Boca Raton Trucking Accident Lawyer Handling All Types of Truck Accident Cases
Each truck accident case is unique, but one factor that is often overlooked is the type of truck involved in the accident that caused your injury. Understanding how the type of truck can affect your claim makes it more likely that you will be able to get the compensation you need to rebuild your life. Contact an experienced Boca Raton trucking accident lawyer at The Grife Law Firm to help with your motor vehicle claim.
Proving Liability After a Truck Accident in Florida
Regardless of the issue (or issues) involved, recovering just compensation for a truck accident in Florida starts with proving who (or what company) is responsible for the crash. This requires a comprehensive investigation—and while this investigation usually starts at the scene, it may involve gathering evidence from a variety of other sources as well.
It is also important to keep in mind that multiple parties may share liability for the accident. As a result, when your Boca Raton truck accident lawyer investigates your case, your lawyer will need to consider the possibility that the evidence may lead to multiple claims. For example, while the truck’s brakes may have failed, the truck driver may also have been negligent in failing to prevent a jackknife or rollover. Or, while one driver may have triggered the accident, other drivers may have failed to do what was necessary to avoid a chain-reaction accident.
With this in mind, proving liability for a serious or fatal truck accident may involve gathering evidence such as:
- Forensic evidence from the crash site (i.e., documentation of skid marks, debris, and damaged signs or foliage)
- Inspection reports for the truck and all other vehicles involved in the crash
- The truck driver’s driving logs
- The truck’s maintenance history
- Multiple drivers’ cell phone records
- Receipts showing the purchase of alcohol or over-the-counter medications
- Traffic camera or surveillance camera footage
- Cell phone photos and videos
- Eyewitness testimony from drivers, passengers or pedestrians
- Testimony from trucking company personnel and other individuals
As the investigation into your (or your loved one’s) truck accident case progresses, your Boca Raton truck accident lawyer can determine what additional evidence is needed to prove your legal rights. Your lawyer can then take the necessary steps to gather this evidence, and with enough evidence in hand, your lawyer can prove your right to just compensation.
5 Important Facts for Truck Accident Victims and Their Families
When you have a truck accident claim in Florida, there is a lot you need to know. Mistakes can be costly, and if you don’t do everything that is necessary to protect your legal rights, you could end up without the financial compensation you deserve. To help you make informed decisions as you move forward, here are five important facts for truck accident victims and their families:
Fact #1: It Is Important to Take Action Promptly
After a truck accident in Florida, it is important to take action promptly. If you need treatment (or think you might need treatment), you should see a doctor right away. You should also speak with a Boca Raton truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Not only is it important to investigate before key evidence disappears, but you can lose your legal rights if you wait too long to file a claim.
Fact #2: Proving Your Legal Rights Isn’t an Easy Process
As we discussed above, proving your legal rights after a truck accident can involve collecting numerous forms of evidence from a variety of different sources. But, collecting this evidence is just the start of the process. You also need to be able to present this evidence effectively—whether in negotiations with the insurance companies or in court. This isn’t easy, and it requires putting an experienced Boca Raton truck accident lawyer on your side.
Fact #3: You Also Need to Prove Your Damages
Along with proving who (or what company) is liable for the accident, you also need to prove your damages. This includes proving your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and all of the losses you are entitled to recover. Florida law allows for the recovery of both present and future losses, and calculating just compensation for your future losses is critical for ensuring that you don’t settle for less than you deserve.
Fact #4: The Insurance Companies Want to Pay as Little as Possible
Regardless of which insurance company (or insurance companies) you are dealing with after your truck accident, you need to take charge of protecting your legal rights. The insurance companies have one goal, and that goal is to pay you as little as possible. When you hire a Boca Raton truck accident lawyer to represent you, your lawyer can deal with the insurance companies’ tactics for you, and your lawyer can negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf.
Fact #5: You Can Hire a Boca Raton Truck Accident Lawyer at No Out-of-Pocket Cost
Hiring a lawyer to handle your truck accident case costs nothing out-of-pocket. At The Grife Law Firm, we handle all truck accident cases on a contingency-fee basis. This means our clients pay nothing upfront, and they pay nothing at all unless we win. If we obtain a settlement or verdict for a client, our legal fees are simply deducted from our client’s award. If we don’t win, our clients owe nothing.
