Miami Truck Accident Lawyer Helping Victims Regain Their Financial Stability
Trucks are a common sight on Miami’s highways, but most people don’t consider the dangers large trucks can pose in a crash. Nearly 70% of the nation’s goods reach their destinations by truck, and truck drivers face pressure from their trucking companies to deliver their loads faster so they can move to the next job. Unfortunately, this can lead to drivers pushing or exceeding their maximum driving hours without rest and ignoring potentially dangerous issues with their trucks, significantly increasing their chances of being involved in a serious accident. Truck accident injuries are often far worse than those from a car accident, and the medical bills can quickly begin to pile up.
Victims of truck crashes often find it hard to recover compensation for their damages because of the complexity of the cases, which can involve multiple at-fault entities. At Galimidi Law, I believe you deserve to receive full and fair compensation for your injuries. I will fight for your rights and help you reach a settlement for your injuries that properly covers your losses. Contact a truck accident lawyer today for a free consultation.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
Driving a truck can be dangerous work. While truck drivers are usually highly trained and must complete physical check-ups to maintain their CDL licenses, they are still prone to driver error, much like car drivers. However, large trucks are more challenging to drive than smaller vehicles, and the consequences of a small mistake or a moment of inattention can be catastrophic both for the driver and the occupants of nearby vehicles. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which tracks trucking accident statistics, these are the two of the most common reasons for truck crashes:
- Truck defects: Almost 75% of trucks inspected after a crash had vehicle defects. Trucks with out-of-service defects were four times more likely to be involved in crashes than other trucks. An out-of-service defect is a mechanical or loading issue that would make the vehicle dangerous on the highway, such as malfunctioning brakes, burned-out tail lights, or fraying tire sidewalls.
- Driver fatigue: Truck drivers who had driven for more than 12 hours without an extended period of sleep were a whopping 86% more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers who had been driving for less than eight hours. Even small rest breaks can reduce the crash risk, as truck drivers who had driven five hours or more without stopping were 50% more likely to have an accident than those who had taken a break before they reached five hours.
Driver error, which can be caused by driver fatigue and other factors, accounts for many trucking accidents. According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), the majority of truck accidents caused by driver error fell into two categories: decision errors and recognition errors. Decision errors are failures in judgment, such as following too closely behind vehicles or driving too fast for the weather conditions. Recognition errors are caused by the driver being too distracted or inattentive to notice an issue until it is too late.
Why Are Truck Accidents More Dangerous Than Car Accidents?
Physics can explain why a truck will cause more damage than a car in an accident. According to Newton’s second law of motion, force is equal to the mass of an object times its acceleration. A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, while a typical car weighs around 4000 pounds. Because of its much larger mass, a truck will have tremendous force behind its impact when it hits an object, even if the truck is moving at a relatively low speed. This devastating force is often more than the safety features in passenger cars are rated for, which means that the vehicle’s occupants are exposed to extreme, jarring impacts.
A truck driver also has a hard time avoiding accidents in the first place because the mass of their truck makes it nearly impossible to stop or change directions quickly. In cases where a car driver might be able to slam on their brakes and narrowly avoid a wreck, a truck driver may be helpless to change the direction or speed of their vehicle in time. Even if they do attempt evasive maneuvers, it may cause more harm than good because they run the risk of jackknifing or rolling over.
What Are Some Specific Types of Truck Accidents?
While trucks can experience all the same kinds of accidents as cars, some accidents are unique to trucks or are more likely due to their size and shape. While many of these accidents can involve only the truck, nearby cars can also get unexpectedly caught up in the truck accident with tragic consequences. Some examples of truck-specific accidents include:
- Underride accidents: These are some of the most dangerous truck-involved accidents. Cars that are shorter in height can get stuck underneath the trailer of a truck and may get dragged for a distance before the truck can stop. Sometimes the top of the car is sheared off as it impacts the truck, causing head injuries and often fatalities for the accident victims. Trucks are supposed to be equipped with underride bars to prevent these accidents, but they are not always well maintained by trucking companies.
- Rollovers: A semi-truck trailer is susceptible to a lot of swaying, especially when turning or changing lanes. If a truck has improperly loaded cargo or strong winds hit it at the wrong time, it can easily begin to twist and roll over, sometimes crushing nearby vehicles.
- Jackknife accidents: Jackknifing occurs when a truck’s rear tires are moving faster than its front tires due to improper braking, slippery road conditions, or other situations, causing the rear of the truck to swing towards the cab. The back of the truck can hit vehicles in nearby lanes as it swings.
