accident are extensive, victims often face long recoveries and the associated costs. If you or someone you love suffered harm in a truck accident and you believe someone else is responsible, contact our Miami truck accident lawyers to schedule a free case evaluation. At Flanagan & Bodenheimer Injury & Wrongful Death Law Firm, we help families in Miami-Dade County and throughout Florida seek fair compensation for their injuries, pain, and suffering.

We intentionally limit the number of cases that we accept so we can give personal attention to each client’s case from start to finish. Personal injury and wrongful death cases are all we represent. This means we have a more focused, intimate knowledge of these laws to give you an optimal path to maximum compensation.

We win difficult cases that many other law firms won’t take. That includes multimillion-dollar settlements for clients rejected by multiple law firms. Our own attorney Michael Flanagan is one of the youngest lawyers in the country to obtain a multi-million-dollar verdict and achieved Lifetime Member status at the Million Dollar Advocates Forum by the age of 29. But beyond our track record, we pride ourselves on the level of care we provide to each client. You won’t receive impersonal service with us.

Contact our office online or by phone to schedule your free consultation at (305) 638-4143. We can communicate with you in English and/or Spanish.

miami truck accident lawyer

Table of Contents

Why Are Truck Accident Injuries So Severe?

Accidents involving commercial trucks have unique concerns. Truck accidents tend to make up a relatively smaller portion of all crashes on Miami’s roadways, but the results are more extreme. Truck accidents are more likely to be fatal, according to a report released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Those who survive truck crashes are more likely to incur severe or permanently disabling injuries.

Did you know that the FMCSA allows large commercial trucks to weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded? The average passenger vehicle weighs just 4,000 pounds. When you consider the weight difference, it is easy to see why these crashes are often so devastating.

Truck accident claims usually involve higher damage amounts because the injuries sustained by crash victims are extensive than in a car crash. Generally, a victim is entitled to damages to compensate for health care and lost wages, but also intangible losses such as physical pain, suffering, and loss of life quality.

Common Truck Accident Injuries

It’s not uncommon for us to see the following truck accident injuries:

Who Regulates the Trucking Industry?

The Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration (“FMSCA”) is the federal government agency that is responsible for regulating and providing safety oversight of commercial motor vehicles. The agency promulgates regulations that govern the ways companies and drivers must act when driving a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.

Although the regulations generally do not apply to intrastate commerce, most states incorporate some or all portions of the FMSCA regulations into their state law. For example, Florida incorporates various provisions of the FMSCA regulations into the Florida State Statutes. This “incorporation by reference” can be found in Florida Statute § 316.02.

The agency regulates vehicles that are operated in interstate commerce that fall into the following categories:

  • A vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 4,537 kg (10,001 lb) or more, whichever is greater
  • A vehicle designed or used to transport between 9 and 15 passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • A vehicle designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers
  • Any size vehicle used in the transportation of materials found to be hazardous for the purposes of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act

The entirety of the FMSCA regulations can be found here. and there are too many regulations to go through all of them in this article.

However, some of the main areas regulated by the FMSCA includes:

  • Drug and alcohol testing policies (Part 382)
  • Ill and fatigued drivers (Part 392)
  • Commercial driver’s license standards (Part 383)
  • Hours of service of drivers (Part 395)
  • Inspection, repair, and maintenance of the vehicle (Part 396)

It is absolutely critical that any attorney dealing with a trucking case know these regulations. Otherwise, the lawyer may not ask crucial questions at deposition that will show that the driver, and more importantly the company, failed to abide by federal regulations that were specifically put in place to keep the roadways safe.

