Truck Accident Lawyer in Pembroke Pines
There are over 273 million registered motor vehicles in the United States. With around 17 million new vehicles sold each year, the United States is only outpaced by China in automobile sales. It’s not surprising that with so many vehicles on the road, there is an average of 6 million accidents each year, resulting in over 3 million injuries.
Unfortunately, a large number of these accidents involve trucks. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety most accident deaths were passenger vehicle occupants that collided with a truck, with over 4,100 deaths in 2018 alone. Braking capabilities play a large role in these types of accidents, with trucks requiring an additional 20-40% of stopping distance than a passenger vehicle. Additionally, even with federal mandates regulating driving hours, long driving distances and tight schedules make fatigue another serious risk factor.
If you were in an accident with a truck and sustained an injury, the Pembroke Pines truck accident lawyers at Schlacter Law can help. We can help fight insurance companies to get you the compensation you need or file a lawsuit to hold the responsible party accountable. Call us today for a consultation.
Differences Between Passenger Vehicles and Trucks
Trucks pose unique dangers to the public due to their distinct design differences from passenger vehicles. Trucks are primarily used to transport goods and products and require the ability to carry large loads, making them far larger than other vehicles on the roads. Currently, federal law limits a truck’s gross vehicle weight to 80,000 pounds for a multiple axle vehicle and 20,000 pounds for a single axle truck. In general, passenger vehicles are significantly smaller, maxing out at around 5,000 pounds. This weight disparity contributes greatly to the number of deaths and injuries that occur in accidents with trucks in Pembroke Pines.
Due to the weight of a large truck, the distance needed to stop one from normal highway speeds increases by 20-40%. When traffic jams or other accidents occur, this gives truck drivers significantly less time to brake and slow their vehicles down. Any passenger vehicles in their path can easily be rear-ended. Poor weather such as rain and snow can further increase the distance required to stop, creating an even more dangerous situation.
Driver fatigue is often a contributing factor in truck accidents as well. Unlike the average passenger vehicle driver, truck drivers are often required to drive long distances and remain behind the wheel for hours at a time. Federal law limits the number of hours a CDL driver is allowed to operate their vehicle. However, these limits are often overlooked, ignored, or poorly monitored.
Unlike passenger vehicles, truck drivers require additional training and must pass a series of exams to receive a CDL license. A CDL license allows a driver to operate different types of trucks, with different classifications dictating the type of vehicle they are allowed to operate. There are three license classifications in Florida:
- Class A
- Class B
- Class C
A class A license allows a driver to operate a truck up to 26,0001 pounds and tow a trailer larger than 10,000 pounds. A class B license allows an operator to drive a vehicle over 26,001 pounds and a class C license allows a driver to transport hazardous material in addition to vehicles over 26,001 pounds. A class C license is also required for vehicles less than 26,001 but transports 15 or more passengers.
These additional licenses help ensure that a truck driver was sufficiently trained to drive their vehicle and successfully passed a written test and a driving skills test. If a driver is unable to pass these exams they would be unable to obtain a CDL license. This license can also be revoked if several serious traffic offenses occur within three years.
Trucks are unique vehicles on our roads. Due to their size and inherent dangers, it is important that their drivers are competent and qualified. If you were in an accident with a truck you may be able to receive compensation for any injuries. Call a Pembroke Pines truck accident attorney today for assistance in evaluating a claim.
What to do After Accident in Pembroke Pines
It is important following an accident to ensure that you:
- Seek medical assistance
- File a police report
- Exchange driver information
- Recall what lead to the accident
- Document the damage
- Speak with a lawyer
Immediately following an accident be sure to seek medical assistance if necessary. Even if you suspect you or your passengers weren’t injured, it is recommended to get an evaluation by a trained medical professional. Often what appears to be a minor injury could turn out to be something more serious than anticipated. Additionally, cuts and lacerations can become infected if left untreated. If the accident was serious and you suspect you were seriously injured be sure not to exit the vehicle and let fire and medical professionals assess your condition before exiting.
