Truck Accident Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
Unlike other vehicles on the roads, trucks have characteristics that make them inherently more dangerous. With gross weights topping out at 80,000 pounds and lengths as long as 40 feet, trucks have the potential to do far more damage in an accident than other smaller vehicles on the road. Because of these different characteristics truck drivers are required to obtain additional operational and safety training and must possess additional license classifications to operate these larger vehicles.
Even with added training, trucks represent a large number of accidents on the roads in the U.S. In 2018 alone, over 4,100 people died following an accident with a large truck. Only 16% of these deaths were occupants of the trucks themselves. Over 67% of accident victims were passengers and drivers of cars, and 15% of these victims were motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Over the last decade, the number of large crash victims has increased by over 30%.
If you were involved in an accident in Fort Lauderdale, a truck accident attorney can help. The Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyers at Schlacter Law understand that a semi accident is unique, often causing severe injuries and costing victims serious financial harm. Following an accident, we will work hard to get you compensation for your injuries.
What to do After an Accident in Fort Lauderdale
Following an accident, the first step is to seek medical assistance if required. Even if you feel an injury is minor, a minor injury can easily develop into something far more serious if left ignored. Make sure that anyone else involved in the accident does not require medical assistance. If someone does require an ambulance or medical care, call 911 as soon as possible and be sure to wait at the scene of the accident until medical care arrives.
Calling 911 is recommended even in cases where no injuries occurred. Even when no medical care is required the Fort Lauderdale police are commonly dispatched to an accident scene. The police can assist in filing an accident report which can later be used by an attorney to help establish the circumstances that led to the accident.
Because semi operators are required to obtain special licenses to operate their vehicles, be sure to exchange license information with the other driver. Take note if their license indicates an endorsement for driving trucks. Use a cell phone and photograph the license for your records and remember to give the other driver your license as well to record the information.
In addition to exchanging license information, be sure to obtain a copy of their insurance carrier and insurance policy number. Often when an operator is driving a semi that is owned by the company they work for, the insurance policy will be in the company’s name, not the driver’s. Be sure to clarify who is named on the insurance policy if the name does not match the name of the driver.
Due to their size and weight, trucks can cause serious damage to other vehicles. Be sure to document this damage. Again, using a cell phone, be sure to take pictures of both your own vehicle and the truck. Snapping a photograph of the license plate can also help if you forget to write this information down separately.
Provided no medical care was necessary and your vehicle is still fit for travel, it’s safe to leave the accident scene after exchanging information and filing a police report. Regardless of who was at fault, contact your own insurance company within a day or two to let them know you were involved in an accident.
Contacting the truck driver’s insurance company can be trickier. Be cautious of any conversations you may have with the other insurance company and be sure not to admit fault in any way. The Fort Lauderdale truck crash lawyers at Schlacter Law can assist you when dealing with insurance companies and help ensure that they are provided with only the information necessary to initiate a claim.
Common Causes of Accidents
Trucks come with their own unique dangers and hazards. Because of their large size and weight trucks often require additional space for stopping and larger areas to make turns. Additionally, trucks require their drivers to be more attentive and need more skills to operate properly. Some common causes of truck accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Drugs and Alcohol
- Poor training
- Improperly stored cargo
- Poor maintenance
Like any vehicle on the highway, all too often a driver may find themselves going faster than they should. Truck drivers, in particular, are usually paid for each mile they drive giving them an incentive to shuffle between stops as quickly as possible. Speeding is often a contributing factor when it comes to these types of accidents.
Today more than ever distracted driving contributes to more and more accidents. Cell phone use is a common problem since it has become easier for long-distance truckers to keep in contact while on the road. Boredom can lead to text messaging, shuffling through playlists or eating a meal, and can easily lead a truck driver to take their eyes off the road just long enough to cause an accident.
