A fully-loaded semi-truck can weigh over 50,000 lbs., making it one of the biggest dangers to personal vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, mopeds, scooters, and even pedestrians along the roadway. If you’ve been in an accident with a semi-truck (a.k.a. tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler), you may be entitled to damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
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Miami truck accident lawyer Bobby Nunez represents clients on a contingency basis. That means you don’t have to pay for his professional legal advice out of pocket, and his firm is only compensated if he is successful in obtaining a recovery. Call today to be connected with one of the top Miami truck accident lawyers in the legal field.
Elements of Liability in Truck Accident Cases
During your initial consultation, Attorney Nunez will review the details of your case to determine the likelihood all four of the following elements are present in your claim:
1. Duty of Care
In order for a truck driver and/or trucking company to be responsible for your damages, a truck accident lawyer must first demonstrate that the defendant had a duty of care for your safety – in other words, the truck driver and/or trucking company failed to do something or did some improperly which lead to the crash. Because large truck drivers operate on public roadways, there is a special duty of care for everyone who accesses those same spaces. This means that a truck driver must adhere to not only the same traffic laws and legal regulations as everyday drivers, as well as use reasonable caution in all that they do, but they have specific regulations that have to be complied with when driving around in the tractor-trailer.
2. Breach of Duty
A truck accident attorney must also be able to demonstrate that there was a breach of the duty of care. For instance, operating a truck at high speeds, not approaching an intersection safely, failing to maintain a semi-trucks safety equipment properly, and driving during mandatory break periods all breach the driver’s or trucking company’s duty of care.
The third element of liability is causation. This means that whatever breach of duty the driver or trucking company committed caused the trucking accident that lead to injuries (a.k.a. damages). For example, if a fatigued driver runs a red light and t-bones a car that had the right of way, it would be pretty clear that the driver’s breach of duty caused the accident.
The final element that a truck accident attorney must show is that the person making a claim suffered injuries to their body and/or repairs are needed to their vehicle (or motorcycle, bicycle, moped, scooter, etc.). Damages can be monetary or non-monetary – for example, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of the enjoyment of life, or even scarring. As a Miami truck accident attorney, Bobby Nunez is adept at evaluating the total cost of medical bills, lost wages, vehicle damage, and non-monetary damages like pain and suffering.
If Mr. Nunez recognizes that your truck crash has all of these elements, he can immediately represent you.
The Dangers of Large Truck Collisions
While all car crashes are potentially dangerous, there are many factors that make large truck accidents much more potentially hazardous than car crashes. To begin with, the maximum weight of a loaded commercial vehicle in Florida is 80,000 lbs, while the average weight of a car is a little over 4,000 lbs. That means fully-loaded semi-trucks are 20 times heavier than passenger cars.
In addition to being much heavier, trucks are longer, which means that they’re less maneuverable than smaller vehicles. Trucks sometimes carry explosive or hazardous materials, which means that the impact during a truck collision may only be the start of the danger.
Because of these enhanced risks, the drivers of large trucks must undergo extensive training and follow a series of strict state and federal regulations. However, many truck drivers cut corners to make more money or keep their deliveries on schedule.
Florida Truck Accident Statistics
Miami-Dade County has a larger population than any other county in the State of Florida. Consequently, it has the greatest number of accidents, and truck accidents in particular. According to the Florida DHSMV, in 2021:
- Miami-Dade experienced 62,536 motor vehicle accidents.
- There were 28,706 reported injuries from accidents.
- There were 352 accident-related fatalities in Miami-Dade.
- The state of Florida had 32,092 light, medium, or heavy truck crashes.
- 983 truck crashes involved possible injuries, 468 involved non-incapacitating injuries, 124 involved incapacitating injuries, and 28 involved fatalities.
If you’re one of the thousands of drivers or passengers involved in a truck accident in South Florida, you need to contact a truck accident attorney with a reputation for winning. Call our accident law firm today.
Common Causes of Miami Truck Accidents
As is the case with car accidents, truck accidents can arise from a number of causes. Here are some of the most common reasons for commercial truck accidents:
- Distracted Driving – Truck drivers work long hours on the roadway, and the temptation to look at their phones or eat while driving is ever-present. This leads to distracted driving, which is dangerous for the truck driver and other drivers.
- Fatigue – Drivers are required to take mandatory breaks between their runs, but that doesn’t mean that they get the proper rest when they’re not on duty or that they’re even following the regulations. Fatigue lowers response times and creates additional dangers.
- Substance Abuse – Alcohol and other substances are frequently sold at truck stops. When a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it affects reaction time and judgment.
- Improper Load – Packing a truck is not a matter of merely stacking boxes. If cargo shifts around in the back of a truck or comes off of the truck, it creates a hazard for the truck driver and other drivers.
- Poor Maintenance – Truck accident attorneys should always review the maintenance record for the vehicle. Many trucking companies try to cut corners and will not properly maintain their vehicles.
- Careless Driving – As is the case with a car accident, a truck accident may be caused by a failure to use due care.
As a Miami truck accident lawyer, attorney Nunez will review the crash report, depose police officers, and consult with truck accident reconstruction experts to determine the cause of the crash. If the driver or trucking company was responsible for the accident, he can pursue your case through their insurers or in a civil court.
Injuries Commonly Caused by Miami Truck Accidents
Truck accident injuries tend to be similar to car accident injuries. The difference is that because of the massive size of the truck, injuries are common in a motor vehicle accident involving one, even at low speeds. Here are some common truck accident injuries:
- Severed body parts
- Internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Poisoning (when toxic materials are involved)
Whether you’ve suffered minor or severe injuries, you have a right to recover damages from your trucking accident. Reach out to our law firm immediately to discuss your Miami truck accident case.
