Truck drivers are required to go through a rigorous licensing process and carry a commercial driver’s license that indicates their mastery of the skills necessary to operate massive vehicles such as passenger buses, semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other commercial vehicles. In addition to their commercial license, a truck driver will need to carry a range of certifications depending on the type of cargo they wish to transport, the type of vehicle they can operate, and more. These requirements and licensing restrictions may seem like they are over the top, but they play a major factor in why you are able to pull out onto the open road each day and not be constantly in fear of an accident with a reckless, irresponsible, or inexperienced truck driver making dangerous maneuvers in an enormous vehicle.
However, no amount of licensing or certifications will ever 100% guarantee that a driver won’t cause an accident, and you may find yourself involved in a serious collision with a commercial truck that can cause serious, even fatal, injuries. Even at low speeds, a collision that would be considered a minor fender bender between two passenger vehicles can be catastrophic when there is such a major discrepancy in the size of a passenger vehicle and a truck. What may have resulted in some scratched paint can cause a serious, life-long personal injury for the people in the smaller vehicle, even while the Fort Lauderdale truck driver walks away completely unscathed.
Contact Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC As Soon As Possible For a Free Initial Consultation
After a Broward County or Fort Lauderdale truck accident, it can be difficult to know where to turn to get the support you need. Truck accidents are traumatic, dangerous, and often damaging, and when you are trying to focus on recovering from your experience, you should not need to go through the insurance process on your own. This is where a Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer comes in, and why working with Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC can be one of the best decisions that you make throughout this process.
Our firm offers a free initial consultation with a truck accident attorney for personal injury victims because we think it is extremely important that anyone hurt in a truck accident— or other accident that someone else caused— knows that there is someone out there who can help. Our years of experience as truck accident lawyers will come in handy as we take on a commercial insurance company on your behalf while you focus on your recovery. Our history of successful cases involving truck accidents should indicate the level of support that you will get as our valued client.
Read more below about truck accidents, and contact us as soon as possible to get the legal support that you need and deserve to fight for a fair settlement – not just a settlement amount that the insurance company wants to pay. Working with our Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyers is one of the best ways to work towards the resolution you deserve.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
If you have been in a Fort Lauderdale truck accident, it may be caused by one of the following common causes. Whether or not your injuries resulted from any of the examples below, contact our firm as soon as possible to speak with a truck accident lawyer about your case, your options, and how we are here to help.
Fatigued Truck Drivers
The average private individual drives nearly 14,000 miles each year, which breaks down to roughly 270 miles each week. That seems like a lot until you compare it to the average long-haul trucker who drives 100,000 or more each year. If you have ever spent an hour in traffic and felt yourself getting drowsy, it can be easy to understand why fatigue is a serious problem for truck drivers and a threat to everyone sharing the road with a tired trucker. This is one reason why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets strict hours of service that dictate the hours that a driver can spend on the road.
Even if a truck driver is completely diligent and follows the hours of service while operating their commercial truck, they may still be tired in the same way that we have all been tired at work because of our private lives. Regardless of why the driver was tired, if they caused an accident due to being fatigued then you, as the victim, are entitled to compensation.
Drunk or Drugged Driving
The legal blood alcohol content while operating a passenger vehicle is .08, but for a CDL driver on the job, their legal limit is .04. This is meant to account for the additional complications that come with operating such a massive vehicle and the danger that intoxicated driving poses to all others on the road. However, this is not always an effective deterrent, and a driver may decide to get behind the wheel after consuming alcoholic beverages or other mind-altering substances. If a driver had a night of heavy drinking, they might still be intoxicated in the morning when they head back out onto the road.
If you suspect that the driver you were in a truck accident with is intoxicated, it is important that you tell the 911 operator of your suspicions if you are the one that calls. It is even more essential that you tell the police officer who arrives at the scene of the accident. Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is unacceptable, whether driving professionally or personally.
When a driver is making a delivery on a tight schedule set by the trucking company, or if a driver is compensated based on the number of deliveries that they make, there is an incentive to drive faster in order to make room for more work within the hours of operation. However, driving a massive vehicle at high speeds is dangerous and can have serious consequences like wear and tear that can lead to blowouts, brake failures that can lead to rear-end collisions, jackknife accidents, and more. All of these examples can increase the risk of an accident.
In many instances, modern trucks are equipped with a range of recording equipment such as cameras and data logs which may also record things like speed, hours traveled, and more. If you think that speed played a factor in your Fort Lauderdale truck accident, tell the police at the scene, and let your truck accident lawyer work to prove this angle.