What to Expect During Your Truck Accident Case
Let’s say you have a truck accident case in Florida, and let’s say you choose our firm to represent you. What can you expect as your case moves forward?
Here’s what you can expect when you hire a Boca Raton truck accident lawyer at The Grife Law Firm:
- We Will Get to Work on Your Case Right Away – Once you engage our firm to represent you, we will get to work on your case right away. We will promptly launch a comprehensive investigation, and if necessary, we will act immediately to preserve your legal rights. We understand what it’s like to be in your situation, and we also know how critically important it can be to avoid any unnecessary delays.
- We Will Explain Everything You Need to Know – From your free initial consultation through the resolution of your case, we will explain everything you need to know. This includes explaining the steps you need to take as well as the mistakes you need to avoid. Based on our years of experience representing truck accident victims and their families, we will answer the questions you might not know to ask, and we will be here for you whenever you have questions or concerns.
- We Will Help You Make Smart Decisions – When you have a truck accident case, it is extremely important to make smart decisions. This applies across the board—from dealing with your medical care to deciding when (and if) to settle your claim(s). Our lawyers will give you the advice and information you need so that you can be confident in the decisions you make at all stages of your case.
- We Will Fight for Maximum Compensation – When we represent truck accident victims and their families, we have one goal: to help our clients recover maximum compensation. We will carefully calculate the long-term costs of your injuries or your loved one’s untimely death, and we will make sure you know exactly how much you are entitled to recover.
- We Will Advise You with Your Best Interests in Mind – From deciding which claim(s) to pursue to deciding when (and if) to settle, we will advise you with your best interests in mind. We are here to help you, and we are passionate about doing absolutely everything we can to help our clients.
What Not to Expect During Your Truck Accident Case
So, that covers what you can expect during your truck accident case. Now, what shouldn’t you expect while your case is pending:
- Your Case Won’t Move Forward Unless You Take Action – After a truck accident, nothing will happen unless you take action. It is up to you to take the first step. Once you hire a Boca Raton truck accident lawyer, then you can rely on your lawyer to protect your legal rights on your behalf.
- The Insurance Companies Won’t Treat You Fairly (Unless You Make Them) – Unfortunately, the insurance companies don’t have your best interests in mind. They won’t treat you fairly unless you make them, and this requires experienced legal representation.
- The Process Won’t Be Quick or Easy (But It Will Be Very Important) – Filing a successful truck accident claim isn’t quick or easy, but it is extremely important. With an experienced lawyer on your side, you can focus on your physical and psychological recovery during the process, and you can rely on your lawyer to fight for the compensation you deserve.
You Won’t Be Able to Obtain a Satisfactory Result on Your Own – Finally, regardless of the circumstances involved, you won’t be able to obtain a satisfactory result on your own. Winning a truck accident case requires experienced legal representation. To recover the compensation you deserve, you need a lawyer who is ready and willing to fight and who will handle all aspects of your case with your best interests in mind.
Examples of Tractor Trailer Accidents
When discussing truck accidents, people often assume that you are referring to semi-trucks. This may be because they are so recognizable due to their size and weight. That said, there are some types of accidents that are unique to this type of truck:
- Accidents caused by mechanical issues with the trailer
- Bad Weather Accidents
- Blindspot accidents
- Braking Accidents
- Fatigue Accidents
- Interstate Accidents
- Jackknife accidents
- Lost load accidents
- Speeding Accidents
- Wide turn accidents
If you have been injured in an accident with a tractor-trailer, big rig, or semi-truck, a Boca Raton trucking accident attorney can help you get fair compensation for your claim.
Tanker Truck Accidents
These are the trucks with large cylindrical tanks, often on a trailer. They are used to haul a wide variety of liquids including alcohol, water, or milk. However, they are also often carrying hazardous materials such as gasses, chemicals, fuel, and other flammable or combustible substances. In the event of an accident, the material in the tanker creates an additional hazard to other drivers on the road.