Common Types of Truck Accidents in Miami, Florida

rollover truck accident miami florida
  • Rear-End Collisions: Rear-end collisions involving trucks are frequent on South Florida roads. These accidents often result from the truck driver being unable to stop in time due to factors such as distracted driving, fatigue, or issues with the braking system. The sheer size and weight of trucks make consequences worse, causing severe damage to smaller vehicles.
  • Jackknife Accidents: The term “jackknife” refers to the folding of a trailer toward the cab of the truck, resembling the angle of a closing pocket knife. These accidents commonly occur when a truck’s wheels lose traction, leading to a skid. Jackknife accidents can be triggered by adverse weather conditions, improper braking, or sudden maneuvers. The unfolding of a large truck on a busy South Florida highway such as I-95 poses a serious threat to surrounding vehicles.
  • Rollover Incidents: Rollover truck accidents are extremely dangerous and can result in catastrophic outcomes. Factors such as excessive speed, overloading, or abrupt steering can cause a truck to lose balance and roll over, potentially causing widespread damage and injuries.
  • Underride Collisions: Underride collisions occur when a smaller vehicle becomes wedged beneath the rear or side of a truck. This type of accident often leads to severe injuries or fatalities for the occupants of the smaller vehicle. Inadequate safety features on trucks, such as underride guards, can worsen the impact of underride collisions.
  • Blind Spot Accidents: Trucks have large blind spots, where smaller vehicles are not visible to the truck driver. Accidents often happen when smaller vehicles linger in these blind spots during lane changes or turns. Collisions resulting from failure to check blind spots are unfortunately common in Miami and throughout South Florida.

Types of Trucks Frequently Involved in Accidents

miami florida truck accident attorney

Let’s delve into the different types of trucks you might encounter on Miami’s roads:

  • Big Rigs (18-Wheelers, Semis, Tractor-Trailers): A tractor truck with a cargo trailer is known as a “big rig.” Commonly referred to as 18-wheelers, semis, or tractor-trailers, these commercial vehicles are a staple on the highways. The sheer size and weight of a fully loaded 18-wheeler demands a skilled driver to navigate South Florida’s busy roads. Semi-truck accidents typically lead to severe, life-altering injuries.
  • Tanker Trucks: Combining the hazards of oversized vehicles with the transportation of hazardous materials, tanker trucks present a unique danger. In the unfortunate event of a collision, these trucks can burst into flames, amplifying the horror of the car accident. Injuries sustained in accidents with tanker trucks often include burns and smoke inhalation, further underscoring the potential for tragic outcomes.
  • Delivery Trucks: The rise of online retail giants like Amazon, Walmart, and Target has flooded the streets with delivery trucks and vans. These vehicles, tasked with meeting demanding delivery schedules, can pose a serious threat to passenger vehicles. Collisions with speeding delivery trucks have the potential to result in significant accidents and injuries.
  • Utility Trucks: Utility trucks come in many forms, including street cleaning trucks, ambulances, garbage trucks, postal trucks, fire trucks, and construction trucks. Unlike big rigs, utility trucks typically have access to all roads, regardless of their size. This can lead to utility truck accidents with devastating consequences. In most cases, these trucks are owned by city, state, or federal agencies, adding an additional layer of complexity to a claim. Consult with an experienced truck accident attorney if you are involved in a crash with one of these vehicles.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Miami, Florida

When discussing truck accidents, it is not uncommon for us to see them caused by a negligent driver or careless truck companies and operators.

Negligent and careless drivers are a danger on the roadway. Drivers must all be properly trained for each vehicle they operate and should follow all state laws and all FMCSA regulations. This includes not carrying more weight than they are allowed to carry and operating only the appropriate amount of hours each day and week. Under no circumstances should a truck driver operate while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They should also never be distracted by their phones or other devices.

Truck companies and operators have a duty to regularly inspect and maintain their vehicles. Because these trucks are so large, a malfunction to any part of the vehicle could lead to disaster on the roadways. We commonly see truck crashes caused due to mechanical failures of the powertrain, wheels/tires, steering, brakes, suspension, lighting, and more. Trucking companies could be held liable if they fail to maintain their vehicles.

truck accident causes in miami florida

These are some of the most common causes of truck accidents in Miami:

  • Congested Traffic: Miami is notorious for its heavy traffic, and congestion is a significant contributor to truck accidents. When roads are crowded, large trucks may struggle to maneuver through tight spaces, increasing the risk of collisions with smaller vehicles. Congested traffic also leads to stop-and-go situations, making it challenging for trucks to maintain a safe following distance.
  • Distracted Driving: Distracted driving is a continuing issue on Miami’s roads, affecting both passenger vehicles and commercial trucks. Truck drivers, often covering long distances, may succumb to distractions such as texting, using GPS devices, or even eating while driving. These distractions compromise a driver’s ability to react promptly to changing road conditions, leading to accidents.
  • Driver Fatigue and Long Hours: Truck drivers often face demanding schedules and long hours on the road, contributing to driver fatigue. Fatigued drivers are more prone to making errors in judgment, slower reaction times, and even falling asleep at the wheel, all of which can result in serious accidents.
  • Adverse Weather Conditions: Miami’s tropical climate brings sudden rainstorms and unpredictable weather. This can create hazardous situations for trucks. Reduced visibility, slippery roads, and the need for sudden stops can all lead to accidents, especially if drivers fail to adjust their speed and driving behavior accordingly.
  • Inadequate Maintenance: Proper maintenance is crucial for the safe operation of trucks. However, some accidents in Miami occur due to inadequate maintenance. Issues such as faulty brakes, worn-out tires, or malfunctioning lights can lead to accidents, putting both the truck driver and other road users at risk.
  • Inexperienced or Inadequately Trained Drivers: It’s not uncommon for truck drivers to lack sufficient experience or training in Florida. Inexperienced drivers may struggle to navigate Miami’s complex roadways, increasing the likelihood of accidents.

Liability in Truck Crash Cases

Data from the FMCSA suggest the majority of truck crashes arise from driver error, but any number of parties may share liability for a trucking accident. These include:

  • Truck Drivers: Whether an employee or owner-operator, the truck driver is a primary candidate for liability. Negligent actions, such as reckless driving, fatigue, or distraction, can contribute to accidents.
  • Truck Owners & Employers: The entities that own, operate, or employ the truck and its driver can be held accountable for accidents. This includes businesses, corporations, non-profits, or public entities associated with the trucking operation.
  • Owner/Lessee of Tractor or Trailer: The individual or entity that owns or leases the tractor or trailer may bear responsibility for accidents, especially if maintenance or mechanical issues are involved.
  • Owner, Seller, or Distributor of Goods: If the truck was transporting goods, liability may extend to the parties involved in the ownership, sale, distribution, or purchase of the goods being shipped.
  • Truck Maintenance Companies: Companies responsible for servicing the truck bear liability if a mechanical issue stemming from inadequate maintenance leads to an accident.
  • Designer/Manufacturer of Truck & Parts: If a mechanical or recall issue is identified, the designer and/or manufacturer of the truck and/or trailer may be held liable for the consequences of the defect.
  • Municipal Entities: When a trucking accident occurs from negligently maintained roadways, the entity responsible for upkeep may be liable for any injuries that result.

Who is Responsible For Paying The Victim in a Truck Accident Case?

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Miami, Florida, you may qualify for compensation from the party responsible for the incident or their insurance provider. When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, insurance coverage is crucial in providing compensation for medical expenses, property damage, and other losses. In most cases, multiple insurance policies may come into play to ensure that victims receive the necessary financial support.

The most common trucking insurances include:

  • Progressive
  • State Farm
  • The Hartford
  • Owner Operator Direct
  • Great West Casualty Company
  • Northland Insurance
  • Sentry
  • biBERK

Trucking companies and independent truck drivers typically carry various types of insurance to address different aspects of accidents. If you find yourself in a truck accident, contact an injury attorney who can navigate the complex landscape of trucking insurance and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Why Do You Need a Miami Truck Accident Attorney?

miami truck accident law firm flanagan and bodenheimer

Many people think they can handle accident claims on their own. Insurance claims seem easy enough to navigate, and Florida’s no-fault system theoretically means victims should receive fair and speedy compensation for their injuries. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Insurance companies often try to take advantage of a victim’s lack of knowledge and try to underpay claims.

Additionally, trucking accidents often involve several possible liable parties, so victims may need to pursue them separately. A Miami truck accident attorney can conduct a thorough investigation into the accident and hold all responsible parties accountable for a victim’s damages.