- Rear-end collisions: As mentioned above, it is difficult to stop a truck because of its mass. If another vehicle stops in front of a truck, the truck driver will likely not be able to stop in time to avoid rear-ending it, especially if road conditions are slippery. Brakes can also fail, causing a runaway truck situation.
- Blowouts: With all the tires on an 18-wheeler, blowouts can happen. If they occur while a truck is turning or changing lanes, it can cause the truck to experience a sudden jerk which may throw it into the path of other vehicles.
- Lost loads: Many people feel anxious about driving behind trucks because they fear the contents coming loose and hitting their vehicle. Unfortunately, this nightmare sometimes occurs. While most loads are securely fastened, some do fall off due to improper loading, door malfunctions, or accidents.
What Injuries Can Be Caused by a Truck Accident?
Truck accident victims can experience many of the same serious injuries as those involved in other motor vehicle accidents. However, the severity of the injuries is often increased due to the mass of the truck and the inability of most car safety features to protect passengers from those kinds of forces. Some common injuries resulting from a truck accident include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Back, head, and neck injuries
- Head trauma
- Severed limbs
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Head and brain injuries are ubiquitous in truck accidents. The force of a truck accident is often enough to cause the brain to ricochet around the skull cavity. This causes damage to brain tissue, such as bruising, tearing, and bleeding. After this damage occurs, the brain may swell, creating pressure and potentially cutting off the oxygen supply for parts of the brain, leading to cell death. The truck accident victim may die or slip into a coma if not treated immediately. Even when properly treated, brain injuries can cause permanent damage, such as memory loss, chronic headaches, depression, speech difficulties, vision problems, and more.
Due to their severity, truck accidents may also lead to death or permanent disability. Survivors can experience nightmares, anxiety, PTSD, and other trauma-related issues. A semi-truck accident can be a life-changing experience for you and your loved ones. An experienced truck accident attorney will thoroughly investigate your truck accident claim to hold the truck driver, the trucking company, and any other parties responsible for the negligent actions resulting in your injuries.
How Does a Truck Accident Lawyer Investigate a Case?
As a Miami personal injury lawyer with experience in truck accident cases, Galimidi Law understands every crash is unique. Every aspect of your case will be carefully examined to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to, even if the insurance company attempts to minimize or deny your severe injuries. To build the most robust possible case, truck accident lawyers utilize all the evidence and resources at their disposal, including:
- The police report: This critical document is written by the responding officer(s) and contains a record of the circumstances of the accident, how they believe it happened, and who might have been at fault.
- Evidence from the client: Any photos, videos, dash cam footage, written recollections, and other items from the accident scene collected by the crash victim are beneficial to the car accident case.
- Case-specific information: The accident history of the area where your crash occurred, the weather conditions on that day, the safety record of the vehicles involved and any known mechanical issues, road maintenance records, the truck driver’s driving record, and more could play a role in your claim.
- Expert medical opinions: Medical professionals can provide their opinion on whether your injuries resulted from the crash and if they should be considered severe or permanent. They may also speak to how any prescriptions, illegal drugs, or alcohol found in the truck driver’s system affected their driving skills and reactions.
- Accident reconstructions: If there is a dispute, those skilled in reconstruction can determine how the accident happened by using engineering and physics to calculate the actions of each vehicle.
What Damages Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Secure for You?
Truck crashes can leave devastation in their wake. Victims often face a long road to recovery, filled with expensive medical bills. They may find themselves unable to work or even accomplish daily tasks. A truck accident lawsuit seeks to recover compensation for the losses incurred by the victims. Three main types of damages can be awarded in a truck accident case: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic damages are financial losses experienced by the victim, which may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Prescription medication and medical supply costs
- Modifications to your home and vehicle to accommodate your injuries
Non-economic damages are the adverse physical, mental, and emotional effects of the crash, for which you can be compensated. These damages may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Punitive damages may be awarded during a trial in certain circumstances where the defendant was found to have acted especially maliciously or egregiously. However, meeting the threshold for these damages is relatively uncommon.
Why Hire a Miami Truck Accident Lawyer?
Trucking is a high-dollar business. Semi-trucks are expensive, and the loads they haul are often very valuable, so trucking companies must carry large insurance policies on their fleet. Because of the potential for costly claims for accident damages, insurance companies that provide coverage to trucks and their cargo have teams of lawyers to protect their interests. Their insurance adjusters will often attempt to shift the blame for the accident to the victim as well, to minimize the amount they have to pay.
Galimidi Law can level the playing field for you. I will carefully investigate your case and calculate your losses to ensure you receive the fair compensation you deserve. A truck accident can be life-altering, but I am here to help you get back on your feet again financially after the losses you’ve suffered. If you’ve been a victim of a south Florida truck accident, schedule a free case evaluation with a truck accident lawyer today.