Accidents Involving Dump Trucks
Accidents involving dump trucks are especially serious when they are carrying a load of heavy materials in the open “dump” bed. In the event of an accident, the materials can spray out onto the roadway or other vehicles causing additional accidents and injuries. The dump truck may have been overloaded and therefore been unable to avoid the accident. There are a number of unique factors that must be taken into account, but a Boca Raton trucking accident lawyer experienced in handling dump truck claims can help.
Boca Raton Garbage Truck Accidents
Garbage and recycling trucks are often present in high-traffic areas. They stop and start frequently, often driving in an unpredictable manner, and are often on the roads in the early morning when visibility is poor. When driving routes in residential areas, pedestrians and children are particularly at risk. In addition, they often stop in the middle of the road to save time, meaning that they can create visibility issues for other drivers.
Flatbed Truck Accidents
Flatbed trucks are often hauling heavy cargo that can cause considerable damage and severe injuries in the event of an accident. Careful loading is critical, and when the loader, the driver, or the trucking company fails to take steps to ensure the cargo is safely secured, they can be held liable for any injuries they may cause.
Accidents caused as a result of lost cargo can be very complex. The party responsible for loading the truck may be a separate entity from the trucking company. Meanwhile, the truck driver has an obligation to ensure that the load is secure to the best of his ability. That said, the trucking company may have failed to provide adequate tie-downs or other safety measures to ensure that the load does not break loose during transport. A Boca Raton trucking accident attorney can review your case and ensure who should be held responsible for your injuries.
Box Truck Accidents
Accidents involving box trucks are also common. These trucks are often used for shorter distances and spend a significant amount of time driving in stop-and-go traffic. As a result, negligent maintenance can result in brake failures and other mechanical problems that can cause serious accidents.
In addition, a box truck handles much differently loaded versus unloaded. Depending on the size of the truck, the driver may not even need a commercial driver’s license or special training. As a result, many box truck accidents are the result of driver inexperience and a lack of training.
Boca Raton Trucking Accident Lawyers Advocating for Victims of Highway Collisions
Florida is a major transportation hub, and its interstate highways are often clogged with semis and tractor-trailers. While the majority of these trucks are operated in a safe and responsible manner, some trucking companies attempt to cut corners in an effort to save money. Also, some drivers fail to use due care behind the wheel, putting other drivers on the interstate at serious risk of harm. The news is full of reports discussing overturned semis, jackknifed tractor-trailers, or fatal accidents involving these massive vehicles. Knowing how to protect your rights after an interstate truck accident and how to pursue the maximum amount of compensation that you deserve can be challenging. At The Grife Law Firm, our Boca Raton truck accident attorneys ensure that each client receives the attentive and personalized legal counsel that they deserve. We work with a team of trucking industry experts to help victims build a strong case.
Proving Liability in an Interstate Truck Accident Case
If you are injured in an interstate truck accident, you can bring a negligence claim against the truck driver who caused your injuries to recover compensation. You may also have a claim against the trucking company that employs the driver. Florida Statutes § 768.096 provides that an employer is not presumed to have been negligent in hiring an employee who was later involved in a tortious act if the employer conducted certain activities before hiring the driver. This includes performing a background investigation tailored to the tasks that the employee will be required to perform. If the trucking company failed to comply with this statute, your attorney may be able to hold the employer independently liable for negligent hiring.
In the negligence case against the truck driver, you will need to show that the driver did not operate the truck with the same reasonable care and skill that a prudent truck driver would have used while driving on the interstate. There are many reasons that an interstate truck accident may occur, such as speeding or distracted driving. Florida Statute § 316.3025 prohibits commercial operators from texting or using a cell phone while driving. Intoxicated driving is also an issue for truck drivers, who may use alcohol or drugs to help them drive long shifts or to cope with the isolation of being on the road.
Many drivers on interstate highways are engaged in transporting goods between states rather than only within Florida. This makes them subject to federal regulations governing the trucking industry. For example, hours of service rules limit the amount of time that they can spend behind the wheel at one time and impose certain rest break requirements. In an effort to meet deadlines, truckers often are tempted to violate these rules, which may lead to crashes caused by excessive fatigue or even falling asleep behind the wheel. This also can be a basis for a negligence claim following an interstate truck accident.