Once you are certain you and your passengers are alright, be sure to check on the driver of the other vehicle. If the other driver is in need of medical assistance, call 911 immediately and wait until assistance arrives. Do not leave the scene of the accident, as leaving the scene of an accident can be a crime in Florida.
Even if medical assistance isn’t required, you should still call 911 to report the accident. In most cases, the Pembroke Pines police will arrive on the scene. If you suspect the other driver was at fault be sure to have the police file a report. This information may be useful for a Pembroke Pines truck crash lawyer later in the process.
Exchanging driver information is essential for potentially receiving compensation. Write down the driver’s name and address and if possible, photograph their driver’s license using your cellphone. Take note if the driver has any additional CDL endorsements on their license. Additionally, be sure to exchange insurance policy information, taking note of the insurance company, and the name of the insured. Often the insurance is in the name of the trucking company and not the driver. Knowing who the responsible party under the insurance policy is important information that a lawyer may find useful throughout the legal process.
Following the accident, you should record your side of events to be able to recall them later. Write down the traffic conditions just prior to the accident, as well as weather conditions, witnesses, and the names of any other passengers involved in the accident. Over time our memories can fade and it is essential to write down these details now so they can be recalled at a later time.
Any damage that was done to both vehicles should be noted. Again, a cell phone camera can come in handy. Be sure to photograph all areas of your car, as well as any damage done to the truck. Additionally, remember to photograph the truck’s license plate number.
Before leaving the scene of an accident make sure your vehicle is safe to operate. If not, have it towed to a shop that can make the appropriate repairs. If you are able to leave the accident scene it is important to contact your own insurance company to let them know that the accident occurred.
Particularly in cases where the other driver was at fault, a truck injury lawyer can help. Before contacting the other driver’s insurance company, a truck accident lawyer can ensure that any conversation sticks to the facts and only gives information pertinent to the accident. Additionally, a Pembroke Pines truck accident lawyer can negotiate with an insurance carrier to ensure that any settlement agreement provides the appropriate amount of compensation.
What if I was partially at fault?
Florida is considered a comparative negligence state. This allows a plaintiff to receive some compensation even if they were partly to blame for an accident. Under this doctrine, the amount of compensation available to the plaintiff would be reduced based on the percentage of blame attributed to them.
For example, if compensation for an accident would have been $100,000, but the court found that the plaintiff was 30% responsible for the accident, the award for compensation would be reduced by 30%, or $30,000. This would mean a plaintiff would still receive $70,000 in compensation.
Some other states do not follow comparative negligence, and instead, follow the doctrine of contributory negligence. Contributory negligence would bar a plaintiff from any recovery at all if they were even partially at fault for an accident. Fortunately, Florida does not follow this doctrine.
Since Florida does not bar compensation when a plaintiff is partially at fault, it is important to consult a semi-truck lawyer in Pembroke Pine. With years of experience understanding the details involved in truck accident cases and the types of compensation available, the Pembroke Pines truck accident law firm of Schlacter Law can help you get the compensation you need. 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
How long do I have before I have to file a lawsuit?
Filing a claim does not have to happen immediately following an accident. However, Florida’s statute of limitations does require a personal injury negligence lawsuit to be filed within four years from when the accident occurred for negligence lawsuits. Failing to file within the statute of limitations could result in the case being dismissed and you can miss out on potential compensation.
What if I contributed to my injuries?
Even if you were somewhat at fault you might still be able to seek compensation. By applying comparative negligence, any compensation you would ordinarily receive would be reduced by any percentage a court attributes to your fault. Luckily, this doesn’t completely bar compensation, but could greatly reduce the amount. Talk to a Pembroke Pines attorney today to help determine how much compensation might be available.
How much compensation can I expect?
Without discussing the circumstances that led to your accident there is no way of determining the amount of compensation you might expect. Compensation looks at various forms of damages to calculate the total dollar amount attributed to your injuries. This might include medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, property damage, and any other known or unknown costs. To help determine how much money you might be entitled to call us today.