Truck Accident Lawyer in Hialeah
Hialeah Truck Accident Lawyer
Florida trucking accidents involving large 18 wheelers, semi tractor-trailers, tankers, and other big rigs are some of the most devastating types of motor vehicle accidents. According to NHTSA statistics, each year over 4,700 people are killed and approximately 116,000 are injured in trucking accidents through the United States . This is because of a commercial vehicle’s sheer size and weight which generates considerable momentum and force in an impact. These forces are magnified on fast-moving highways and interstates such as I-95, I-75, SR 826 (Palmetto Expressway), US Route 27 (Okeechobee Road), and other fast-moving roadways. As a result, large commercial truck accidents frequently cause catastrophic personal injuries including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputations, and other devastating damages, including wrongful death.
Here at Schlacter Law, our Hialeah trucking accident lawyer knows how devastating an 18 wheeler accident can be. We have dedicated our injury law firm to those who have been catastrophically injured due to the negligence of others, especially in Florida trucking accidents. We understand how much more difficult an 18 wheeler accident is than other types of motor vehicle crashes, and we may use some of the leading experts to help boost your claim for damages and establish liability against negligent truck drivers, trucking companies, tire manufacturers, maintenance teams, or other reckless individuals who may have caused your 18 wheeler wreck. Call (305) 999-1111 for a free consultation to learn how we can help you and your family.
Why 18 Wheeler Accident Cases Are Different
If you have been seriously injured in a big rig crash, you cannot hire just any personal injury lawyer. You need a trucking accident lawyer like our lawyer at Schlacter Law. This is because big rig accident cases are not like other types of motor vehicle accidents. There are completely different sets of federal regulations which are a complex matrix of driver duties, trucking company obligations, and equipment requirements. Unless a lawyer handles this area of law regularly, the lawyer likely does not even know about these Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations—let alone how to use them effectively against negligent truckers and trucking companies.
Mechanically speaking, large commercial vehicles like semi tractor-trailers, 18 wheelers, and other box trucks are also significantly more complicated vehicles than smaller, passenger vehicles. Everything from the braking system (air brakes in trucks vs. disc/drum brakes in cars), the strength of tires, to even the steering system is completely different. With all of these extra parts and mechanisms, there are a lot of other components that an 18 wheeler accident lawyer would need to check for liability purposes that an inexperienced personal injury lawyer would not know about. This is why you need an experienced Hialeah trucking accident lawyer like ours at Schlacter Law.
In addition, large commercial trucks also have electronic control modules known as ECMs. These devices function like black boxes and can record vast amounts of information such as the direction of the vehicle, speed, whether the driver was accelerating or braking, length of driving, and other data of what the driver was doing immediately before and after the impact. However, this data can be easily erased, altered, or corrupted so victims cannot recover this information. Trucking companies and insurance carriers know this and frequently rush to download the data and take possession of it first. Without a strong and knowledgeable lawyer, a victim may never get access to this information.
Personal Injuries in Trucking Accidents
Due to their large size and heavy-weight, catastrophic personal injuries or wrongful death are common in Florida trucking accidents. Even low-speed collisions could result in permanent neck, back, and head injuries. Victims may require months or years of recovery, physical therapy, surgery, or other treatment before becoming stable again. Unfortunately, many victims of tractor trailer accidents do not make a full recovery given the devastating nature of these types of accidents. Common injuries from a Hialeah trucking accident that our lawyer might handle for you include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Amputations or loss of a limb
- Broken bones
- Organ injuries
- Paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Nerve injuries
- Significant disfigurement or scarring
- Loss of vision or blindness
- Burn injuries
- Neck or back injuries, including disc herniations or annular tears
- Shoulder or knee injuries
- Wrongful death
- Any other serious injury caused by a trucking accident that should be handled by our lawyer at Schlacter Law
Common Causes of Hialeah Trucking Accidents
There are many possible causes of Florida trucking accidents, but the truth is most of the common causes are all preventable. This is because most causes of 18 wheeler wrecks are due to reckless, careless, and downright negligent conduct. Some of the conduct is even unlawful in Florida or a violation of federal regulations. Other common causes are due to the nature of the trucking business, an industry that is focused on time is money—the faster a delivery can be made, the faster that the truck driver and trucking company can be paid.