After establishing liability, you will be required to demonstrate that there is a causal link between the defendant’s failure to use due care and the injuries that you sustained. An experienced trucking industry expert can testify on your behalf about the crash and explain how the defendant’s lack of due care on the interstate caused you to suffer injuries.
There are a number of items of compensation that you can seek from a defendant truck driver or trucking company, or both. Past and present medical expenses can include everything from ambulance bills to physical therapy costs. If the accident left you with permanent disabilities, you may also be able to request compensation for future estimated medical care costs, as well as compensation for your reduced quality of life and diminished earning capacity. Truck accidents that happen at high speeds on the interstate can result in catastrophic and permanent injuries, so it is important that you seek the maximum amount of compensation.
How Speeding Contributes to Catastrophic Trucking Accidents in Boca Raton
Commercial truck drivers are typically compensated per mile, which means that the more miles that they drive, the more money that they earn. Thus, many truck drivers travel at speeds that are greater than the posted speed limit to maximize their earnings. Truck drivers often lose the ability to control their trucks when they travel at a high rate of speed, however, and speeding is one of the leading causes of truck accidents. If you sustained injuries in a speeding truck accident, you should find out about the steps that you can take to protect your interests. The Boca Raton trucking accident lawyers at The Grife Law Firm are adept at handling complex personal injury lawsuits, and we have the skills and experience needed to help you seek a successful outcome. We offer representation to injured people across South Florida.
Dangers Presented by Speeding Truck Drivers
When a truck driver disregards the speed limit or drives too fast for the conditions, it can cause life-altering harm. Drivers who speed often suffer a loss of control of their trucks and are more likely to roll over or jackknife, especially on curving roads. Speeding drivers also have a reduced ability to stop, and when they encounter another vehicle or a hazardous condition in their lane of travel, they may not be able to avoid an impact. Traveling at an excessive rate of speed also can cause a shift in the load of the cargo in the trailer of a truck, which can cause the truck to veer uncontrollably. Additionally, drivers who speed may not be able to monitor their blind spots properly, and they may not notice a vehicle in a blind spot until it is too late to avoid a collision.
Pursuing Claims Following a Speeding Truck Accident
There are numerous laws and regulations that dictate the speeds at which truck drivers are permitted to travel. For example, Florida Statute 316.183 states that no driver traveling on a highway is permitted to drive at a speed that is greater than what is prudent and reasonable under the present conditions. In other words, drivers must control their speed as necessary to avoid collisions. The statute also establishes a maximum speed limit of 30 miles per hour for vehicles in residential or business districts and 55 miles per hour on all other roads that are not highways that are part of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations impose obligations with regard to speed limits on the companies that employ truck drivers. Specifically, Section 392.6 of the Regulations states that no motor carrier may schedule a run or require or permit the operation of any truck between points in a set period of time that would require the truck to be driven at a speed in excess of the posted speed limit.
Anyone injured in a speeding truck accident can seek damages from the truck’s driver via a negligence claim. In some cases, the injured person will need to retain a biomechanical expert to extrapolate data from the truck and recreate the accident to determine how fast the truck was traveling prior to the accident. If the injured person can gather evidence sufficient to prove that the truck driver breached a duty of care by speeding and that the speeding caused the accident and the injured person’s harm, he or she may be awarded compensation. If the driver was employed by a motor carrier at the time of the accident, the injured person might pursue claims against the driver’s employer as well.
Reasons for Braking Failures in Boca Raton Truck Accidents
Commercial trucks have complex braking systems. If these braking systems are not adequately maintained or have defects, they may not effectively halt a large, heavy truck. Sometimes there are truck accidents due to a driver’s failure to go through an inspection or a truck company’s failure to handle maintenance issues appropriately. If you were injured or a loved one was killed as a result of inadequate braking ability in South Florida, it is crucial to hire an experienced attorney. Trucking companies and their insurers often mount aggressive defenses after a truck accident and may not turn over necessary evidence willingly. The Boca Raton trucking accident lawyers at The Grife Law Firm understand how to protect a victim’s rights.