Fatigue plays a large role in truck accidents. With time-sensitive deliveries and not enough hours in the day to safely travel between destinations, it’s not surprising that truck drivers are rarely well-rested. Even with Federal guidelines and regulations limiting the number of hours a truck driver may operate their vehicle, these rules can often be overlooked or ignored.
Even though illegal drug and alcohol use is restricted for all drivers, truck drivers, in particular, have a greater responsibility to other drivers on the roads. With their size and weight, even a small amount of alcohol can impair a driver’s reflexes. And with such a large vehicle to control, a moment’s hesitation can easily cause a serious accident.
A poorly trained truck driver is more prone to getting in an accident than someone with more training and experience. The more hours logged behind the wheel the better a truck driver can anticipate how their vehicle will respond in an emergency situation. While regulations require a certain amount of training, a less experienced driver is more likely to be involved in an accident.
How cargo is stored can play an important role in truck accidents. When cargo is stored incorrectly inside the truck it can easily shift during transit and throw a truck off balance. Loads must adhere to weight, width, and length restrictions, and these restrictions are sometimes ignored, leading to more accidents.
A properly maintained vehicle is also important to ensure that it functions properly. Since trucks often travel far more miles than cars, they also require far more maintenance. Regular wear and tear can require more frequent tire changes, engines require more oil, and regular checkups can help ensure that a truck is safe. When trucking companies skimp on maintenance it makes their fleets all that much more dangerous.
When a truck is involved in an accident there could be several contributing factors. Talk with a truck wreck lawyer in Fort Lauderdale today so we can help evaluate the circumstances of the accident that led to your injuries and help you get the compensation you need today.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Whenever two vehicles collide the occupants can be seriously injured. Some common injuries in car accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
Because of their size and weight, injuries following truck accidents are typically more severe than injuries following other types of vehicle accidents. Common truck injuries include:
- Serious burns
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Internal injuries
The forces at play following a truck accident can easily overturn a truck, often crushing other vehicles nearby and trapping them in their cars. Roofs can cave in, injuring the driver’s head, back, and neck. A truck carrying flammable material can ignite causing both the truck and other vehicles to burn, causing serious scarring and disfigurement. And impact forces can be strong enough to sheer off limbs.
Statute of Limitations
Following an accident, a victim in Fort Lauderdale has a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit for compensation in court. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations. In Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury negligence lawsuits is set at four years from the time of the injury. Failing to file a lawsuit within this four-year window could result in a dismissal of a case, and a loss of any compensation.
Due to this time limitation, it is important to speak with a semi-truck accident lawyer sooner rather than later. Waiting too long to speak with an attorney could leave you with no available recourse to seek compensation. The Fort Lauderdale truck accident law firm of Schlacter Law understands the importance of these deadlines and will ensure that no matter is overlooked. Call today for a consultation.
How We Handle Cases
- Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
- You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
- Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
- Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
- If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
- At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of compensation could I receive?
Compensation is based on the severity of the accident and the seriousness of any injuries. There are several different types of compensation that are recoverable following a collision. Any known costs such as medical bills, property damage, and hospital bills are added up to come up with a dollar figure. Unknown costs could include potential long-term care, as well as the value of pain and suffering and emotional distress. Lastly, in rare circumstances, a court might award punitive damages to punish a defendant for reckless behavior in an attempt to prevent the same type of behavior in the future. Talk with a Fort Lauderdale semi-accident attorney today to help determine what types of compensation might be available.
Do I need to pay for a lawyer before they’ll take a case?
Most personal injury lawyers will take a case on a contingency fee basis. This allows a victim to initiate a claim without having to pay any money at the start of the process. Instead, the lawyer would receive a percentage of any money they recover on your behalf. Typically, this amount is between 33.33% and 40%.
Do I have to file a lawsuit right away?
While filing a lawsuit immediately is not imperative, it is important to note that there are time limits on when a victim can file a lawsuit. These time limits are called statutes of limitations, and for personal injury negligence cases, the lawsuit should be filed within four years from the time of the accident or the time an injury is discovered.