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Tractor-trailers serve a vital logistical role in our economy, but they also pose a serious risk to others using roadways in Florida and throughout the nation.  While many trucking collisions are the result of driver fatigue, drug impairment, and illness or unsafe driving by a commercial driver, defective vehicle components and poor vehicle maintenance also contribute to a significant number of trucking accidents.  Although the braking system of any vehicle constitutes an indispensable safety feature, faulty brakes constitute an even more serious issue when the vehicle is a forty ton fully loaded tractor-trailer combination.  If you are injured or you lose someone you love in a trucking accident caused by shoddy vehicle maintenance or defective brakes, you might have a right to financial compensation.  This blog post discusses issues that may be relevant to Florida personal injury lawsuits arising out of crashes involving big-rigs caused by unsafe components or shoddy maintenance.

Duty to Conduct Safety Inspections & Maintenance

Federal law imposes a duty on commercial carriers and truck drivers to conduct regular inspections and vehicle maintenance.  This duty includes inspecting the brake system and component parts prior to embarking on a run.  This inspection can involve checking for loose hoses, cracks in air disc brake rotors, hoses with leaks, damaged brake lining, and other potential brake problems.  When inspections and necessary maintenance are not performed as required, the result can be an 80,000 pound tractor-trailer running out of control down an unsafe grade.  While federal regulations specify that commercial carriers which are engaged in interstate commerce must satisfy inspection and maintenance regulations related to multiple vehicle systems and features, brake inspection and repair regulations are especially important.

Impact of Vehicle Loads

The proper loading of large commercial trucks can play a significant role in causing a dangerous crash.  Weight limits are imposed on big-rigs to mitigate the risk of brake failure.  Excessive loads can cause brakes to overheat or result in excessive brake wear, so brake performance is compromised.  The brakes also must be serviced within a shorter period of time to avoid crashes related to deterioration of brake system components.  Improperly secured or distributed loads can also compromise brake performance and result in uneven wear because the load is unbalanced.  Compliance with federal regulations regarding weight limits for cargo and loaded tractor-trailers is critical to preventing collisions caused by brake failure.

Disregarding Warning Signs

Large commercial trucks are equipped with anti-lock brake systems (ABS) which include warning lights on the dashboard of the big-rig.  The warning light is designed to put a driver on notice that there is a potential maintenance or safety issue regarding the brake system.  The truck driver or commercial carrier can check the “fault code” to identify the precise mechanical issue, so the vehicle can be properly maintenance by the commercial carrier or an independent repair facility.  When a truck driver or trucking company ignores ABS warning lights or other signs that the brakes are not operating properly, this failure to inspect the potential brake problem can cause a fatal trucking accident.

Brake and Truck Manufacturers

Manufacturers of large trucks and brake components have a legal duty to avoid manufacturing, equipping, or selling defective brake components or vehicles.  This obligation includes the use of safe designs and proper monitoring during the manufacturing process to ensure that the final components are safe and function as reasonably anticipated.  Brake component manufacturers are expected to undertake proper quality control measures and perform adequate safety testing.  If a manufacturer later discovers that a component, brake system, or large truck is defective, the manufacturer has a duty to issue a recall and implement the recall in a timely fashion.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence 

If you have suffered serious injury or you have lost someone you love in a Florida tractor-trailer accident, our Miami Trucking Accident Lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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Our trucking accident attorneys in Miami recognize the importance of ensuring that commercial truck drivers are medically fit to operate tractor-trailers, which can weigh as much as 25 times more than a passenger car.  While federal law has long required medical certificates confirming that a truck driver is medically fit as a condition of keeping a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), this safety requirement offered limited comfort until recently because no significant standards were imposed for who could sign off on the driver’s fitness.  This month marks the one year anniversary of action by federal regulators to impose standards on who can certify a commercial driver as medically fit.

The benefits of this change in trucking safety regulations is worth revisiting because of the potential impact on roadway safety.  Until the recent change, drivers could seek medical certification from virtually any individual within the medical field including a nurse practitioner or chiropractor.  Further, there were no standards in terms of how the examination should be conducted nor what types of impairments or conditions should be found to disqualify a truck driver.