Our trucking accident lawyer may handle some of the following types of big rig accident cases:
- Speeding or excessive speed
- Tailgating or following too closely
- Hours of service violations
- Distracted driving on a cell phone, using GPS, using the handheld radio, changing the music radio, or eating
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Mechanical errors
- Rear-end collisions
- Driver inexperience
- Failure to yield or failure to stop at a stop sign or red light
- Braking errors, including mechanical or user errors
- Unsecured cargo or improperly secured cargo which falls off the truck
- Jackknifing or rollovers
- Unsafely backing up
- Excessive speed during inclement weather such as heavy rain
- Drunk driving or drugged driving
- Lane change errors or merge errors
- Any other cause that was due to a truck driver’s negligence that should be reviewed by our Hialeah lawyer
With trucking accidents, it is always important to ask our trucking accident lawyer at Schlacter Law for a free case review. This is because some causes of 18 wheeler wrecks can be hidden, concealed, or otherwise difficult to discover. This is particularly true for hours of service violations which is a common violation and a common cause of catastrophic or deadly box truck crashes. Always ask our lawyer whenever you have been involved in a collision with a semi tractor-trailer or any other type of big rig.
Common Violations of FMCSA Regulations
Since the trucking industry is an interstate business, a federal agency regulates the conduct of truck drivers and trucking companies. These federal regulations promulgated by FMCSA must be complied with no matter what state the truck driver is from, going to, or presently driving in. Nor does it matter where the trucking company is from. States like Florida are free to add additional state laws or regulations which truck drivers and trucking companies must comply with, but the FMCSA regulations are the minimal requirements.
Most of the FMCSA regulations revolve around safety, particularly of the general public. When a truck driver or trucking company violates these safety standards, it could result in a catastrophic 18 wheeler accident causing serious personal injuries. This is why Florida law allows the violation of a regulation to be used by an injured victim as evidence of negligence against the truck driver or trucking company.
Some of the most common FMCSA regulations that a truck driver or trucking company may violate include the following:
- Hours of Service (HOS) Violations – Hours of Service regulations dictate how long a truck driver may operate a commercial vehicle before being required to take a rest . This is because a fatigued truck driver is a dangerous truck driver. This is not just because of sleep deprivation, but also due to the rigors of driving a commercial vehicle which can be physically exhausting. Some of the most important requirements in HOS violations include the following:
- 24 hours periods, with a maximum of 14 consecutive hours being “on duty” and a minimum of 10 consecutive hours being “off duty”
- No more than 11 hours of the 14 hours on duty may be driving
- No more than 8 consecutive hours of driving before a 30-minute rest break is needed
- No more than 60 hours on duty in any 7 consecutive days
- No more than 70 hours on duty in any 8 consecutive days
- Other regulations that a Hialeah trucking accident lawyer could evaluate for you
- Alcohol and Drug Prohibition – While Florida has a .08 BAC limit for drunk driving, the FMCSA regulations prohibit a truck driver from having any BAC. Further, the FMCSA regulations prohibit a truck driver from consuming any alcohol four hours before starting a shift. These are the strictest alcohol and driving regulations or laws in the country, but far too many truck drivers violate the alcohol use prohibition. All drug use, illegal or prescription medication which may impair a truck driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, are also prohibited during a shift
- Cargo Requirements – The FMCSA regulations establish specific requirements on how cargo must be secured on a flatbed or in a box truck. These regulations not only provide the type of straps/lashings and the number of devices per foot of cargo, but also how often a driver must check the devices and cargo to ensure that it has not shifted during transport. This includes checking cargo before starting a trip, within the first 50 miles, and every three hours to make sure cargo is not shifting or sliding in such a way that it could present a hazard. Anytime unsecured cargo or an unsecured load causes personal injuries, ask our Hialeah trucking accident lawyer how we can help
- Inclement Weather – Truck drivers must use “extreme caution” during inclement weather to avoid the risk of collisions. This includes during fog, heavy rain, storms, or other adverse conditions. If a truck driver cannot safely proceed, he or she must slow down or stop until it is safe to resume operation without risking other motorists on the roadway. Ask our lawyer what a truck driver’s obligations were if you were injured in an 18 wheeler wreck during a storm or inclement weather
- Tire Blowouts – Truck drivers and trucking companies have specific requirements regarding tires that they must follow . This includes ensuring commercial vehicle tires do not have any body ply or belt material exposed, there is no tread or sidewall separation, the tire is not flat or has an audible leak, or there are no cuts to the extent that the ply or belt material is exposed. If a tire blowout causes a deadly 18 wheeler accident, these regulations could be used to protect the rights of victims. Ask our lawyer how to prove liability