A knowledgeable and experienced attorney will understand all aspects of these cases. They will be able to:

  • Navigate details with any type of truck accident: big rigAmazon truck, etc.
  • Obtain all of the evidence in the case, including accident reports, medical records, video surveillance, eyewitness accounts, and more.
  • Have your medical records reviewed by a trusted medical professional that will testify on your behalf.
  • Have an expert reconstruct the accident scene if necessary to prove the other side’s fault.
  • Secure the truck driver and truck company’s safety and inspection records.
  • Properly calculate your total losses and negotiate a settlement that secures the compensation you deserve.
  • Prepare to take your case to trial if necessary.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim After a Fatal Truck Accident

The Department of Transportation reported a total of 4,714 deaths in large truck crashes in the US in 2021. 16% of these deaths were truck occupants, 68% were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 15% were pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists.

Filing a wrongful death claim after a fatal truck accident is a difficult and emotional process, but it is a crucial step in seeking justice and securing financial support for your family. A wrongful death claim arises when the negligence or wrongful actions of another party result in someone’s death. Wrongful death claims can provide financial compensation to the surviving family members for their losses, including funeral costs, loss of income, loss of services, and other expenses.

Generally, family members that can recover compensation from a wrongful death claim are:

  • The deceased’s spouse and minor children
  • If no surviving spouse, then all children of deceased
  • If no surviving spouse or children, then the parents may recover
  • Other blood relatives or adopted siblings who are dependent on the deceased

If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, reach out to our Florida truck accident attorneys for the guidance and legal representation you need during this challenging time.

What Compensation Can I Receive After a Miami Truck Accident Injury?

If you or a loved one is involved in a trucking accident in Miami, you may be able to receive compensation through a personal injury claim. This compensation may include:

  • Medical Expenses: This includes the costs of emergency medical care, hospitalization, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and any ongoing medical treatments related to the injuries sustained in the accident.
  • Lost Wages and Future Earnings: Serious injuries often result in time away from work, leading to lost wages. Compensation can be sought not only for current lost income but also for future earnings if the injuries impact the individual’s ability to work or pursue their chosen profession.
  • Pain and Suffering: Truck accidents can cause immense physical and emotional pain. Compensation for pain and suffering aims to address the non-economic damages experienced by the victim, including physical discomfort, emotional distress, and the overall impact on the quality of life.  The damages permitted by Florida law in a personal injury case are contained in the jury instructions.  These categories of damages include: pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, loss of the capacity for the enjoyment of life, and mental anguish.
  • Wrongful Death Damages: In the tragic event of a fatal truck accident, surviving family members may pursue wrongful death damages. This includes compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, and the emotional toll of losing a loved one.  Florida’s wrongful death damages are described in the Florida Jury Instructions which are available here.

How Much is My Florida Truck Accident Claim Worth?

There are several factors that affect the value of your truck accident claim in Florida, including:

  • Severity of Injuries: The extent and severity of injuries sustained in the accident significantly impact the value of your case. Severe injuries that result in long-term consequences generally lead to higher compensation.
  • Medical Expenses: The total cost of medical treatment, including hospital stays, surgeries, rehabilitation, and ongoing healthcare needs, is another fundamental factor.
  • Lost Wages and Future Earning Capacity: Compensation may include lost wages due to time away from work and an assessment of future earning capacity if the injuries result in a long-term impact on the victim’s ability to work.
  • Insurance Coverage: The insurance policies held by the trucking company, truck owner, and other involved parties play a significant role. Higher coverage limits often result in increased compensation.
  • Evidence and Documentation: The strength of evidence, including accident reports, witness statements, and photographic evidence, can influence the outcome of a claim.
  • Negligence and Violations: Instances of negligence, such as violations of traffic laws or trucking regulations, can contribute to the value of a claim.
  • Pain and Suffering: Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life, are subjective but essential components in determining the overall value of the claim.
  • Legal Representation: Your choice of legal representation will significantly impact the outcome of your claim. Contact an experienced trucking accident attorney from Flanagan & Bodenheimer to help you navigate the legal process.

Contact Our Miami Truck Accident Attorneys for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one suffered injuries or other damages in a truck accident, contact our law firm. Our Miami personal injury lawyers can ease the process and demand fair compensation from the responsible trucking company, so you can focus on your recovery. What makes us particularly unique is the level of personalized attention we provide to every client. You can expect us to attend to every one of your needs and ensure your voice is heard.

The sooner you get started on your case, the sooner you can recover the compensation you’re owed. Call our Miami truck accident lawyers today at (305) 638-4143.

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