A 2008 congressional investigation revealed the even more troubling finding that a third of all medical certificates reviewed by law enforcement during vehicle stops could not be confirmed as authentic or accurate.  The person who signed off on the inspection either did not exist or would not confirm ever conducting an examination.  The process was so informal that there was nothing to prevent truck drivers from copying the name, contact information, and medical license number of a doctor off the web to falsify the form.  Since the forms were rarely verified, truck drivers could engage in this form of fraud with little risk of being detected.

The danger posed by having a truck driver on the road who suffered from a serious medical condition can hardly be understated.  Because of the average age of truck drivers and the amount of time they spend engaged in the sedentary activity of driving, there is a high prevalence of obesity-related health conditions in the trucking industry, such as sleep apnea and diabetes, which can render a truck driver unconscious.  A University of Pennsylvania study found that 28 percent of truck drivers suffer from sleep apnea. The seriousness of the problem was revealed by the fact that the congressional investigation referenced above found that 560,000 truck drivers were receiving full medical disability benefits.

Prior to May of last year, there was no electronic data base where the certificates could be reviewed, so law enforcement officers were required to rely on paper forms produced by the truck driver.  The lack of a computerized system left law enforcement officers without a way to verify that the medical certification was valid.  Even if an officer attempted to contact the doctor who signed the certificate, medical privacy laws prevented the medical professional from disclosing information about the driver’s medical condition without a signed waiver.

Fortunately, recently implemented changes have targeted medically unfit truck drivers.  In December 2008, a federal law was passed requiring all states to merge medical certificates and commercial driver’s licenses into a single electronic record for each driver, but states were given three years to comply with this requirement.

Arguably, the most significant change was implemented in May of 2014 when drivers were compelled to have their medical examination performed by a qualified health professional listed with the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.  The law imposed standards for training and testing on medical professionals seeking to qualify for the registry.  The US DOT medical examination was also defined to include health conditions that affect driver safety related to respiratory and muscular functions, vision, hearing and cardiovascular disease.  Because the prospect of an 80,000 pound tractor-trailer combination being driven by a physically impaired driver is a terrifying prospect, these changes were a welcome change in roadway safety.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence 

If you have been injured in a trucking collision, the Miami Trucking Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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Semi-truck accidents typically are more complicated than “typical collisions,” with only passenger cars.  The special factual and legal issues that affect trucking litigation make it important that injury victims seek legal advice and representation from an experienced Miami trucking accident lawyer.  While the most obvious factual difference between trucking collisions and “typical car crashes” is that they involve a forty ton vehicle, trucking collisions are not just “car crashes with a very large vehicle.”  Trucking accident injury claims often involve special state and federal regulations, preservation of evidence issues, and multiple defendants.

The Trucking Industry Is Subject to Extensive State and Federal Regulation

Commercial carriers and their truck drivers are subject to extensive regulations designed to mitigate the risk of accidents that cause catastrophic injuries and deaths.  When large trucks operate across state lines, which is referred to as “interstate trucking,” the vehicle, driver, and commercial carrier are governed by federal law.  While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal agency with primary responsibility for regulating interstate trucking, other applicable federal laws and regulations also establish rules and standards to make our roadways safer.  Vehicles engaged exclusively in operations within the state, which is referred to as “intrastate trucking,” generally are governed by state law.

Tractor-trailer operators, semi-truck owners and big-rig manufacturers must comply with a vast array of regulations.  Many of these regulations are designed to safeguard the public from the inherent risks posed by an 80,000 pound tractor-trailer sharing the road with much smaller vehicles.  Examples of commercial driver, semi-truck manufacturer, and trucking company conduct that is regulated include:

  • Mandatory drug and alcohol testing (random testing for intoxicating substances)
  • Anti-fatigue measures [referred to as “hours or service” (HOS) rules]
  • Maximum weight and length of a large truck
  • Quality control in manufacturing (such as standards for brake system performance)
  • Requiring routine maintenance and inspection (includes pre-trip and post-trip inspections)
  • Certification of medical fitness of truck drivers
  • Record keeping including driver logbooks, maintenance records, etc.
  • Mandatory pre-hiring background investigations
  • Commercial licensing requirements
  • Proper loading and securing of loads on semi-trucks
  • Special Insurance Requirements

While these are only a handful of the regulations that trucking companies, vehicle manufacturers and commercial carriers must satisfy, failure to comply with any of these rules contributes to a fair number of trucking collisions.  When a trucking accident occurs, the trucking company, commercial driver, and/or the semi-truck manufacturer will typically have violated one or more trucking regulations.  These violations typically constitute a critical factor in proving liability in a personal injury lawsuit arising out of trucking accident injuries or fatalities.