Types of Miami Truck Accident Cases We Handle
We represent clients in all types of trucking accidents. Here are some of the types of truck accident cases we handle:
- Fatigued driver cases
- Accidents involving a drunk truck driver
- Wrongful death claims
- Improper load claims
- Truck accidents resulting from loose cargo striking a vehicle
- Chemical inhalation cases
If you’ve been involved in a serious trucking accident that caused injuries, contact a South Florida personal injury lawyer right away. In Miami, attorney Bobby Nunez represents clients on a contingency basis, which means clients do not have to pay his legal or costs fees out of pocket until/when he wins the case; basically, he collects from the trucking companies’ insurers.
What to Do if You’re Involved in an Accident with a Semi-Truck
These tips should not be considered legal advice, but they could prevent further injury in a semi-truck accident and help you recover compensation for a truck driver’s negligence.
- Get to Safety – You should move your car to prevent further injury if possible. In fact, if the truck was carrying hazardous materials, it may be your safest bet. Otherwise, exit the vehicle with caution if necessary.
- Call 911 – The dispatcher will need to know the number of motor vehicles involved, the location of the vehicles, including the direction of travel, whether or not there are placards that indicate the truck was carrying hazardous materials, the number of injuries, the nature of the injuries, etc.
- Talk to Witnesses – Ask anyone who may have witnessed the commercial truck accident to remain on the scene. If they refuse, ask for their contact information. Whether your claim is settled or litigated through a personal injury lawsuit, witness testimony is invaluable.
- Take Photos or a Video – From a position of safety, photograph all relevant things on the scene: the position of the vehicles, distinguishing features of the truck, geographic indicators, placards, truck skid marks on the roadway, and visible injuries. Personal injury lawyers are able to use this visual documentation to reconstruct the accident.
- Get Treated for Injuries – Most people who have been involved in accidents with semi-trucks or other large commercial vehicles sustain injuries. Allow the EMTs to examine you on scene. If they recommend that you go to the ER, allow them to transport you.
- Refuse Initial Settlement Offers – In order to reduce the risk of a truck accident lawsuit, trucking companies tend to be proactive when it comes to settling claims. You may be contacted by an adjuster within hours of an accident. They will offer to write you a check for your medical bills, vehicle damage, and maybe a little extra for your inconvenience. However, if you take that money, you will be required to sign a waiver that will prevent you from collecting additional compensation if your medical condition turns out to be worse than it seems at the time. Many Miami truck accident victims make this mistake after an accident involving tractor-trailers. The trucking companies are counting on it.
If you contact Miami truck accident attorney Bobby Nunez, he can review your claim. You’re under no obligation to hire him, and the consultation is free.
Compensation in Truck Accidents
Florida allows plaintiffs in personal injury cases to pursue three types of damages. Economic damages and non-economic damages are compensatory damages, while punitive damages are non-compensatory.
Economic damages are a dollar-for-dollar reimbursement for the financial costs of an accident. They include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and future anticipated costs, like future medical bills and diminished earning capacity.
Not all costs of an accident involve a financial expenditure. Non-economic damages, or pain and suffering damages, attempt to reimburse injury victims for their physical pain, emotional trauma, diminished quality of life, and more. In a wrongful death case, non-economic damages also include loss of companionship and the victim’s pain and suffering before their death.
These are non-compensatory damages paid to accident victims to further punish the defendant for willful behavior or egregious negligence. Punitive damages are less common in commercial truck accident cases. Examples of where punitive damages might apply would be when a trucking company fails to correct known safety violations or when a driver is discovered to be severely impaired.
While there are no caps on economic and non-economic damages in the state of Florida, the law caps punitive damages at three times compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater.
Damage calculations are complex, but Miami truck accident attorneys are familiar with established damage calculations, which is why it’s always better to pursue damage claims through a personal injury attorney.
Truck Accident Frequently Asked Questions
These are some of the most frequently asked questions heard by Miami semi-truck accident lawyers. For answers to your specific questions, contact attorney Bobby Nunez today.
How long after an accident can you claim compensation?
The statute of limitations in Florida is two (2) years after the accident. After that, you will not be eligible to receive compensation for your accident. In cases of wrongful death, the four-year clock begins when the victim passes.
Why shouldn’t I accept a first offer from an insurance company?
Insurance adjusters are known for lowballing settlement offers when dealing with individuals struck by commercial trucks. If they can get you to take a fast settlement and sign a waiver before you start talking to Miami truck accident lawyers, they can increase their profitability. As an accident victim, however, you may be settling for much less than you’re entitled to.
When should I hire a truck accident lawyer?
Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they collect their fees based on winning your case. They justify these fees by negotiating for a much higher settlement amount. Even if you ultimately decide not to use a personal injury lawyer to settle your claim, you owe it to yourself to hear what they have to say about the insurance company’s settlement offer. Mr. Nunez will review your claim in a free, no-obligation consultation.
Can I recover compensation if a loved one has been killed in a truck crash?
Only the personal representative of the decedent’s estate can file a personal injury claim in Florida. In the event that the deceased individual didn’t have a will, the courts can appoint a personal representative after their death.
Miami-Dade Truck Accident Attorney for Plaintiff Injuries
Truck drivers and trucking companies are obligated to maintain and operate their vehicles in a manner that’s safe for all other parties. When they fail in this responsibility and others are hurt, the victims deserve compensation. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, attorney Bobby Nunez will represent you for free. Call today for a free consultation.