Braking failures are a common kind of mechanical failure that results in commercial truck accidents on interstates and other roads. A brake failure may be connected to overheating, blowouts, oil leaks, faulty brake pads, faulty air valves, flaws in the pressure supply system, or a failure to inspect or maintain the system. There are certain safety mechanisms to stop total brake failure, but usually, a truck driver needs a bigger space to stop. A truck driver must know how to adequately brake, and the brake mechanism needs to be functioning. A truck driver who does not keep a safe distance between the truck and what is in front of him may experience a braking failure that causes a rear-end or override accident. Moreover, a braking problem can result in a jackknife accident, which is an accident in which the cab drives straight ahead while the trailer swings out to the left or right, potentially hitting the cars in its path.
Truck Driver Negligence
Sometimes you can hold a truck driver liable for inadequate braking ability. For example, his conduct might contribute to an accident if he waited too long to brake. You would need to prove that this failure to brake caused the crash. Driving while fatigued, drunk driving, texting while driving, or speeding, for example, could result in difficulties stopping in time to avoid a collision. Sometimes a braking failure is a result of a truck driver’s failure to conduct an inspection prior to setting out on a trip. If an interstate truck driver fails to conduct an inspection in violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, this may be strong evidence of negligence.
Trucking Company Negligence
Truck drivers may not have sufficient insurance coverage to cover the full scope of catastrophic injuries, particularly if there are multiple victims. A trucking company can be held vicariously liable for an employee’s negligence in the course and scope of employment. Trucking companies can also be held directly liable for negligent hiring, negligent training, and negligent supervision. If they work in interstate commerce, negligence may be shown by establishing that they violated the FMCSA regulations on maintenance. Under these regulations, trucking companies are supposed to record their maintenance of the brake system.
Product Liability Theories
Sometimes brakes are defective. In that case, it may be possible to bring a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. A truck or brake manufacturer can be held strictly liable if the brakes are unreasonably dangerous. The brakes would be considered unreasonably dangerous if they failed to perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would anticipate when used as intended or in a way that the manufacturer could foresee, or if the risk of danger in the brake’s design outweighed the benefits.
If your attorney is able to establish liability, non-economic damages for pain and suffering and loss of quality of life may be recovered. Regarding medical costs, truck accident victims are encouraged to carefully assess their treatment needs. Proving the impact of all of their physical limitations is necessary in truck crash cases, since the resulting injuries are typically severe. Injured individuals may also recover compensation for the past and future earnings that they have lost due to their injuries.
Our Boca Raton Trucking Accident Lawyer Answers Your FAQs
Is there a deadline for pursuing a truck accident claim?
Under Florida law, you have up to four years to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for injuries sustained in a truck accident. While this may sound like plenty of time, be aware that it can pass more quickly than you expect, especially if you are dealing with serious injuries. Furthermore, the longer you wait, the harder it will be to gather the evidence you need to support your claim. The sooner you contact an experienced Boca Raton trucking accident attorney, the sooner you can get the compensation you need to pay your bills and take care of your family.
Do I need a Boca Raton trucking accident attorney to handle my case if I don’t plan to go to court?
First, it is important to understand that going to court may be your only option for receiving fair compensation for your injuries in some cases.
Second, a Boca Raton trucking accident lawyer can help at any stage of the claim process – they can do much more than file a lawsuit. They can handle all of the correspondence, assist in negotiating your settlement, and gather the documentation you may need to prove your claim. In addition, they can even help you arrange for a rental car and coordinate your medical treatment.
Who is responsible for my truck accident, the driver or the trucking company?
One of the things that make truck accident cases complex is that there may be multiple parties responsible for your accident. The majority of truck accidents are the result of driver error or negligence, but trucking companies can be held liable for the negligence of their drivers. That said, the accident may have been caused by the trucking company’s failure to maintain the truck or provide the driver with adequate training and supervision.
To add to that, the accident may have been caused by a failure to load the truck properly by some third party or even be the result of negligent repairs or defective parts. A Boca Raton trucking accident lawyer will have the knowledge and experience to be able to identify the cause of your accident and then hold the appropriate parties accountable.
How Our Boca Raton Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Trucking accidents are often fatal or leave those involved with serious injuries that impact them the rest of their lives. A Boca Raton Truck Accident Lawyer at our law firm can help you explore your legal rights and learn about the options available to you, and your family after an accident in Boca Raton and throughout South Florida. Contact us today to learn more.
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