Another important area of insurance industry regulation involves minimum insurance requirements.  The minimum insurance coverage that must be carried by owners and operators of tractor-trailers is substantially higher than for drivers of passenger vehicles.  This means that there usually will be more available funds to pay a jury verdict in a trucking case.  Since settlement discussions in a motor vehicle litigation usually are circumscribed by available insurance limits, trucking lawsuits will tend to settle for more than a “typical car accident.”

Avoiding the Loss of Critical Evidence in Trucking Litigation

The trucking industry is notorious for “spoliation of evidence” issues.  This term refers to a party destroying or altering evidence that is the subject of pending litigation.  A common example includes repairing physical damage to a semi-truck, which often results in loss of pre-accident data stored on the truck’s “black box,” which might be critical to proving how an accident occurred.  When this happens, an accident reconstruction expert loses the ability to evaluate body damage on the big-rig and information about sudden braking, speed, and other factors relevant to a collision.

Our experienced Miami trucking accident lawyers understand the importance of acting promptly to ensure that vital evidence is not distorted or destroyed.  This may include sending a “spoliation letter” to the trucking company that indicates the truck is the subject of pending litigation, so it must be maintained in its post-crash condition.  If the trucking company ignores our notice regarding spoliation, the judge can impose monetary sanctions or sanctions that impair the trucking company’s position in a lawsuit.  In certain cases, our lawyers might even file for an injunction that prohibits repair of the truck, destruction of data in the “black box” data recorder, or other evidence.

Because evidence relevant to a trucking accident might be fabricated or manipulated, our trucking litigation attorneys seek evidence to expose such gamesmanship by trucking companies.  The use of the discovery process to obtain lodging receipts, fuel charges, tire maintenance records, email correspondence, dining checks, “black box” data, and other documents, for example, can be used to expose false or misleading driver logbook records regarding hours of service.

Multiple Defendants in Trucking Litigation – A Good News, Bad News Proposition

Trucking accident personal injury lawsuits often involve multiple defendants, which might include the trucking company, truck driver, company that loaded the truck, vehicle manufacturer, independent maintenance company, and others.  If a truck driver is taking prescription pain pills and a trucking company allows him to drive with knowledge he is taking the pills in a truck fitted with defective tires, this scenario may mean multiple parties have some financial liability.  The involvement of multiple defendants, who might all attempt to shift blame to another party, increases the complexity of litigation in a trucking accident case.  However, the presence of multiple parties also means that there might be more available sources to satisfy a judgment.

When multiple defendants are involved in a trucking lawsuit, this can make the process of reaching a settlement more difficult.  The defendants might elect to proceed to trial, so the court can determine the proportion of fault that should be allocated to each defendant.  However, an injury victim can settle with one of the defendants prior to trial, and then proceed to trial against the other defendants who can be found responsible for the balance of the damages awarded at trial.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence 

If you or a close family member suffers a serious injury or you lose someone you love in a tractor-trailer collision, our Miami Semi-Truck Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

 

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When vehicles weighing thousands of pounds and traveling at freeway speeds collide, the result can by significant injuries and fatalities.  The danger increases when one of the vehicles is an 80,000 pound fully loaded tractor-trailer.  When the driver of the forty ton big-rig is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, our Miami truck accident lawyers know how the risk of a traffic fatality rises to alarming levels. Despite this frightening prospect, commercial drivers do opt to use drugs to cope with pressures at home, boredom of the road, and fatigue behind the wheel.  Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) continues to regulate the trucking industry by imposing screening procedures that target intoxicating substances, the threat of impaired truck drivers has not disappeared.

The magnitude of the problem is reflected by the continued priority that the federal government places on drug testing operators or tractor-trailers.  While federal safety regulators impose random drug testing on many in people in the transportation industry, the level of testing by the FMCSA exceeds similar testing by the Federal Aviation Commission, Federal Railroad Administration, and other agencies under the auspices of the Department of Transportation.