What to Do After a Florida Trucking Accident
There are several steps to take after a trucking accident that could protect your rights to compensation. Our lawyer shares some of the most important steps to help support your claim:
- Call the Police for Help – even if you think it was a minor impact, always get the police to come and document the crash. There may be factors that you are not aware of that police could assess and help establish to prove your case. Other times just having police present to generate an official report can help protect your claim. This is especially true in trucking accidents because some injuries like head, back, or neck injuries may take days to develop symptoms that may require surgery. Police reports and investigations can help support our lawyer with your claim
- Get Medical Help – even if you have minor injuries, get medical treatment. If EMS arrives and thinks you should go to the hospital, you should go. This is no time to be a hero. Some serious injuries may take hours, days, weeks, or months to appear. Having medical treatment ensures that you document your injuries and you are evaluated immediately. This could also save your life if you have brain bleeds or organ damage which is not obvious at the scene but could be detected and quickly treated at a hospital. Our lawyer always recommends getting medical treatment in any type of collision
- If Possible, Take Photographs – you will want to get photographs or videos of the accident scene, the intersection, traffic signs, debris on the roadway, and your injuries. These injuries could be used to help prove your claim
- Get the Truck’s Information – make sure you get the information of the truck driver or trucking company at the accident scene. Most times police will do this for you, but make sure you get a separate copy for your lawyer. This includes getting any numbers, logos, or markings on the truck, trailer, or cab, including the license plates. This will ensure that you can identify the actual vehicle and its components, as well as the truck driver, at a later point in time
- Get Witness Information – this includes police, EMS, and other first responders. You will want to know who to talk to later or who you may need at the time of trial. These first responders can provide critical information in affidavits or reports to help your case
- Call Schlacter Law Before Calling Insurance – you need to immediately let your insurance company know of a motor vehicle accident, but whatever you say could hurt your claim—even if you are talking to just your insurance company. Also, have our experienced Hialeah trucking accident lawyer help contact your insurance company and start handling your claim. Not only can we help you with the personal injury side, but we can get your no-fault claim started the right way so none of that information could be used against you
Hire Schlacter Law for Florida Trucking Accidents
Our experienced Hialeah trucking accident lawyer can help protect your rights if you have been seriously injured or wrongfully killed in a Florida 18 wheeler wreck. We work with industry-leading experts to help prove your claim against negligent truck drivers or trucking companies. We will use FMCSA violations as a sword against negligent truckers to ensure that they pay the compensation that you deserve. If you have been seriously injured or if you lost a loved one due to the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company, call Schlacter Law by dialing (305) 999-1111 for a FREE consultation to learn how our lawyer can protect your rights today.
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
How long do I have to file a trucking accident lawsuit in Florida?
Four years from the date of the 18 wheeler accident. This is known as the statute of limitations period. This is a time limit on how long you have to file your lawsuit. If you file a lawsuit outside of the four-year time limit, your lawsuit may be automatically dismissed. While there may be some extensions or “tolls” to this time period, there may also be some instances where the time period is shortened. Always ask our big rig accident lawyer for help to ensure that you timely file a lawsuit.
What compensation may I be entitled to in a trucking accident lawsuit?
Victims of a Florida big rig accidents may be entitled to various types of relief. This relief is typically monetary compensation and includes the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Lost future earnings if unable to work in the same job field
- Loss of consortium with loved ones
- Future medical expenses such as surgery, physical therapy, or other treatment
- Medication expenses
- Modifications to a home or vehicle
- For wrongful death cases burial costs and funeral expenses, and
- Any other damages which are related to a truck accident case that our lawyer may be able to acquire for you
How much does a trucking accident lawyer cost?
Schlacter Law does not cost anything upfront. This is because our lawyer accepts cases on a contingency fee basis which means we get a percentage of what we recover for you in a settlement or award. We only get paid once we recover money for you. This means there is no risk to having our law firm represent you.