Improper Maintenance and Mechanical Failures
If you consider the amount of maintenance that your personal vehicle requires over the course of a year, imagine how much more maintenance a semi-truck or tractor-trailer requires when driving anywhere between 4x and 10x the distance each year while hauling heavy loads. 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, and other commercial trucks are complex vehicles that may have anywhere between 9 and 18 gears, as opposed to most passenger vehicles having between 4 and 6. They also have more than 4 times as many tires when the vehicle is hauling a trailer. Commercial trucks require routine diligent work to ensure that the risk of an accident in Broward County is reduced.
Your truck accident may be the result of improper semi-truck maintenance, but truck drivers and trucking companies are required to maintain extensive logs about all work done to the vehicle, meaning that we will be able to establish this fact with relative ease in many cases. Depending on whether the trucking company or truck driver is responsible for maintenance, we will determine who is ultimately liable to pay for your damages.
Improperly Loaded Cargo
Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyers know to look at the nature of the cargo that was being hauled when fighting for compensation for their clients’ injuries. That is because an avoidable accident can be caused by things like shifting cargo, improper loading and storage, and impacts on the vehicle’s center of gravity. In some instances, the driver or their trucking company may not actually be responsible for loading the trailer’s contents because they may simply be handling transport between one warehouse and another.
Depending on who was responsible for loading the cargo, we will need to explore these responsibilities before pursuing damages for your injuries. If it is determined that your accident was caused by improperly loaded cargo, we will file a personal injury claim with the responsible party.
Many truck accidents, like all vehicle accidents, are the result of distracted driving of some sort. Since the advent of the smartphone, texting and driving is nearly synonymous with distracted driving, but while using a phone on the road is one example, many other behaviors can lead to an accident. Simply put, distracted driving is any time when a driver takes their eyes or mind off the road or their hands off of the wheel.
Proving some types of distracted driving can be more difficult than others, especially if the driver is guilty of a mental distraction such as just letting their mind wander. However, we can prove that the accident was their fault whether or not we can prove that they were thinking about last night’s game or what they will have for dinner tonight, which doesn’t exactly show up as a provable data point in a truck accident.
Seeking Compensation For Personal Injury Damages
One of the most important questions of any truck accident resulting in injuries is that of damages and compensation: how much is the victim owed? Truck accident lawyers have extensive experience with calculating these damages and negotiating fair settlements with insurance companies. There is often a wide gap between the amount that a victim is owed and the amount that an insurance company is willing to offer as a settlement.
Economic damages are the most straightforward to calculate after a personal injury such as a truck accident, simply because they seek compensation for all damages that have a measurable dollar value. They include the most obvious impacts, such as your medical bills and lost wages, but they go beyond these to include things like services that you may need to hire that you would have otherwise performed yourself. There are also long-term impacts to your income that may include diminished earning capacity and even employment retraining if you are unable to return to your former work. In the event of a wrongful death caused by a truck accident, the surviving family members may be entitled to long-term lost wages and other financial contributions from the deceased.
These damages are recovered as 1:1, meaning that a truck accident attorney, Florida or elsewhere, will not seek compensation above the actual losses that you are able to prove. If you have suffered from $100,000 of economic damages, you will seek $100,000 of compensation.
Non-economic damages are more complicated to calculate in personal injury cases because they seek compensation for abstract impacts of your accident, such as the pain and suffering you endured as a result of your injuries. They also concern other emotional impacts that you have endured, such as depression, anxiety, or a loss of enjoyment in your life. As you can imagine, insurance companies are much more inclined to push back aggressively on compensating these damages simply because it is impossible for you to prove the extent of things like emotional injuries, pain and suffering, and other subjective impacts.
However, our team at Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC has a range of tools at our disposal intended to prove, quantify, and negotiate fair compensation for these injuries, which are no less important than your economic damages. Wrongful death cases result in a number of additional non-economic damages, each of which your truck accident lawyer will work to calculate and quantify before seeking fair compensation through the trucking company or driver’s insurance.
Contact Us Now To Connect With a Truck Accident Attorney
After an accident, you deserve to work with a personal accident lawyer who will fight to get you the money you rightfully deserve. The team at Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC is here to talk through the details of your accident during a free initial consultation and is prepared to help you fight for the money you deserve. Contact us as soon as possible to get the legal support you need to navigate this complicated process with ease.