The FMCSA has indicated that random drug sampling in 2015 will continue at the same 50 percent rate as last year.  This level of testing requires trucking companies to perform one random drug test for every two drivers.  If the trucking company employs 250 drivers, for example, the company will be required to administer 125 random drug tests during 2015.  This fifty percent standard is double that set by the federal government for most other transportation agencies for 2015, which include the following: Federal Aviation Commission, Federal Transit Authority, United States Coast Guard, Federal Railroad Administration and the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

A worldwide study of the use of intoxicating substances by truck drivers that was published in the Occupation and Environmental Journal was noted by the FMCSA in comments to Reuters, “Safety is our number one priority and FMCSA has strict requirement on pre-employment screening and random and post-accident drug and alcohol testing….”

The study also found that certain truck drivers were more likely to be prone to test positive for drugs or alcohol.  Offending drivers were more typically young and inexperienced.  They were also prone to working nighttime shifts and longer routes.  The companies that employed these drivers also tended to be small to medium firms as opposed to large trucking companies.  The authors of the study speculated that perhaps larger trucking companies can provide higher salaries and better working conditions.  They also speculated that larger trucking companies might be less prone to demand longer driving times and short rest periods which provide a motivation to use amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana and other controlled substances that fight stress, fatigue and boredom.

Despite federal regulations that mandate screening for intoxicating substances and random drug testing, trucking companies that disobey these requirements continue to permit drug impaired truck drivers to navigate our roadways.  If you or your love one is injured by a drug impaired truck driver, you may have a legal claim for damages against the negligent truck driver and/or an indifferent trucking company which fails to conduct required screening, report infractions, and implement appropriate disciplinary actions.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence 

If you have been injured in a crash caused by a drugged truck driver, the Miami Personal Injury Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

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If you have been injured in a truck accident, your case will require skilled handling and experienced investigations.  When trucks collide with cars in Florida, serious injuries and death are the common outcome due to the immense size and weight of the tractor trailers involved.  The victims of these accidents will require considerable compensation to cover the many damages they sustain in the accident, often including considerable medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Truck accident investigations are more complex than car accident investigations and will require the search for evidence that many laypeople do not know even exists.  Some critical evidence includes:

Driver’s Logs

            Federal regulations require that trucking companies maintain records on each driver, known as the driver’s log.  This log will include information as to the driver’s duty status, route, and the number of hours he or she has been on duty.

Federal laws limit the number of maximum hours that a truck driver can spend on duty.  They also mandate certain break times.  All of this information will be in the driver’s logs.  Your attorney will be able to review the logs to uncover whether the driver complied with the federal and state hours of service requirements.

Sometimes, a truck driver will exceed the hours of service requirements and falsify their log books.  A resourceful attorney can uncover whether falsification took place by checking lading records, time stamps on gas receipts, traffic cameras, and other evidence.  If the driver exceeded the hours of service requirements, this could prove critical to your case in establishing the truck driver’s negligence, as well as potential liability on the trucking company that allowed the driver to exceed federal regulations.

The Driver Qualification File

            Many truck accident victims will have a claim against not just the at-fault driver, but the trucking company as well. All trucking companies are required to maintain a Driver Qualification File per Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.  This file contains information critical to your case, including:

  • Driving records that will include any other accidents the driver has been involved in
  • Employment applications
  • Road test results
  • Valid commercial and other licenses
  • The driver’s employment history
  • Alcohol and blood test results
  • Vehicle maintenance records

Your attorney will seek this file and examine the information found within it in order to uncover evidence of liability.

Black Box Evidence

            Commercial trucks are outfitted with what is called a black box.  The black box contains vital data that can provide insight into the cause of the accident, including:

  • Speed at which the truck was traveling at the time of the accident
  • Sudden braking
  • Changes in the engine’s RPMs
  • Gear shifts
  • Location

Your attorney will ensure this evidence is preserved and carefully extracted as it could prove crucial to your case.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Gathering the Evidence Vital to Your Case’s Success  

            With over 130 collective years of experience representing truck accident victims, the Miami Truck Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. understands what it takes to mount a successful truck accident case.  Our firm will aggressively seek to uncover all evidence of negligence and liability on the part of the at-fault driver and trucking company.  Our attorneys will then zealously fight to see that you obtain compensation for all of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our unmatched legal excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

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If you have been injured in a truck accident, you should begin by immediately seeking medical attention so that you can ensure your physical injuries are treated and your potential legal rights protected.  Your next important step will be hiring an experienced truck accident attorney with an understanding of the complex field of truck accident law.

The following is an outline of some general steps a Miami truck accident attorney should take during your personal injury case.  This is intended as a reference and you may ask your attorney whether these steps are being taken.  It is important to note that every case is different and the exact steps taken by your attorney may vary.

Are Truck Accident Lawsuits Different than Car Accident Lawsuits?

            Truck accident actions vary significantly from car accident suits in several ways.  First, the trucking industry is regulated by numerous federal laws.  These laws dictate everything from minimum insurance requirements to mandatory drive hours.  It is critical that your attorney has specific experience in truck accident law for this reason alone.

Gathering Evidence

When you retain your truck accident attorney, one of the first steps he or she will take is to preserve the evidence.  This is undertaken by filing the lawsuit so that the court’s protections will apply.  Next, the attorney should send of “preservation letters,” or your jurisdiction’s equivalent, to the defendant(s).  These letters require the parties to preserve relevant evidence until the close of the potential civil trial. This is imperative because trucking companies may destroy vital evidence, including black box data.  Should the evidence disappear, you will preserve the right to a spoliation claim by having requested the evidence be preserved.

All evidence must be gathered in order to identify all defendants and establish liability.  In some cases, it may be necessary to secure the truck itself because otherwise the truck could be moved and evidence damaged. In other cases, your attorney will attempt to immediately locate the truck so that evidence cannot be manipulated.  The truck’s black box data is some of the most important evidence that can make or break your case.  All steps need to be taken to preserve and retrieve this data.

Handling the Insurer for You

            One of the next steps your attorney will take is creating a policy by which the law firm handles all communication with the insurance company.  The truck accident victim should not discuss the accident with the insurer, sign any documents, or make any statements.  By putting the attorney in charge, the chances of an accidental misstatement being made are far fewer.  Further, your attorney will be in the best position to fight for your maximum recovery.  It is vital to remember that the insurance company does not have your best interests at heart, but your attorney always will.         

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Effective Representation for the Victims of Truck Accidents in Miami and Beyond

            The Miami Truck Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. have assisted countless truck accident victims for over 130 collective years. Our firm has an unmatched grasp on the vital steps you must take to win any truck accident case.  Our attorneys will zealously fight to see that you obtain compensation for all of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our dedication to legal excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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Tailgating truck accidents are a common cause of serious injury or death across the United States.  Tailgating involves truckers following too close behind a vehicle ahead, a dangerous behavior that significantly increases the risk of a truck accident.  Tailgating is a hazardous behavior for any vehicle driver, but extremely dangerous when trucks are involved due to the immense size, weight and length of commercial trucks.

The drivers of semi trucks, 18 wheelers, tractor trailers and other commercial trucks must exercise extreme caution.  Truck drivers must follow all state as well as federal safety regulations Unfortunately, drivers do not always follow necessary rules and regulations, which often leads to serious accidents and injuries.

18 Wheeler Accidents and Tailgating          

            Anytime a truck driver tailgates a car, he or she is acting in an extremely negligent manner.  This negligent conduct can occur when:

  • Truck drivers follow too closely behind other vehicles in an effort to force cars to move aside so that the truck can pass;
  • Truck drivers tailgate other vehicles while driving on hilly roads and do not want to break for fear of losing their gained momentum; or
  • Truck drivers follow other trucks in order to form a vacuum with the truck ahead.

Greater Speed Increases a Truck’s Stopping Distance

            Studies show that tractor trailers traveling at 30 mph need about 100 feet to come to a full stop.  Doubling this speed does far more than doubling the stopping distance.  The stopping distance at 60 mph jumps to 426 feet.  Adding another five mph increases the stopping distance to an astonishing 525 feet.

Truck drivers that decide to tailgate other vehicles may underestimate the extreme dangers involved in such actions.  If the truck driver misjudges stopping distance, he or she may easily rear-end cars ahead.  These accidents lead to potentially serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, paralysis, and even death.

Liability In Rear-End Truck Accidents

            When a truck hits the vehicle ahead because it was not observing a safe following distance, the truck driver will almost certainly be found liable for the accident.  Your attorney will assess the accident and help you to understand potential liability in the case.  The trucking company’s insurer may attempt to shift liability to you by claiming you stopped short or without warning. Your attorney will need to contest these allegations and present your case for negligence strongly, which may be assisted by skid mark evidence, black box data, witness accounts, traffic cameras, and much more.  If you have been involved in a tailgating truck accident, contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Zealous Representation for the Victims of Truck Accidents Across South Florida

            When negligent truckers cause accidents due to tailgating, serious injuries and even death can result.  If you or a loved one is hurt or killed in a truck accident, the Miami Truck Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. can help. We offer the dedicated representation you need to obtain the compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our experienced attorneys have assisted truck accident victims across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for all of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our dedication to legal excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

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Obtaining black box data can prove essential in establishing your truck accident case.  In recent years, black box recorders have become standard in the industry as safety regulators continue to push for the use of these devices in an effort to improve safety in the national commercial trucking industry.  Black box devices are also known as electronic log systems or electronic data records.  They are now installed in trucks nationwide.

It is critical that your truck accident attorney in Miami obtain and download the truck’s black box data as soon as possible after the accidents.  The black box and the data contained within it can either make or break your case.

Black Box Recorders and Truck GPS

            Black box recorders usually come equipped with global positioning systems that provide the main source of information as to a truck’s journey.  This will establish the precise location of the truck at the time of the accident.

Black boxes offer important additional information about the truck, including truck driver performance, such as braking, speed, following distance, and number of hours driven, as well as vehicle maintenance like tire pressure. Some black boxes will also contain communications between the truck driver and trucking company.  Instances of hard braking, use of the clutch, and vehicle RPMS may also be found within the black box. All of this information can lead to monumental discoveries as to driver fatigue, exceeding hours, mechanical problems, and more.

Obtaining Black Box Data

            When any truck accident occurs involving serious injury or death, the truck accident attorney must send a preservation of evidence letter.  This is also referred to as a spoliation letter, which must be sent through certified mail to the trucking company, notifying the company that the black box data must be preserved and cannot be tampered with because it is required for later litigation.

The truck accident attorney will also need to employ a truck expert who will assist and watch as the black box data is downloaded.  If this is not possible, your attorney should, at the least, draft an agreement as to how, where, and by whom the evidence will be downloaded.  These steps are important to prevent any loss of information.

Newer trucks may have additional devices installed that are designed to monitor specific issues, such as driver fatigue, blind spot detection, rollover risks, and proximity to other vehicles.  To determine what information to subpoena, your attorney should request the truck’s build sheet which identifies all equipment installed in the truck at the time it was delivered from the manufacturer.  If your attorney is having difficulty obtaining the black box data, the next step will be filing suit immediately so that the court can assist in preserving this important evidence.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Aggressive Representation for the Victims of Truck Accidents Across the State  

            Truck accidents are among the most serious accidents to occur in Florida.  These accidents can result in serious injuries and even death.  If you or a loved one is hurt or killed in a truck accident, the Miami Truck Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. can help.  We offer the dedicated representation you need to obtain the compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our experienced attorneys have assisted truck accident victims across South Florida. We seek to obtain compensation for all of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our dedication to legal excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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A fatal tractor trailer accident in South Florida shut down the northbound lanes of the Sawgrass Expressway for hours on Thursday, April 16.  Sunrise Fire Rescue officials report that the tractor trailer rolled over and landed on top of the vehicle, crushing it at about 10:30 a.m. at the exit ramp to Pat Salermo Drive.  A fire quickly ignited, preventing fire and rescue crews from reaching the occupants of the car.  Sadly, the two car occupants perished in the accident.

Officials are reporting that the tractor trailer lost control.  It was driving northbound when it struck the rear right hand side of the car.  The tractor trailer than lost control and overturned onto the car, trapping the occupants inside as a fire ignited.

The driver of the tractor trailer was transported to Broward Health Medical Center in serious condition.  His injuries were not thought to be life threatening.  The tractor trailer was carrying fruits and other produce at the time of the accident.  Crews had to bring in a crane to remove the wreckage.  The deceased victims have yet to be identified and it took crews much of the day to clear the roadway enough to again allow traffic through.

Overturned Truck Accidents are Common and Serious

            In light of the above example, large trucks are highly susceptible to rollover accidents.  Their high center of gravity places trucks at risk of turning over in windy weather conditions, on curved ramps, and when turns become tight or the truck hits an obstacle, as in this recent Sawgrass Expressway accident.  Studies show that when trucks rollover, truck drivers as well as the drivers of any cars nearby are at serious risk of injury.

Many trucks traveling on Florida roadways are hauling hazardous materials that can turn a rollover accident deadly. When flammable substances are spilled onto the roadway in an accident, the likelihood of an explosion is grave.  Explosions stemming from overturned tractor trailers can kill not just the truck drivers but any car occupants in the surrounding area.

Truck Driver Negligence is the Leading Cause of Overturned Truck Accidents

It is imperative that all truck drivers adjust their driving due to the conditions of the road ahead.  If weather conditions dictate a driver travel at below the posted speed limit, they must observe this safety precaution.  At times, if it becomes too windy, it may even be necessary for truck drivers to pull off and wait to return to the road until it is safe to do so.

Unfortunately, due to delivery schedules and workplace pressures, far too many truckers rush to complete a route and end up being involved in an accident.  If you are injured in such an accident, consult with a truck accident attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Award Winning South Florida Truck Accident Attorneys

            If you have been injured in any sort of truck accident, allow the Miami Truck Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. to assist in your important case.  Our talented firm will fight to see that you obtain the recovery you deserve from the at-fault trucker or trucking company.  For over 130 collective years, our experienced attorneys have assisted truck accident victims across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for all of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our dedication to legal excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

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For the occupants of motor vehicles, a crash with a truck, especially a tractor trailer, can have serious and even fatal consequences.  Automobile drivers cannot always avoid an accident with a tractor trailer due to the inability to control the actions of the truck driver or his employer.  Truck driver fatigue, poor truck maintenance, driver substance abuse, and inadequate training, along with unrealistic delivery schedules, can all pay a role in tractor trailer accidents.  This leaves car occupants wondering what they can do to prevent a dangerous collision.

Fortunately, there are a number of defense driving techniques that automobile drivers can employ to significantly reduce their chance of being involved in a truck accident.  Our Miami truck accident lawyers have listed these driving techniques for you below:

  1. Recognize the operational limits of tractor trailers

It is vital that car operators understand the great differences between cars and trucks.  Tractor trailers do not have the same ability to maneuver in traffic that cars do.  Keep this in mind when you drive with trucks nearby.  Further, trucks take far longer to come to a complete stop than cars.  A car traveling at 55 miles per hour can stop within 265 feet, while a large truck may take over 315 feet to stop.

  1. Keep a distance between you and the truck

This goes for leading and following—keep a good distance between your vehicle at a tractor trailer.  If you need to stop suddenly, you want to allow the truck sufficient space to come to a stop without striking your rear end.  Likewise, if the truck slows in front of you, you risk riding under the truck and becoming seriously injured.

  1. Stay out of the truck’s blind spots or “no zones”

Trucks have a number of serious blind spots, commonly also called “no zones.”  Blind spots are places the truck driver cannot see in the rear or side view mirrors.  These blind spots exist to the left rear of the truck, the right front, and the back of a tractor trailer.  When your car is within a blind spot, the driver cannot see you or your car.  This puts you in danger of having the truck pull into your lane and crash into you.

To minimize the risks associated with no zones, do not travel alongside a truck for any longer than it takes you to pass the truck at a safe speed.  As you approach a tractor trailer, either pass it immediately or drop back in your lane and a safe distance behind the truck.  Make sure before passing a truck that its turn signals are not on and it does not appear to be moving, even slightly, into your lane.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Exceptional Representation for Truck Accident Victims     

            Sometimes even the most cautious of drivers will be involved in a truck accident due to the actions of the at-fault trucker.  If you have been involved in a truck accident, the Miami Truck Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. can help restore you to the whole state you were in before the accident.  Our dedicated firm will fight to see that you obtain the recovery you deserve from the at-fault trucker or trucking company.  For over 130 collective years, our experienced attorneys have assisted truck accident victims across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for all of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our dedication to legal excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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